Ten Myths About Introverts
28 April 2013
Just the other day I ran across the five-year-old, well-known article by Carl King called Ten Myths About Introverts.
In it, I was astonished to find myself clearly and concisely described and explained in an accurate way which I have never before seen expressed in words! This list is TOTALLY me — perhaps some or all of it is you too!
- Myth #1 — Introverts don't like to talk.
- This is not true. Introverts just don't talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won't shut up for days.
- Myth #2 — Introverts are shy.
- Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don't interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don't worry about being polite.
- Myth #3 — Introverts are rude.
- Introverts often don't see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.
- Myth #4 — Introverts don't like people.
- On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you're in.
- Myth #5 — Introverts don't like to go out in public.
- Nonsense. Introverts just don't like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don't need to be there for long to "get it." They're ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.
- Myth #6 — Introverts always want to be alone.
- Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don't have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.
- Myth #7 — Introverts are weird.
- Introverts are often individualists. They don't follow the crowd. They'd prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don't make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.
- Myth #8 — Introverts are aloof nerds.
- Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It's not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it's just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.
- Myth #9 — Introverts don't know how to relax and have fun.
- Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.
- Myth #10 — Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
- A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot "fix themselves" and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.
I also came across a second article — this one ten years old — Caring for Your Introvert
by Jonathan Rauch. It is an informative article well worth reading, but here I just want to share a few quotes relating to introverts:
Someone who ... growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice.
Introverts are not misanthropic,
though some of us do go along with Sartre
as far as to say, "Hell is other people at breakfast."
Our motto: "I'm okay, you're okay — in small doses."
If we introverts ran the world, it would no doubt be a calmer, saner, more peaceful sort of place. As Coolidge
is supposed to have said, "Don't you know that four fifths of all our troubles in this life would disappear if we would just sit down and keep still?" (He is also supposed to have said, "If you don't say anything, you won't be called on to repeat it." The only thing a true introvert dislikes more than talking about himself is repeating himself.)
We tend to think before talking, whereas extroverts tend to think BY talking, which is why their meetings never last less than six hours. Introverts are driven to distraction by the semi-internal dialogue extroverts tend to conduct.
The worst of it is that extroverts have no idea of the torment they put us through. Sometimes, as we gasp for air amid the fog of their 98-percent-content-free talk, we wonder if extroverts even bother to listen to themselves. Still, we endure stoically, because the etiquette books — written, no doubt, by extroverts — regard declining to banter as rude and gaps in conversation as awkward.
November 2013 Update:
My friend Pat in Switzerland recently sent me a link in a wonderful YouTube video by Susan Cain
entitled The Power of Introverts. I've embedded it below so you can watch it for yourself. It's only 19 minutes long, and well worth viewing.
January 2014 Update:
My friend Pat in Switzerland is really on a roll, because she recently sent me two more great articles about introverts:
Some of my favorite of the 23 signs in the second article include:
- You find small talk incredibly cumbersome and annoying.
- You've been called "too intense."
- Giving a talk in front of 500 people is less stressful than having to mingle with those people afterwards.
- Whenever possible, introverts tend to avoid being surrounded by people on all sides.
- You start to shut down after you've been active for too long.
- You actively avoid any shows that might involve audience participation.
Because really, is anything more terrifying?
- You notice details that others don't.
- You look at the big picture.
- You've been told to "come out of your shell."
- You're a writer.
Be sure to read the article for the details of what all this means!
This article is 19th a series of articles on this Web site related to My Journey with Yeshua (Jesus) which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
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