I was raised by an introverted father and an extroverted mother. Despite them coming from two different extremes, both encouraged me to become an outgoing child. They corrected me whenever they see my introversion setting in. They discouraged me to stay in the corner of the room and be among the crowd. They wanted me to approach people and have chitchats with them. They always tell me that I shouldn't be this quiet. Developing great interpersonal skills is what they've always wished for me to have.
That led me to believe that there was always something wrong with me. Why am I not feeling comfortable in large groups? Why does solitude make me feel very at peace and relaxed? Why do I prefer reading books over meeting new people at parties? Why do I always end up being the listener rather than being the speaker? I later learned that my preferences have nothing to do with an anomaly, but rather due to my inborn personality trait known as introversion.
Although I somewhat resented being urged to be a different person, I realized that my parents were merely doing what they knew was the best for me. It's hard to blame them. Being an introvert in an extroversion-biased society can be a very difficult thing to go through. My introverted father knew this so he also encouraged me to be the opposite of who I am.
It's sad how some people mistakenly take introversion as an unwanted trait. Even in schools, teachers encourage students to work in groups (a big disadvantage to introverts as they work better individually). Companies value the skill of a team player. Being a loner is always frowned upon. It seemed that our environment is also teaching us that being an introvert is a big no.
If only those misconceptions can be set aside, it will lead to more people believing in the capabilities of the introverts. After all, how could the world be a better place if every person is a talker without a listener; every person is a doer without a thinker? How can society reach to a balance if all the people are extroverts?
So as an introvert myself, I am going to write about what introversion really is, and the misconceptions revolving around the trait.
Misconception #1 Introverts are Shy
Introversion and shyness are two different things. Introverts are alone because they prefer to be. Shy people may want to be with people, but because of their social anxiety, they tend to avoid people. Unlike the shy, Introverts do not feel fear or discomfort when dealing with people. Both introvert and shy tend to approach people less; the difference lies on the cause. Introvert need to recharge their energy so they choose to be alone. Shy people fear social situations, so they stay out of it. Of course, some introverts can be shy too, as can some extroverts.
Misconception #2 Introverts are Quiet
Introverts think about their words carefully before they speak, which tends to make them appear quiet and slow to respond. Although they usually do not like petty talks, they do enjoy long and deep conversations especially about their interests. They make very good listeners, but their disregard to small talks can make it very difficult for them to meet new acquaintances.
Misconception #3 Introverts are Antisocial
|Credit: Mamish Darby | Flickr|
|Introverts can be a good friend.|
Their dislike for small talk minimizes their chances to interact with more people. Thus, they may appear to be uninterested in them. In reality, they do like people. They just do not interact much if they do not have a reason to, as they do not like to bother or interrupt people.
Misconception #4 Introverts are Lonely
|Credit: Kheel Center | Flicker|
|Introverts can be happy while alone.|
Introverts prefer to be alone or with a few close friends. That's because they find socializing with a large group of people to be a tedious task. Their energy level is drawn inwards. That is why they find solitary activities to be very relaxing and enjoyable. However, people tend to associate this act to loneliness. People believe that when a person is alone, she must not be enjoying herself. Introverts do enjoy solitude as it is a way to recharge their energy. However, too much isolation (and over-thinking as a result of being alone) do lead them to feeling depressed.
Misconception #5 Introverts Reject People
Introverts do not feel the need to connect with people constantly. When they do, they prefer to be with a few close friends. By being less demanding in terms of interaction, others may take it as a sign of rejection. Also, keeping their room's door closed does not mean they do not welcome people in, they just want to tune out all the stimuli outside that they find to be too overwhelming.
Misconception #6 Introverts aren't Fun-loving
|Credit: 55Laney69 | Flickr|
|Introverts enjoy tranquility.|
Just because introverts aren't loud or energetic doesn't mean they aren't fun-loving. To them, fun doesn't have to be all noise and high energy. They do not like overstimulating environment and would always go for a more subdued form of activities. Being in a calm and peaceful situation can be a truly enjoyable experience to them. They can also join parties or group activities and have fun in their own preferred way.
Misconception #7 Introversion can be "Cured"
|Credit: Pixabay Public Domain|
|Introversion is not an illness.|
Introversion is not an anomaly. It is a preference. An introvert cannot be transformed into an extrovert. Sure, introverts can act like an extrovert during social gatherings and group activities, but once they are home, they revert to being their real self. Acting as an extrovert does not mean they've changed. It is rather a learned behavior but an uncomfortable one (similarly to how uncomfortable for a right-handed person to write with the left hand).