5 Myths About Introverts: Debunking Common Misconceptions
Introversion and extroversion are two personality types that are defined by how people get their energy and process the world. While both types have complexities, the basic difference is that extroverts recharge by being around people and generally process the world externally while introverts recharge by spending time alone and generally process the world internally. However, there are several myths and misconceptions surrounding introverts, which are often misunderstood by both extroverts and fellow introverts. In this article, we will debunk five common myths about introverts.
Myth 1: Introverts are Shy
One of the most common myths about introverts is that they are shy. However, introversion is a personality type defined by how people manage their energy, while shyness is born out of social anxiety, insecurity, and fears. While introverts and people who experience shyness may seem similar on the surface, introverts are more likely to spend time alone because it leaves them feeling refreshed and energetic, while people who experience shyness are more likely to spend time alone because they feel fear around social interactions.
While shyness and introversion can go hand in hand, they are not the same thing, nor is one a result of the other.
Myth 2: An Introvert Doesn’t Enjoy Company
Another common misconception about introverts is that they do not enjoy the company of other people. While it is true that introverts tend to gravitate towards smaller groups and within one-to-one interactions, they still thrive on human connection. They may feel drained by small talk but love having deep, thought-provoking conversations about the things that really matter to them.
An introvert can certainly be a people person—they just need to be mindful of their energy and take time to recharge after social interactions.
Myth 3: Introverts are Unfriendly
Introverts can seem reserved, haughty, and distant at first, but it’s probably not personal—the majority of introverts will become warmer the more you get to know them. Introverts tend to have a few close friends that see a different side of them than people they’re meeting for the first time. Most introverts have a lot more going on underneath the surface than first meets the eye. Once you’ve established a mutual connection and trust, you’ll start to experience this for yourself.
Myth 4: Introverts Hate Public Speaking
Contrary to popular belief, many successful public speakers and performers are introverts. Although introverts do not usually reveal much about themselves to people they do not know, public speaking or performing requires an element of play-acting and giving a performance. For many introverts, that’s what public speaking is, and although they will need time to recharge afterward, being introverted certainly doesn’t preclude anyone from taking the mic.
The idea of standing up in front of a room of people and sharing ideas can be terrifying for anyone—not just introverts—but public speaking is a skill, and like any skill, we can practice. With the right preparation and technique, introverts can bring the house down.
Myth 5: Introverts Can’t Be Entrepreneurs
Many people assume that introverts cannot be successful entrepreneurs due to their introverted nature. However, introverts’ thoughtful, observatory natures mean they can make excellent entrepreneurs; they’re good at watching and analyzing a problem before presenting a solution. While the average introvert might find traditional networking, marketing, and promotion draining, social media and the explosion of online businesses now mean that anyone can set up a business from behind their computer screen—and run it in a way that aligns with their personality preferences. While some introverts might balk at the idea of attending in-person networking events, their businesses flourish through blogs, social media, written interviews, and other introvert-friendly activities.
In conclusion, introversion is a personality type that is often misunderstood. Whether you identify as introverted or extroverted, remember that there’s nothing you can’t do because of your personality type. Labels like introvert and extrovert can be useful as long as we make sure we’re not pigeonholing people based on our misconceptions of what those labels mean. Listen to the story you’re telling yourself and decide how you want it to end.