Before I knew that I was an introvert, I couldn’t figure out how to “fit in” with my surroundings. Everything was too loud, too chaotic, too harsh. Being an introvert has its shortcomings, but these shortcomings are often criticized unfairly because of how the world caters to extroverts. In this post, I want to debunk some introvert myths and explain how introverts function in a world made for extroverts. I already know this is going to be a long post, so I apologize in advance. For those who read this to the end, you’re the real MVPs!!
Being an introvert doesn’t mean you can’t communicate.
Introverts are called shy, distant, elusive, indifferent, and negative on the job, at home, and everywhere in between. Because we don’t like public speaking or voicing our opinions out loud over everyone else, introverts are viewed as disengaging and considered (for lack of a better word) dumb. Let’s just get this out of the way: introverts are not always the masters of verbal communication, but we absolutely have a monopoly on non-verbal communication. We observe, process, and analyze so much information way before we can even think about responding through speech. That’s why most introverts make great writers. I can write my thoughts much more clearly than if I tried to speak what I was thinking. Introverts may not win many verbal arguments, but our journals are filled with witty one-liners and profound responses that we never had the chance to say out loud.
Being an introvert doesn’t mean you can’t have a social life.
Introverts are called unfriendly, cold, harsh, and quiet by friends, families, and even complete strangers. We’re told to “go out more” and “get out of your comfort zone” and “try to smile more”, but sometimes that’s just not what introverts need to hear. While stretching out of your comfort zone is not a bad thing, I think that people view an introvert’s quietness as something that can be changed, when in reality being quiet is part of who they are.
Introverts love being around friends and family, and we crave times of connection and social activity. The difference, however, comes with the quality of those relationships. Introverts don’t need to go out every night and meet new people or hang out with a large group of friends every weekend in order to feel complete. We need to feel a true connection and have deeper relationships than most. Introverts can be the life of the party when they are surrounded by people who truly love them and accept them for who they are. But we can only be “social” for so long. An introvert’s social battery isn’t endless; it requires time to recharge mentally and physically. The infamous introvert hangover is real, I promise!
Being an introvert means you live at a slower pace.
One of the most important things an introvert needs is space. We need space to breathe, space to think, and space to create. The world needs to see introversion not as something that should be fixed, but as an alternate lifestyle that is meaningful.
Living a slow, more meaningful life isn’t just for introverts. This movement is an inspiration for anyone who is tired of living the hectic and honestly pointless “rat race”. Why are we running ourselves to the ground? The world is constantly telling us that we need X, that by the time you’re X years old you should have X, that we have to do X to be happy and successful. But it’s just so not true. Your life is yours. It’s not the definition of whatever the world around you says it is.
Being an introvert means you don’t need everyone to like you.
Extroverts want everyone to like them (that’s my observation, at least). They need to impress and want the approval of others while expecting the same behavior from their peers. They’re the ones saying to introverts, “Why do you always look mad?” or “You’re such a party pooper!” I think being different than the mold should be normalized. Extroverts don’t need the world approval to be an extrovert, so introverts shouldn’t either.
Whew, my fingers are begging me to stop typing! Seriously, I hope this post didn’t come off as a whiny rant. I think all personality types are amazing and deserve equal treatment. I just want to raise awareness of misconstrued ideas about introversion.
What is one thing you think this extroverted world needs to understand about being an introvert? I’d love to know your thoughts! To read more another post about introversion, click here!