I recently stumbled upon a blog post by Carl King called “10 Myths About Introverts” and I immediately was intrigued. I discovered the blog post originally through Adam Young (aka Owl City) who posted it on his blog. It stuck out to me so much because lately I have been classifying myself as an introvert, but made the mistake of not knowing exactly what an introvert was. Carl King’s blog post goes on to explain 10 different common misconceptions people have about introverts. One of the big ones people (and myself included for awhile) confuse is an introvert and a shy person. Introverts are NOT shy! Shyness is fear of social situations and fear is not how an introvert works.
Introversion is not the same as being shy or being a social outcast. Introverts prefer solitary activities over social ones, whereas shy people (who may be extraverts at heart) avoid social encounters out of fear, and the social outcast has little choice in the matter of his or her solitude.
…social networking sites have been a thriving home for introverts in the 21st century, where introverts are free from the formalities of social conduct and may become more comfortable blogging about personal feelings they would not otherwise disclose.
OH MY GOSH, WIKIPEDIA CAN READ MY MIND. I’m not lying when I say that this is EXACTLY why I wanted to blog and even video blog on YouTube. I did not even read this article on Wikipedia before I made the decisions to start this blog or my channels on YouTube!
I encourage you to read all of Carl King’s blog post, but I am going to go through each of the 10 myths Carl King discusses and explain my reactions and thoughts toward them because it wasn’t till after I read this blog post did I realize how introverted I actually was. All of the following quotes are from the blog post:
Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.
I am always the quiet one in a group especially around people I don’t know very well. It’s very true what he says about not shutting up if I get going on a subject, though. I will actually tell people to tell me to shut up if I am talking so much because I know I will not stop talking on my own.
Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.
I always thought I was shy, but as I explained above shyness is fear and I am not necessarily fearful of social situations. I’ll start talking to someone who initiates a conversation but it’s very unlikely that I will initiate the conversation with someone I don’t know very well or even at all.
Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.
Now I’m not usually rude about it and I handle the situation calmly, but I HATE when people “beat around the bush” and don’t get to their point. I am generally a patient person, but when it comes to this I have very little patience. It aggravates me to no end when I am talking with someone and they won’t get to their point. Now, it’s not like someone needs to just come up to me and say what they need to say and leave; I just get very frustrated when people take way to long to get to their point especially when I’ve already figured out their point from their babbling!
Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.
Looks at fingers 1…2…3… Oh, yep that’s true. 3 friends come to mind when I think of my closest friends which are ones who I have had for either a long time and/or have been the most loyal, trustworthy, and supportive in everything I’ve done (like blogging!).
Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.
When I’m out in public I generally don’t always involve myself in whatever activity is taking place. I’ll be perfectly content just sitting and watching. Most people will feel bad and of course try to involve me. I never really understood why I would act like this until now. I won’t always sit out, though, but like the post said I can take in a situation quickly and I value the time I take “to go home, recharge, and process it all.”
Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.
I couldn’t emphasize the point about “an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time” enough. Even in a group (whether big or small) of people I can generally only connect with 1 person at a time. I can open up more to a person I’m talking to one-on-one. Now, this all depends on the group of people, though. If I’m amongst a lot of friends or people I know very well it’s easier to open up to everyone at once.
Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.
Having a mind of your own is a very important quality of every human being, but some don’t always remember they have this quality about themselves. At a very young age I decided and learned to not allow myself to be influenced by others just to be able to fit into a crowd. I figured if I had to change something about myself to be able to fit in then whoever I was trying to change for wouldn’t be a true friend anyway.
Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.
I could entertain myself with my own thoughts for hours. It’s as if I have my own little world to escape to whenever I want. You’d be surprised of the vast amounts of things I can think of during a day. Usually I’ll be thinking about ideas I have for various things, but I will even create possible outcomes to social scenarios in my head. The latter I do quite often actually. Sometimes I do it so much that I make it hard for myself to remember what actually was reality and what was only apart of my imagination.
Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.
I love to take walks on my own especially along some wonderful scenery like a lake. It relaxes me and I can process some thoughts that are lingering in my head. My room at home is also a place I can relax in. Sometimes I’ll just close my door and lay on my bed with my laptop or even with a book and begin to relax that way. The only way I could get myself to relax in a busy public place is if I allowed myself to get lost in my imagination and forget what was going on around me.
Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.
I would never trade what I have as an introvert to be an extrovert. There is nothing wrong with being an extrovert, but it’s just not for me. My only point here is to clear up the common misconceptions people have about introverted people and not to claim one is better than the other. People are generally a mix of both an introvert and an extrovert but some can be extreme to just one.
Carl King’s blog post (along with the help of Wikipedia) helped me understand what an extreme introvert I really am and helped me to realize that so many things that I thought were weaknesses of mine were actually my strengths as an introvert. I can not begin to describe how amazing it feels to finally realize this!
Too Long; Didn’t read: Hi, my name is David and I’m an introvert.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Are you a mix of both? If so, do you tend more to one over the other? Feel free to share in the comments below!