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Do introverts really think they're better than everyone else?

Woman on boat thinking

All introverts -- or at least a great many of us -- have been unjustly described as arrogant. 

This one really rankles me. It's yet another case of judging a book by its cover without knowing all the facts -- of making snap judgments without fully getting go know someone. Unfortunately, introverts fall victim to this miscalculation quite frequently. 

Many people assume that because we introverts tend to keep to ourselves, we are unapologetically haughty -- that we walk around carrying some form of superiority complex. 

This, of course, couldn't be farther from the truth. 

I have never in my life thought myself superior to anyone. Do I think certain people are full of it? Yes. Do I think some ought to think more carefully through their words before opening their mouths? You bet. 

But people who know little to nothing about introversion often make a reflexive assumption that we think we're too "good" to talk to others. They misinterpret our often retiring nature as being that of a disengaged snob.

Rest assured you'll have a lifelong friend in an introvert once he or she gradually warms up to you. 

Introverts value commitment, and we aim to do just about anything we can to deepen it.

Once you've earned our trust, we will surely go to you for advice, valuing your opinion just as much as we would a close relative. 

Obviously, arrogance does nothing to help one's cause in that regard, and introverts are well aware of this. If anything, arrogance poisons relationships and helps facilitate their demise. 

At some of my jobs, despite my making an effort to warm up to coworkers, they've called me "the quiet guy," and some have virtually snapped at me for thinking I'm "better than the rest."

No, I don't pretend to know more, be cooler, or stand above others. Introverts hate the spotlight -- so much so that we're likely to downplay our abilities. 

Similar situations played out a few times back in my high school and college days. I was never one to speak up in the classroom, hoping my work would do the talking for me. But this didn't go over well with some of my teachers and peers, who would sometimes join forces to put me on the spot. 

Again, it isn't as if I never made eye contact or avoided talking to people. Rather than contributing to class discussions, though, I preferred interacting one-on-one with instructors and classmates. (This is undoubtedly one of the signature qualities of introverts.)

As you can imagine, it didn't go over too well. They were nice to me in private conversations, but the so-called herd mentality and group think took over when we spoke openly as a class. 

Baffled and dejected, I remember asking myself why people didn't pick on extroverts for being too loud and chatty. I couldn't quite figure out why running one's mouth seemed more coveted than gathering one's thoughts and chiming in with our two cents later. 

It wasn't until later I learned society equates winners with boldness, risk taking, being a disruptor. Because introverts tend to shy away from the spotlight -- only speaking up when they feel they have something compelling to say -- people regard them as weak, snooty, and antisocial.

Venturing a wild guess is the quickest and easiest shortcut to take when a person doesn't have all the facts. And from what I've noticed, people tend to skew more negative in their assumptions than positive. 

As emotional creatures, human beings can't help but take things personally. 

It's easy to think that one's tendency to be inward-looking reflects disinterest with their surroundings.

It isn't so much that introverts are apathetic to the things and people around them. It's that we're totally comfortable living in our rich minds. If you do find an introvert spacing out, it's likely because the subject matter in question fails to grip him or her.

Introverts are suckers for deep talk on everything from psychology to history (those are actually my two pet topics). That being said, if the subject is one that enthralls us, you can rest assured that we'll be talkative and engaged. 

The good thing about being known as the quiet guy or gal is that once we have something to say, people are definitely more likely to stick around, listen, and believe us. Because if something is important enough to get us to discuss it, we must be dead serious about it. 

In sum, we don't think we're better than other people. However, it seems those who make assumptions about our character and constantly pass judgment on us are the ones being condescending.


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