LET’S TALK | INTROVERSION VS. EXTROVERSION
Pretty much since I started in 1st grade I felt I was sort of different from everyone else in some way. Through the years it became difficult to “fit in”. Group presentations, class debates (and so on) made me skip class or call in sick. I’ve always been known as “the quiet one”. I lived in my mind and enjoyed spending time in my room. My room was my sanctuary and energy source. My teachers would say I was too silent. That I was not participating. Still, I always did my homework, contributed to group projects, spend time to do a good job so I could have good grades. But that didn’t count. I wasn’t loud enough. People around me told me to “get out of my shell”, “go out more”, “make friends”, “talk more”.
I’ve been humiliated many times for being who I am. I felt horrible about myself. I felt like there was something wrong with me for many years. Every time I had an awful experience, I would wish that I was like everybody else. How awful is that?
Today I know who I am. Why I’m “different”. I’m an introvert. If only I had known this years ago. I would’ve understood why I am the way I am. And this only happened by searching on the internet for symptoms like it was an illness, by reading books and actually talk to people about it.
“If you’re anything other than an extrovert you’re made to think there’s something wrong with you.” – Emma Watson
We live in an extroverted society. It’s considered “normal” to be talkative, outgoing with a constant smile and positivity. To be an introvert is somehow a weakness and society constantly reminds us that we should be able to be extroverted.
6 MYTHS ABOUT INTROVERSION
I’ve met so many people that had a preconception of being an introvert. So let me make this clear for everyone that might have done the same. (Don’t worry, I’m guilty as well). The most important thing you need to know is what energizes (and drains) an introvert and an extrovert. The term introvert literally means inward turning. Introverts prefer to turn inward and pay a lot of attention to their inner world of thoughts and ideas. With that being said, all people are not the same. It’s not a one-size-fits-all-description. Some are more extroverted and some are more introverted.
MYTH #1: Introverts are dull people that can’t have fun.
Introverts don’t need to go out and have cocktails and dance all night long every weekend. But we like fun as much as the next person. Some in our own introverted way. But because we know how to relax and feel energized, this allows us to enjoy social events and being with friends. Often people think that we’re no fun, just because we like other things than parties and group activities. People pity us when we’re staying home on a Saturday evening. But there’s no need for that, cause this is our kind of party. Also, we can joke and have fun with our introverted behavior, especially when people ask stupid questions: 30 Stupid Questions Introverts Are Often Asked.
MYTH #2: Introverts are shy and hate to speak.
Being shy has nothing to do with introversion. Yes, I’m quiet by nature, but I do like to talk. Sometimes a lot and sometimes too loud. Introverts need to be comfortable in the presence of a person before opening up. Mainly introverts listen, think, and then talk. Extroverts talk and then think.
MYTH #3: Introverts can learn to become extroverted.
I would never recommend acting extroverted if you’re not. You’ll end up miserable for pretending to be someone else. Learn to accept who you are, the way you are. Through the years I learned to act extroverted. But still, when I studied photography, a classmate came by and sat next to me and said out of the blue: “Why are you so quiet?”. It literally took my breath away. I was concentrated, working on some of my pictures when this happened, and he completely blew me away. I had no idea what to answer! I felt so offended. I’m not going to explain the reason for my personality. No one should. I felt horrible again like I wasn’t human at all but an alien of some sort that would be questioned. So even when I sat quietly by myself and worked hard on an assignment, I would get such a question.
“I felt like they were always thinking, ‘What’s wrong with Carl?’ The truth is, I love socializing. But when I’ve had enough, I should feel OK about going home.” – Carl King
MYTH #4: It’s better to be extroverted.
The world isn’t black and white. We all need to accept the fact we all do things differently. That we’re all different. It took me some time to realize that the world isn’t just this superficial, noisy (and nosy) and busy place. I’m actually not the only introvert on the entire planet! 30-50% introverts make up of the population. The world isn’t only for extroverts. We actually need each other to get by.
“We introverts spend a lot of time in our heads. We are deep thinkers, and our minds are constantly wondering, imagining, remembering, analyzing, planning, and dreaming. This gives us access to expansive creativity and vibrant insights that translate into innovative ideas, solutions, and inventions. When we share our thoughts, we can often provide a fresh, unique perspective that others had not seen. There is also evidence that quiet, independent thought breeds more creativity than group brainstorming sessions or loud collaborations. We introverts have known this all along. Give us some time alone and we’ll be far more creative and productive than we are adding random thoughts onto a conference room whiteboard” – Julie Rybarczyk
MYTH #5: Introverts are lonely and have no friends.
If you’re lucky enough to have an introvert that considers you as a friend, you’ll have a loyal ally for life. Also, the truth is, introverts need more alone time than extroverts. That doesn’t mean we want to be alone all the time. Introverts enjoy spending time with loved ones and would rather have a few close friendships than a large number of acquaintances. We need people in our lives and making memories with them. But without our alone time, we would end up with mental issues. However, we’re really good at being alone, spending time on creative things where we stroll through the enchanted lands of our imagination.
MYTH #6: Introverts are stuck up.
I’ve met many people that thought I was grumpy or stuck up when they first met me and admitted it to me after they got to know me. Introverts are not big fans of small talk. We just want everyone to be real and honest. We don’t feel the need to verbalize all of our thoughts and ideas as many extroverts do. We might also keep our lips sealed because we find it difficult to express ourselves in verbal conversation. We need time to think before we speak. Also, if you’re in doubt: 10 Signs An Introvert Likes You.
“There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” – Susan Cain
That being said, I have nothing against extroverted people. I have extroverted friends that I appreciate a lot, and if I didn’t have them in my life, I would not experience the things I have. We need you. Like you need us. If there were no extroverts in the world, it would not look good, and vice versa.
The reason why I’m writing this post is to inform people that there are different personalities out there. There is nothing wrong with people being either quiet or outgoing. We need to accept the people around us for what they are. No need to be condescending to anyone, just because they’re not like you. Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. The same goes for extroverts.
Thank you for reading.
Let me hear your opinion or experience below.