The misconception of introverts

Ryndala Azizi
Mardi 5 avril

The first words that come to mind when you hear ‘introvert’ are shy, anti-social, anxious and reserved. Well, you are both very right and very wrong. The truth is, some definitions can be unfair, painting them as these individuals who would panic and run off into their dark, closed off bedroom in the middle of anti-people land at a simple ‘hello.’ I might have exaggerated but hear me out: the notion of introversion is often, if not always, misinterpreted and seen as a bad thing, when it absolutely isn’t.

Introvert is the reserved, reflective type that enjoys and needs time by themselves. They don’t have the most friends, but enough to make them happy, comfortable and – would you believe it?! – talkative and even loud. They may not go out all the time but can and do enjoy parties and events. They can have amazing social skills and be quite friendly. Shocking, I know! It’s truly saddening that this may come as a surprise. Breaking the stigma and misconceptions around introverts are long overdue, what people need to do is disassociate introversion from social anxiety – which are two completely different things. Also, it's essential to keep in mind that there are different levels of introversion, it's a spectrum and no two are the same.

The paramount distinction between them and extraverts is where their energy goes and comes from. To better understand it, let’s look at their history: the words ‘introvert’ and its opposite ‘extravert’ were popularized by Carl Jung, a Swiss psychoanalyst, in his book Psychological Types (1921). According to Jung, extroverts direct their energy outwards - toward people; they get it from socializing. Introverts, on the other hand, focus their energy inwards, towards alone time. This means extraverts gain energy from social interaction, while introverts fuel theirs from private time and solitude.

Let visualize it for you: extraverts recharge their battery when they talk, interact and socialize. Their battery turns completely green. Introverts fuel theirs by spending time by themselves, enjoying their hobbies, meeting up with close friends. That’s when their battery becomes green. Small talk and social crowds can drain them and slowly drain their battery. That’s why you don't see them out regularly and often just chatting with a familiar face on the side. They are in no way tedious or dull; they just save up their power, use and share it whenever they feel comfortable enough. They can be wild, carefree and spontaneous. At the end of the day, no one can live without social interactions, it’s just that introverts value their alone time and privacy immensely and require it in order to refuel. Every person is different and introversion is a piece of a bigger puzzle that is you and your character.

Introverts thrive alone, with the people they genuinely care about, and love their peace and quiet. It’s not that they don’t like human beings, they just prefer small crowds and their intimate acquaintances. It’s not that they are completely closed off, they just would rather listen and observe. Being an introvert does not mean you can’t be successful, social, the life of the party, or well-loved; nor is it an obstacle that prevents you from accomplishing your goals. Famous introverts include Meryl Streep, Emma Watson, Barack Obama and Elon Musk. Being introverted definitely isn’t a reason to be disregarded or considered boring, what matters is doing what you want to do, knowing yourself and not feeling ashamed at all!

Watch out for that quiet person, and get to know them, they are a force to be reckoned with. Just do it while you’re not disturbing their alone time and understand they’ll need a while to warm up to you. To my fellow introverts, here’s to more alone time and enjoying life in our own introverted way!