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Gems Concerning Introversion

January 24, 2014

In class the last few weeks I have heard quite a few gems concerning introversion. I thought it might be fun to share some and give you the things I think to myself in response. Because apparently Introversion is:

1.” I am not an introvert, because I’m not afraid of talking to anyone.”  Wrong, wrong, wrong. Yes you can be shy if you are introvert, and yes you can be an introvert if you are shy. But you can also be an extrovert and shy or shy and an extrovert. They are two different aspects of personality. On a particularly bad day I felt tempted to respond (but didn’t), “It isn’t that I am afraid of talking to people, I just don’t like to.”

2. “I used to be an introvert, but I realized I needed to just suck it up and talk to people.”  This classmate seems to believe that introversion is like a bad habit, something you can change with discipline.

3.  “I am only introverted about a few topics.” Seriously? This goes back to point one, shy does NOT equal introverted. Also introversion is not some random on and off switch. You can’t be introverted about a topic, you can be shy about a topic. 

4. “I can’t be an introvert, they are too quiet and never talk.” Because if you are an introvert you never talk? This one bugs me a lot because it implies that introverts are anti-social. The reality of course is that often we don’t want to waste time on inane small talk. Also a lot of us aren’t actually that quiet once we are in a small group.

5. “Everyone seems to be an introvert, all they do is stare at their phones all day.”  First off, staring at your phone has nothing to do with  being introverted, being hyper-connected and possibly a little addicted to technology does. Secondly, don’t sit there, complain about not being an introvert and WHILE on your phone. 

and the last one that just makes me develop a twitch over my left eye.

6.”Being an introvert must be a sad life, they never do anything!” I just…head desk, head desk, head desk. Glad to know my life is sad and boring.

So there you have gems from classmates concerning introversion.

What are some misconceptions you hear about introversion or extroversion that make you cringe a little?

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7 Comments
  1. Q – From both and introvert AND a shy person( as is my husband), my favorite comments we’ve both heard over our lifetimes is that we’re “snobs”. Just because a person is not talkative does not mean he/she is a snob!

  2. One thing I’ve heard about being introverted is that “wow, you must be lonely all the time”. Nope, nope, and nope. Like most introverts (and I freely admit to being an introvert), I need a break from people in order to recharge. I’m not one of those people that can be constantly on the go socially. I need to take breaks. Having a morning to myself? Heaven. Having a half our drive home after school/work, with just me and the radio? A respite (even if I’m in traffic), because I’m alone and I can just be in my own head.

    I usually don’t bother trying to change people’s minds about how they think about introverts because it’s not worth the aggravation, but I often shake my head or roll my eyes to some of the things that people say.

  3. I’ve always seen introversion as a strength. Plenty of us introverts like people, and like socialising, but we just need time alone to be ourselves. I’d rather be like that than be someone who couldn’t cope with the idea of doing things alone. Enjoy your introversion!

  4. I hate this too. Introversion doesn’t mean someone is always quiet or shy or mousy or stay at home all the time. All it means, in the end, is that they spend energy when interacting with others rather than gaining energy. As someone who leans toward introvert on the I/E scale, I like to go out and do things, or hang out with people, and, while prone to being shy about public speaking, will suck it up and do it. However, I then need alone time to re-charge, because all of that takes emotional, mental and even physical energy from me.

  5. shellssells permalink

    I’ve seen so many great graphics on what it actually means to be introverted, but those who are not are clearly not reading them. I would say I am a very social creature. But I am often told that I am either NOT introverted or I am told that I must be “the most social introvert ever.” However, I have a good number of introverted friends of whom you could make the same claim. I know I am not alone in this.

    I just LOVE #6, because those of us who are introverts know that our own brain is a pretty interesting place to be. The misconception is just laughable. And yet, this is one I kind of allow….I see no great need to share how fabulous being in my own head can be.

    I am, however, teaching it to my child.

  6. *sigh* Everyone seems to think that being an introvert means you’re weird and antisocial, when really all it actually means is that you recharge during your alone time, rather than in groups like extroverts. I get “You can’t be an introvert, you’re too friendly!” all the time. And then it’s all like *rolls up sleeves dramatically* “time to educate some punks!” :D

  7. Those all seem so frustrating! I definitely would have had a hard time resisting the urge to respond (but everyone would have probably fallen over in shock to hear an introvert open their mouths…har har). One thing that I seem to encounter frequently is the idea that accepting one’s own introversion is tantamount to career suicide, that you have to force yourself to be extroverted in order to not fail in your field. And it’s not like I’m a bartender or anything, I’m a medical student – sure, there are a lot of Type A personalities, but is it really possible that I am the only introverted person ever interested in medicine? That would be a big fat NO. Oh boy (:

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