I came across a great post last week, 10 myths about introverts, and just had to share my take here!
Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
Carl argues that we simply don’t bother talking unless we have something to say – and on topics we care about, we won’t shut up. This is true. But personally? It also depends on the person I’m talking to. Some just kind of draw you in. Others, you can’t wait to escape from no matter what the subject of conversation.
Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Well, I am shy. And yes, I am a little afraid of people, and very socially nervous. Making the first move, approaching people, reading gestures and navigating conversational flow – I die. (I am very good when people tour the office however; all I have to do is say my name, smile, make a couple of smart/funny comments, and then they move on. No time for awkwardness to ensue.) But I get what he means – shyness is not a prerequisite for introversion, although they do often go together.
Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Carl reckons we have no patience for social pleasantries and find them exhausting. For sure! Small talk can be incredibly draining. But it can also be quite rewarding, that feeling that you’ve connected with another human being, on whatever level. I still find the “Hi, how are you?” routine awfully tedious, but I can play that game (it’s easier to fake on the phone). I used to have a lot of issues with maintaining eye contact, and I still can’t stand still without shuffling and fidgeting – plus I never know exactly how to stand or what to do with my arms, which can definitely come across as rude or bored.
Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
Er. I’m torn on this one. There are a lot of people I don’t like, which I may have decided upon meeting you once or twice, or many times. But sure, the good people, I love. Which I suppose goes for anybody, introvert or extrovert.
Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
I think it’s universally agreed that we don’t have a problem with going out per se, but that we can’t sustain it indefinitely. We need to go home, process it all and recharge. By ourselves. I also like this: “They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.”
Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
See previous myth. Also, we often do better in one-on-ones and small groups. Plus we like ourselves enough to enjoy our own company. Not all the time, but a fair bit of it. T hates being at home alone. Me, I look forward to getting back to my haven.
Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
You say tomayto, I say tomahto. I don’t think I’m weird, I’m just not a socialite and while most people my age prefer to party it up on a weekend, I’d rather try my hand at making yoghurt, for example.
Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Carl: Introverts are people who primarily look inward… 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 have to admit, I’m not the most observant (and I partly attribute that to my lack of multitasking ability. Also, a terrible memory). If I don’t care about something or I don’t find it interesting, I’ll ask questions – I’m a journo – but I can’t fake enthusiasm. This also reminds me of how, when I was younger, I would pretend I was a living book character, and as I went about daily life, I narrated events in my head. “She stared blankly past her father, focusing instead on the patch of wallpaper peeling away from the doorjamb…”
Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Everyone’s definition of fun varies. And yes, mine sometimes involves dancing and laughing and somewhat social activity, but 90% of the time it’s quiet, individualistic pursuits – baking, blogging, playing music, reading, taking photos.
Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
Do I even need to?