As an introvert, I often feel as if I’m placed into a box — as if somehow, my identity is limited to my introverted-ness. The word “introvert” carries a lot of assumptions, and it’s time to debunk them. Here is a list of some of the most common myths about introverts and why they are more wrong than right.
Myth #1: Introverts don’t like any social interaction.
Despite our position on the introvert to extrovert spectrum, at our core, humans are social animals. We evolved to depend on each other. Introverts such as myself may thoroughly enjoy their alone time, but just like everyone else, I can be lonely. “Introvert” is not a synonym for anti-social. I enjoy the company of other people. A lower level or desire to socially interact does not mean I don’t want to interact with anyone at all. I thrive on the compassion, respect and care of other people. While I need time alone to recharge and get some energy, the need for human connection is universal.
Myth #2: Introverts don’t talk a lot.
Once again, “quiet” is not synonymous with “introvert.” Almost everyone has heard of the phrase, “they’re really quiet until you get to know them.” In fact, that phrase is commonly used to describe me. In several environments such as classrooms, I tend to keep to myself. But in environments where I can be completely myself in a safe space, I can talk someone’s ears off. To the people who know me best, I am a chatterbox. I shy away from superficial greetings from strangers, but when it comes to a conversation? I can keep one going for hours.
Myth #3: Introverts have terrible social skills.
Unfortunately, my social awkwardness can’t be blamed on my strong introversion. Rather, it comes from my natural talent for overthinking and pondering over even the most mundane of topics, often leading me to fumble and stammer over my words as I second guess myself. It’s something that has nothing to do with the amount of alone time I need per day. There is this lingering idea that somehow introverts don’t know how to talk to people, but some of the most socially adept people I know are major introverts.
Myth #4: Introverts aren’t very fun.
The term “introvert” holds a lot of assumptions, one of them being that we are all very boring people who never like to talk. But to anyone who has taken the time to get to know me, I am very entertaining. I am sarcastic, always cracking jokes while lending a compassionate ear whenever someone needs it. I am distinctly me, and my quirkiness is one of the things that make me fun to be around. I don’t particularly enjoy large crowds or parties, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know how to have fun.
Myth #5: Introverts should be “fixed.”
This is perhaps the worst myth of them all. To many people, introverts are recluses or hermits, people who aren’t really living life to their fullest potential. To many people, we have issues that need to be solved — like there is something wrong with us. Somehow, we need to be cured of our introversion and embrace life. But why do those two things have to be mutually exclusive? I take advantage of every opportunity I get. I explore and learn new things, pick up new hobbies, lament and worry over my midterm grades just like everyone else. I watch movies. I read books. I try new foods. I face the sting of rejection from clubs, the relief after a school semester ends and the lethargy that comes after a school break.
When all is said and done, my introverted-ness isn’t something that needs to be fixed. It’s one of my many characteristics, informing me of the boundaries I am comfortable with. Just as people don’t fall under one label, my introverted nature doesn’t define me. Rather, it’s just one of the several things that make me distinctly me.