As someone who identifies with an introverted personality, I feel very confident in saying that people get a lot of things wrong when it comes to introverts. Society favors extroverts – there’s no getting around that. People are regularly rewarded for speaking up, being outgoing, and having a lot of friends. The most popular people are often the ones who know how to “have a good time,” which, in America at least, means someone who drinks a lot, parties hard without making an ass of themselves, can talk to anyone in a funny, loving, and relatable way, and doesn’t act socially awkward. I see the appeal, obviously, but where does that leave an introverted person?
I don’t mind being an introvert, but I would never say it has made my life easier. For whatever reason, I have surrounded myself with extroverted friends, significant others, and family members. I have watched most of the people I’ve encountered blow me off and not take me seriously because I am not super outgoing. I’ve had people assume I’m rude and snobby because I’m on the more quiet side. And I’ve had loads of people tell me to “lighten up” and “have more fun,” when by “fun” they mean “go out and talk more you quiet weirdo.”
I’m sick of hearing these common myths about introverts, and I’m sure you are too. Here are 16 things everyone gets wrong about introverts – spread this around so everyone can chill out.
1. We’re all shy.
I’ve talked about this before, but it’s worth repeating: being an introvert is not the same as being shy. Being an introvert is mainly about gaining energy from being alone. Being shy is more about anxiety and being socially awkward. Shy people are often introverts and introverts are often shy, but they are certainly not one in the same. It’s the biggest misconceptions about introverts out there, I think.
2. We’re depressed and prone to other mental illnesses.
Since introverts like to spend a lot of time on their own and would maybe prefer staying in on the weekend rather than going out, a lot of people don’t get it, and assume introverts are unhappy or depressed. That’s not true at all! Introverts do tend to be a little bit more emotionally intense than extroverts, but just because we’re passionate and feel things a lot doesn’t mean we’re struggling with depression. In fact, this misconception is harmful to extroverts, as it contributes to the social stigma about depression – it makes it seem like extroverts can’t be depressed, and that’s not true at all.
3. We’re negative and hate everything and anyone.
Introverts can be quiet and we don’t always speak our mind. Sometimes we’re deep in thought and our faces might make it look like we’re miserable. But rest assured, introverts are not all negative Nancy’s, hanging out and hating everything and everyone. That is far from the truth.
4. We can’t be leaders.
It bums me out that people assume all leaders have to be extroverts. I happen to think I’m a pretty good manager at my job, and I’m definitely not an extrovert. I’ve dealt with other leaders who aren’t extroverted and were still great. Being a leader isn’t all about being outgoing and outspoken, and it’s really important for people to remember that. Because of their passion and observation skills, introverts actually make great leaders.
5. We hate going out and being around people and doing things.
Yes, it’s true that introverts need to have their own time to recharge and refresh and feel good. It’s also true that introverts don’t love being in large crowds where they’re surrounded by people all over. And it’s also true that introverts feel a level of exhaustion after social interactions that needs to be addressed. But that doesn’t mean we hate being social all the time. I love to go out sometimes and can even enjoy a good crowd – I just need some quiet alone time afterwards to recharge.
6. We’re always quiet, 100 percent of the time.
“Introvert” and “quiet” are not the same things. Introverts might be quiet in one space, but in another space they might be loud and outspoken. And hey, they might not even be that quiet at all! I’m pretty quiet when I don’t feel comfortable, but when I do feel safe, you can’t shut me up.
7. We aren’t competent.
For some reason, a lot of people assume that if you don’t always speak your mind and you like to be on your own, you’re not a competent person – it’s also a reason why people assume introverts can’t be leaders. This is a really unfair thing to think about introverts. Because of our passion, planning skills, and decision making skills, we’re actually quite competent.
8. We don’t have any strong opinions.
Just because we don’t feel the need to voice our opinions to anyone who will listen doesn’t mean we don’t have them.
9. We’re super smart.
I mean, hey, think I’m a genius if you want, but it’s not true. Being introverted doesn’t automatically mean being super smart. There are plenty of extroverts who are smart and plenty of introverts who are not smart at all.
10. We’re really sensitive.
Being introverted might mean you’re more intense and passionate about things, but that doesn’t always translate to being super sensitive. I personally am a sensitive person, but I know introverts who are actually pretty cold.
11. We all love to read.
I’m not sure where this stereotype came from, but introverts don’t just sit around all day reading. Personally, I love to read, but not every introvert is like that. It’s such a weird thought!
12. We don’t know how to have fun.
Of COURSE we know how to have fun! It’s just that our version of fun might be different from yours, or from the socially acceptable version of fun – and that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with it.
13. We have low self-esteem.
Again, not sure where this stereotype came from – but a lot of people tend to think that anyone who isn’t outgoing is that way because they don’t have confidence in themselves. Not true at all.
14. We’re mad at everyone.
Introverts often deal with a fierce case of Resting Bitch Face, but trust me, we’re not walking around feeling furious at everyone.
15. We’re bitchy.
As a shy girl, I’m always told that someone thought I was bitchy at first. This happens to introverts a lot too. Please stop thinking this! Lots of introverts are nice people who aren’t bitchy in any way.
16. We need to be fixed in some way.
Listen, there is nothing wrong with being an introvert. I know it’s not exactly a celebrated personality type, but it doesn’t mean you’re doing the wrong thing. You’re doing just fine. The next time someone tells you you need to “lighten up” or go out have their version of fun, explain to them how wrong they are.
Are you an introvert? What do you disagree with? What did I forget to include? Let me know in the comments.