Introverts are often hard to understand if you aren’t one yourself.
In fact it’s tempting to think that they’re just faking it to be difficult, or to seem different.
But that’s not how they really are and in this article, I will give you 10 common misconceptions about introverts and tell you exactly why they’re wrong.
1) Introverts are snobs
Many people have this preconception that introverts are snobs because of how they don’t like hanging out or chatting all day.
But that’s far from the truth.
In fact, introverts would rather be alone because interacting with other people—and even simply being around crowds—is very exhausting for them.
When they’re around people, they prefer being around small groups that don’t demand their participation and yet at the same time, don’t make them feel alienated. Even then, they need to rest and recharge afterwards.
Snobs, on the other hand, ignore people because they think they’re too good for them. They choose not to talk to people because of their class, race, or the fatness of their wallet.
Anyone can be a snob—introverts and extroverts both—but don’t confuse introversion with snobbishness.
2) Introverts are simply traumatized
Nobody is free from trauma. But it would be a mistake to think that introverted people are the way they are because of some past trauma.
As a matter of fact, traumas can sometimes make people act more extroverted as a way to mask their wounds.
Thinking that introversion is caused by trauma is actually harmful, because it assumes that you can “cure” introverts by putting them through therapy.
Introverts are not any more or less traumatized than extroverts are. They just process human socialization differently.
3) Introverts can’t be good leaders
We usually think of leaders as bold and outspoken. Decisive, quick-witted, and charming.
Introverts, on the other hand, we usually think of as awkward, slow, and quiet.
Trash those stereotypes! Many of the best leaders and innovators in our world are introverts. People like Bill Gates, Barack Obama, and even Abraham Lincoln.
A leader’s purpose is to guide, and introverts can be quite good at this. They talk less, and spend more time observing and thinking things through before committing to a course of action.
Introverts are as capable at being good leaders as extroverts are, even if they do lead a little differently.
4) Introverts just lack social skills
As I have stated before, introverts get easily exhausted by socialization and especially by the presence of crowds.
They want to minimize their interactions with others not because they’re rude or because they don’t know how to talk to people, but because they’re aware of their limitations and are trying to ration their social energies.
Seemingly pointless discussions like small talk and gossip frustrate them because it tires them out without actually resulting in anything useful or meaningful… and that energy they spent could have gone to something more worthwhile instead.
So they prefer to stay on the sidelines and only pitch in when there’s something worthwhile to talk about.
5) Introverts are geniuses
We tend to stereotype geniuses as reclusive and quiet—that is, introverted—so we automatically assume that someone is smart because they’re introverted.
And there are actually people who try hard to act introverted because they think it’ll make them look “cool” or “smart” or “mysterious.”
But that’s not necessarily the case.
Sure, being introverted does give one more time to reflect and recollect, but there’s no direct correlation between introversion and intelligence.
Introversion is simply a different way of interacting with the world, and it’s just one of many personality traits that define a person.
6) Introverts are just shy
People often confuse introversion with shyness. And on the surface, they can look similar—a shy person and an introvert would both prefer to be by themselves and avoid being the center of attention.
But that’s as far as the similarities go. Introversion and shyness are entirely different personality traits.
Being shy means that you feel anxiety at the idea of interacting with other people, or having people pay attention to you. Being an introvert means you don’t want attention because you find it exhausting or unnecessary.
One can be a shy introvert, just as one can be a shy extrovert. It’s just that with extroverts, their love for interaction overshadows their shyness.
7) Introverts don’t know how to have fun
They don’t like going to clubs and parties, and don’t always seem too enthusiastic about hangouts. So it’s easy for an extrovert to think that introverts simply don’t know how to have fun.
But of course they do—it’s just that their idea of fun is a little different.
The extrovert’s idea of fun often involves doing things with other people (and this is where clubs and parties come into the picture).
But introverts prefer things that they can do on their own, like reading books, collecting plushies, playing games, and gardening.
And it’s not like they aren’t adventurous either. Au contraire! Rock-climbing is particularly popular for the more sporty introverts out there because it lets them enjoy the grandeur of nature far from bustling crowds.
What they don’t do is people-pleasing. If someone pressures them to have fun and it’s simply not their thing, they’d politely say no.
8) Introverts don’t need others
Just because they don’t talk and engage with you on a regular basis doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate you.
Introverts still need human interaction, just like anyone else. They are just a lot more reserved than extroverts are.
Instead of having a dozen or so friends they can talk to for months on end, they instead have a handful—usually three or four—of people that they interact with when the mood strikes.
And when they talk, they prefer discussing issues that are either important and substantial, or relevant to their interests… in which case, they can actually be quite talkative.
9) Introverts have poor self-esteem
No, they’re not insecure. Well, at least not all of them!
Most introverts simply don’t find the need to conform to how society should act so that people will think that they’re “nice” or “happy.”
One might even say that they have better self-esteem than those who try to conform and people-please. Why? They’re content in themselves, without being too worried about what other people think of them.
They’re much less inclined to care if people think it’s childish to buy toys at the age of 60, for example, and buy them anyways. You aren’t going to see someone with poor self-esteem doing the same.
They also respect themselves enough to know how to prioritize their happiness and comfort (again, a sign of good self-esteem). They probably know that some interactions drain them so they allow themselves to just be in a corner. And for them, that’s a-ok!
Introverts don’t strive to be gregarious and just “fail” at it because they somehow have poor self-esteem. They simply think differently from extroverts, and people should strive to respect that.
10) Introverts can be fixed
Sorry, not possible. Introverts are damaged for life.
Of course, they can’t be fixed because there’s no fixing that needs to be done in the first place!
Again, no amount of Social Skills 101 will turn them into a social butterfly.
No amount of “exposure” to friendly people will turn them into extroverts.
No amount of guilt tripping can convert them into someone who will happily hang out with you any time you want them to.
They are who they are to the core. Might as well love them for who they are because they have stuff to offer that extroverts simply can’t. Again, not to say extroverts are inferior. They’re just different.
Introverts can be “gregarious” and act like extroverts too, if they think it’s necessary. It just drains them fast. So if you love an introvert, don’t pressure them to “socialize” in the way that you like.
“You’re too quiet, speak up!” is especially rude, so please don’t say that.
It’s easy to get carried away by stereotypes when faced by something you don’t understand. And to extroverts, introverts can almost seem like they belong to another planet entirely.
But that’s all the more reason for why you should try to understand them. Acknowledge that they socialize differently from you, and that they’re just perfect the way they are.
Let’s paint a picture.
Imagine a world where everyone is an extrovert. Now, you don’t want to live there, do you?
So value your extrovert. And trust me, they like you even if they don’t talk much!