Top 10 Introvert Myths

We don't need fixing, okay?

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer


There’s no short­age of intro­vert myths.

I enjoy being intro­ver­ted, and I’ve nev­er under­stood all the fuss about being an extro­vert. If noth­ing else, isn’t it great that we’re different?

Still, there are plenty of mis­con­cep­tions about what it means to be an introvert.

Therefore, I was glad to find the book The Introvert Advantage (How To Thrive in an Extrovert World) by Marti Laney, and from there, I found Carl Kingdom, who, based on Laney’s book, has com­piled a list of ten widely spread myths about introverts.

Here are excerpts describ­ing these intro­vert myths:

Table of Contents

    Myth 1: Introverts Don’t Like To Talk

    This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have some­thing to say. They hate small talk. Get an intro­vert talk­ing about some­thing they are inter­ested in, and they won’t shut up for days.”

    I like to talk, and I often lead meet­ings and work­shops. I often get up on stage to speak in front of hun­dreds of people at the time. I don’t mind stand­ing up in a room full of strangers to make my case. However, if I have noth­ing sub­stan­tial to add, I say nothing. 

    This is espe­cially true if I already want the social situ­ation to be over.

    Myth 2: Introverts Are Shy

    Shyness has noth­ing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not neces­sar­ily afraid of people. What they need is a reas­on to inter­act. They don’t inter­act for the sake of inter­act­ing. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talk­ing. Don’t worry about being polite.”

    This, in my opin­ion, is the worst intro­vert myth. I love to give advice, but I also know that unso­li­cited advice is a waste of breath. And if there’s no interest in what I might have to say, that’s fine, too. I’m not eas­ily offen­ded, and I don’t mind being quiet.

    Myth 3: Introverts Are Rude

    Introverts often don’t see a reas­on for beat­ing around the bush with social pleas­ant­ries. They want every­one to just be real and hon­est. Unfortunately, this is not accept­able in most set­tings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pres­sure to fit in, which they find exhausting.”

    Well, I’ve learned to fake social pleas­ant­ries. It’s exhaust­ing, but mak­ing the situ­ation uncom­fort­able for oth­ers might pro­long the social inter­ac­tion. I don’t con­sider myself rude, but I don’t want to be per­ceived as rude.

    Myth 4: Introverts Don’t Like People

    On the con­trary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an intro­vert to con­sider you a friend, you prob­ably have a loy­al ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a per­son of sub­stance, you’re in.”

    So, I nev­er expect any­one to be excel­lent at everything. I don’t expect to like every facet of someone’s per­son­al­ity — and I don’t hope any­one to enjoy every aspect of mine. I want to think that I’m pragmatic.

    Myth 5: Introverts Don’t Like To Go Out In Public

    Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in pub­lic FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the com­plic­a­tions that are involved in pub­lic activ­it­ies. They take in data and exper­i­ences very quickly, and as a res­ult, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and pro­cess it all. In fact, rechar­ging is abso­lutely cru­cial for Introverts.”

    The more people in a pub­lic set­ting, the more com­plex I prefer the inter­ac­tion. This is why I’m not too fond of con­certs; enjoy­ing music is a chal­len­ging exper­i­ence and, there­fore, best done alone.

    Myth 6: Introverts Always Want To Be Alone

    Introverts are per­fectly com­fort­able with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They day­dream. They like to have prob­lems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incred­ibly lonely if they don’t have any­one to share their dis­cov­er­ies with. They crave an authen­t­ic and sin­cere con­nec­tion with ONE PERSON at a time.”

    My think­ing goes like this: Since I’m deeply inter­ested in people, espe­cially when it comes to psy­cho­lo­gies and beha­viours, why would­n’t I prefer to con­nect with one per­son at a time? I don’t see the magic in spread­ing my atten­tion too thin.

    Myth 7: Introverts Are Weird

    Introverts are often indi­vidu­al­ists. They don’t fol­low the crowd. They’d prefer to be val­ued for their nov­el ways of liv­ing. They think for them­selves, and because of that, they often chal­lenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is pop­u­lar or trendy.”

    I don’t think that I’m an indi­vidu­al­ist by choice. I think first — and then I com­pare. And quite often, this think­ing turns out to be some­what dif­fer­ent from the norm. Once this pro­cess has occurred, I can­’t change my mind to con­form to exist­ing major­it­ies who have reached dif­fer­ent conclusions.

    Myth 8: Introverts Are Aloof Nerds

    Introverts are people who primar­ily look inward, pay­ing close atten­tion to their thoughts and emo­tions. It’s not that they are incap­able of pay­ing atten­tion to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stim­u­lat­ing and reward­ing to them.”

    I often find spe­cif­ic activ­it­ies that spark my interest, and when this hap­pens, I like to dive deep­er into them. I can appre­ci­ate that oth­er people prefer to breeze through many types of activ­it­ies; there are bene­fits to that, too.

    Myth 9: Introverts Don’t Know How To Relax and Have Fun

    Introverts typ­ic­ally relax at home or in nature, not in busy pub­lic places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adren­aline junkies. If there is too much talk­ing and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sens­it­ive to the neur­o­trans­mit­ter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have dif­fer­ent dom­in­ant neuro-path­ways. Just look it up.”

    It’s often prob­lem­at­ic for my friends to under­stand that I can be alone and have tons of fun inside my head for hours. It might look isol­ated from the out­set, but that’s only how it comes across.

    Myth 10: Introverts Can Fix Themselves and Become Extroverts

    A world without Introverts would be a world with few sci­ent­ists, musi­cians, artists, poets, film­makers, doc­tors, math­em­aticians, writers, and philo­soph­ers. That being said, there are still plenty of tech­niques an Extrovert can learn in order to inter­act with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on pur­pose to show you how biased our soci­ety is.) Introverts can­not “fix them­selves” and deserve respect for their nat­ur­al tem­pera­ment and con­tri­bu­tions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the per­cent­age of Introverts increases with IQ.”

    Sure, I can fake being extro­ver­ted. I often do this. As long as I get to recharge, I don’t see this as a sig­ni­fic­ant prob­lem. We must all adapt to our sur­round­ings — that’s an evol­u­tion­ary pre­requis­ite. But nat­ur­al vari­ation is an evol­u­tion­ary strength, too.

    Jerry Silfwer
    Jerry Silfwer
    Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at Spin Factory and KIX Communication Index. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

    The Cover Photo

    The cover photo isn't related to public relations; it's just a photo of mine. Think of it as a 'decorative diversion', a subtle reminder that there is more to life than strategic communication.

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