People often think of introverts as socially awkward people who tend to stay by themselves and avoid other people. While people may not think of an introvert as being an extremely happy or friendly person, they are probably assumed to be smarter and more creative than extroverts. Despite its frequency among people, introversion is one of the most misunderstood personality traits. Here are some debunked myths about introverts.
1) All introverts are shy.
Shyness may be confused with introversion, but they are very different from each other. While introversion is defined as gaining energy by spending time alone, shyness refers to a discomfort and sense of anxiety in social situations. Introverts are commonly confident around people, but just require more solitude to create a balance in their energy.
Certainly some introverts are shy, but not a disproportionately high percentage. Conversely, some extroverts may lack confidence or display a shy personality, making it difficult for them to seek the interaction they so desperately need.
2) Introverts do not like people.
Although introverts enjoy solitude, that does not mean they are antisocial. They simply enjoy social interaction differently than extroverts. Many introverts enjoy the company of other people, but they usually look for quality over quantity when it comes to relationships, choosing a small circle of intimate friends.
3) Introverts are negative.
Introverts are often thought of as being negative or depressed, due to their attraction to being alone. This myth may come from the fact that in contrast, extroverts gain energy from social interaction, and may become sad when they are alone.
Alternatively, many introverts don’t associate solitude with loneliness. However, although introverts are not necessarily more likely to be depressed, they do spend more time analyzing situations, which may lead to rumination, and possibly depression. Psychology Today has this article on social thresholds and how introverts and extroverts respond to excess of opposite energy stimuli.
4) It is easy to spot an introvert.
Many introverts love talking to people, but they also look forward to restoring their energy by being alone. Because our culture rewards extroverted personality traits, introverts often behave like an extrovert when in social situations.
It is important to remember that some introverts enjoy people and socializing. While this may be done in a different way than extroverts, don’t assume your introverted friends don’t want to be included. If you are an introvert, you may be used to feeling like you are misunderstood by other people and having your tendencies misinterpreted for rudeness or shyness. Additionally, if you are an extrovert, you probably have a few misconceptions about people who tend to be more quiet.
Rachael Murphey is an entrepreneur in Denver CO and a writer on social science, family finance, and leadership. She has written for HostReview.com, Spider Vein Removal Austin, Doable Finance, and HR.com.