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Common misconceptions about introverts

Introvert pride

If popular opinion is any indication, the following labels are to be ascribed to introverts:

  • Lonely
  • Stuck-up
  • Selfish
  • Antisocial 
  • Withdrawn 
  • Isolated
  • People hater
Is this a fair, accurate representation of all introverts?

The answer should an emphatic no.

While some introverts may possess a couple of these characteristics, one cannot paint them with so broad a brush. 

It's like saying that all cheerleaders are airheads. Or that all sports guys are jocks.

These are pervasive stereotypes that need to be put to bed! 

Sure, introverts might turn down invitations from time to time. If we do make it to the party, you may see us leave early. And somewhere in between, we might excuse ourselves to get some fresh air, smoke a cigarette, or make a phone call.

We don't do it to be difficult, or because we're self-absorbed. It isn't that we loathe people. 

It's that our battery life is finite. 

Large crowds and endless chatter can leave us utterly drained. We're just not equipped to handle heavy social demands, unlike our more extroverted peers. 

Don't take our need for solitude personally. Rest assured that once our energy has been replenished, we'll be as good as new.  

But please do give us our space. If we're denied the opportunity to clear our minds and take a breather, we can become irritable and even less inclined to go out next time. 

People pin labels on introverts because it's the quickest, easiest thing to do in the absence of information.

They may not have the scoop on what introversion is all about, so they use first impressions to cast judgment. 

As the Transcendentalist, writer, poet, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), who used solitude to form insights into the human condition, once said, "It's not what you look at that matters -- it's what you see." 

Something tells me Thoreau got plenty of flak for his introverted tendencies even back in his day. 

Unfortunately, elucidating the concept of introversion for these individuals doesn't always effect change. They may persist in calling you quiet, antisocial, or awkward because, well, it's easier than saying "introverted." 

Most people won't bother to do the research, and no amount of trying to spin introversion into a positive may alter their approach.

At least you will have done your part to communicate the ways in which introverts benefit the world. 

These are the characteristics we hope will someday (in an ideal world) be top of mind when people hear the word introvert:

  • Thoughtful
  • Intelligent
  • Perceptive
  • Creative
  • Profound
  • Hard-working
  • Respectful
  • Independent
  • Detail-oriented
I'll wrap up with a post by Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking:

"Introverts think before they act, digest information thoroughly, stay on task longer, give up less easily, and work more accurately."

Yep, sounds to me like we're a special -- and underrated -- breed in a loud, fast-paced world. 


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