What an introvert is or isn’t has been coming up in a lot of my conversations the last couple weeks. When I tell someone I am an introvert, their response is along the lines of "No way! You don't seem like it. You're so active and sociable, you can't be an introvert." Well folks I am and so are 50% of the human population. Say what? Never would have guessed that right?
So what the hell is an introvert?
Many people believe that:
• Introverts are shy
• Introverts hate people
• Introverts are an inferior personality type
• Introverts are socially awkward
• All introverts are arrogant, rude and standoffish
These assumptions are wrong. Sure, some introverts probably are some of those things, but so are some extroverts.
Our society is overrepresented with extroverts. So that is who sets our social standards and expectations.
And because of this, extroverts are believed to be vibrant, warm, and praised when called a “people person”. Introverts are then regarded as reserved loners with a lack of personality. “Introverts are to extroverts what American women were to men in the 1950s -- second-class citizens with gigantic amounts of untapped talent.”
This could not be farther from the truth.
Introverts are misunderstood and taught to feel like there is something wrong with them for not being extroverted. But the majority of introverts, which as I mentioned above are approximately half of the human population, aren't actually hermits hiding in their parents’ basements. You never would have guessed that though because “introverts learn from an early age to act like pretend-extroverts”.
So what does being an introvert really mean?!
Being an introvert means you are energized or "recharged" by being alone. Constantly engaging with a bunch of people is tiring and to fuel up and feel good again, introverts need their own space.
Let me put it this way:
For the holidays you get to see your entire family. Initially you are excited and happy to be home.
Then it gets to day four or five and you really just want to go back to college. It's not that you don't like your family, you just want to get back into your daily routine with all your friends.
So break is finally over and you head back to school. The semester goes on and you start to miss your family again.
The next break rolls around and the cycle continues.
That cycle of needing to get away after certain amounts of time is the life of the introvert.
Introverts are often highly sensitive to high stimulation, which can come from social engagement, lights, noise, and so on. Introverts need quiet, low stimulation. Like putting your phone on the power saver.
Introverts (who aren’t pretending to be extroverts) will enjoy things like a night with a friend and a glass of wine much more than a raging party.
What introverts are actually like:
• Introverts are often spiritual.
• Introverts dislike conflict and think before they speak.
• Introverts can concentrate well and maybe sometimes too well.
• Creativity is a huge part of introversion. (Not that extroverts can’t be creative, but creativity often comes from solitude, which many extroverts are uncomfortable with.)
• Introverts tend to write better than they speak.
Are you comfortable in silence and your own thoughts? Do you think best when you are alone? Does constant social interaction drain you? You're probably an introvert and THAT IS OKAY! And if anyone has a problem with that...
If you want to take a legitimate test to see whether you are really introverted or extroverted (you also need $50 and 50 years to answer all the questions), then you can take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator here.
If you don’t really want to invest that time and money, click here for a random Buzzfeed test.
*Originally posted 4/13/2017.