Introverts are Misunderstood: Busting Introversion Myths

Lonely, depressed, weird and arrogant are few traits unfairly associated with introverts. But how much do we know about them to understand why introverts are misunderstood and labeled as such? Read below as we bust some myths about introverts.

introverts are misunderstood busting myths introversion

Introverts are misunderstood people in the world and are often regarded as ‘antisocial’ or ‘socially awkward’. While it could be true for some, this generalization needs to be clarified. Introverts are individuals who refuel their mental energy by minimizing their social interaction by re-focusing on themselves. In simple words, social interactions can drain their mental batteries. The way we stimulate our minds depends on how our minds function. In the case of Introverts, their reclusive nature helps their mind to function better.

As it is embedded in their personality to avoid more social circumstances, introverts are misunderstood as ‘loners’, ‘depressed’ and sometimes ‘arrogant’. But this is untrue about them. Even extroverts try to find some alone time for themselves once in a while. They too get depressed and can be arrogant. This isn’t peculiar. In fact, how different individuals operate in their social surroundings is what makes us unique.

naina kal ho na ho introverts are misunderstood in movies
Naina Kapur from Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003)

However, there are various misconceptions and misunderstandings about introverts that have misconstrued the idea of introversion as a personality trait. Movies and the media exceedingly show introversion as a problematic behavior. For example in movies, characters who are introverted (quiet, indoor and socially distanced) are lonely and depressed who after being exposed to new surroundings and friends have found a new way of living a happy life. These false assumptions have marginalized introverts as awkward and lonely who don’t know how to be happy.

Even though in the past few years, researchers and psychologists have tried to educate people about the false interpretation of introverts, yet most of the people fail to understand the power of introversion and why introverts choose a certain lifestyle for themselves. To understand how much introverts are misunderstood, let’s look at the different ways introverts act and behave in different areas of life.

Understanding why Introverts are Misunderstood

Power of Solitude – Debunking Myth of being Anti-Social

mark zuckerberg social network power of solitude
Mark Zuckerberg from The Social Network (2010)

Yes, it’s true. Introverts prefer to spend more time being alone indoors. They socialize much less than others. Parties and events aren’t their “thing”. But that doesn’t mean they are anti-social or socially awkward. In fact, many introverts have excellent socializing skills, listening quality, and most importantly are very observant of their surroundings. They socialize less because being around people for a long time can exhaust their mental energy.

Introverts have a strong analyzing and thinking mind, which is why isolation is more preferable for them. They create a mental picture of everything they learn and grasp. This can make them less social and enthusiastic. A power that introverts cherish the most is redirecting their focus to their mind and zoning out in their own thoughts.

Another interesting fact about introverts is that it can be hard for them to adapt to changes quickly. In 2013, an article was published in Psychology Today, which stated that as compared to extroverts, introverts “react to change more slowly and less intensely”. This might feel awkward while socializing with others because they take their own time to learn.

Qualities and Characteristics of an Introvert

dan humphrey gossip girl qualities characteristics introvert personality
Dan Humphrey from Gossip Girl (2007-2012)

There are various defining qualities and characteristics in introverts that one might find exceptional. For example, introverts can be very intuitive and observant. They notice patterns and flow of how things act around them and plan according to their observations. They are excellent listeners and the least judgemental of others. Most introverts are daydreamers which is often seen as eccentric because people think they are lost souls.

According to an article on Forbes in 2012, introverts, “Prefer less stimulating environments and tend to enjoy quiet concentration, listen more than they talk and think before they speak.” These characteristics help them to internally organize their thoughts and become very productive. Though introverts are believed to have a well organized and often relaxed mind, they can also get disturbed seeing people in pain due to their empathetic nature. Sometimes seeing others in difficulty or in pain can trigger a strong emotional reaction.

Hobbies and Interests to Keep them Busy

sheldon cooper big bang theory hobbies interests introvert personality
Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory (2007-2019)

Apart from daydreaming, Introverts love to engage themselves in various hobbies like reading, singing, dancing, art and craft, etc. Due to their reclusive nature, they tend to develop those hobbies over time and become passionate as they grow older. It is common for introverts to get very attached to their interest. For example, an introvert will empathize more over the death of a fictional character in the book or a movie because of their empathetic behavior.

They like to find time to continue their childhood interests in their adulthood like gaming and music. Engaging in an activity helps them to find the inner peace, explore themselves and outgrow their potential.

Friends and Relationships – The Social Circle

hermione granger friends relationships introvert personality
Hermione Granger from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2009)

As generalized, introverts have a smaller circle of friends. Sometimes introverts are misunderstood for being socially anxious but the truth is that introverts value honesty and devotion in a relationship more than any other qualities. They bond with people who will understand them and respect their privacy. Their relationships are very serious and show strong commitment to all their friends and relatives.

Similarly, in love partners, an introvert looks for devotion and compassion. As they are not very social, they like to spend valuable time with their partners and require a lot of space. In the workplace, introverts communicate with everyone they like. They might not be the most outgoing colleague but they will never refuse a fun conversation or a water cooler chit-chat.

Mental Health and Stigma

rory gilmore mental health stigma introvert personality
Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls (2000-2007)

Often introverts are misunderstood as victims of mental illness or disorders due to their “lonely” behavior. Many people think that they are depressed and awkward because they are alone and have few friends. This is absolutely wrong. One can feel lonely even when surrounded with hundreds of people.

Everyone needs to understand that an introvert truly enjoys being on their own. Yes, depression can happen to introverts too but not because of their characteristics. It can happen for a variety of reasons which is similar to anyone else. Being an introvert isn’t a negative personality trait, it is a choice one makes of being comfortable with themselves. We need to acknowledge that any introvert or extrovert can be a victim of mental illness.

Types of Introvert Personalities

simran singh ddlj types introvert personalities
Simran Singh from Dilwale Dulhania le Jayenge (1995)

Introverts aren’t a group of individuals with similar qualities. Instead, they can be different on their own. There can be a social introvert, anti-social introvert, lazy introvert, active introvert, emotional introvert, rational introvert and even an arrogant introvert. MBTi assessment tool includes introversion as a personality trait and has 8 personality types with introverted traits. No introvert is the same as others. Everyone is unique.

Also read: Types of Personality: Here’s How to Find out Yours!

Outlook to the Future

artist painter alone outlook to future introvert personality

Introversion isn’t necessarily an inborn trait. People can become introverted at later stages in life depending on situations. It is one’s experiences and circumstances that builds their personality over their lifetime, which is why some people become introverted much later in life. As we debunk these myths proving how unfairly introverts are misunderstood, we know one thing for sure that introverts love being introverts.

An introvert can become social over time or vice versa. There’s no saying that one will continue to be the same. It can get very difficult for an introvert to make friends but as they find the very few people, things only get easier from there on. Introverts become more comfortable in their own skin as they embrace themselves for who they are. And now that the world is becoming more acceptable to introverts, it has become easier for them to open up to the world.

My Life so Far as an Introvert

“Never regret your past. Rather, embrace it as the teacher it is.”- The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma.

Being an introvert is never easy in the early stages of life as introverts are misunderstood by almost everyone else. I don’t believe I have always been an introvert. Like many other introverts I too have gone through a phase where I didn’t understand why I was becoming so different than my friends. I remember being a talkative kid and spending more time outdoors with my friends. But as I grew older, I felt exhausted being an outdoor person.

I missed my room and books and slowly distanced myself from a lot of people I found unrelatable. I became more inclusive, quiet and focused. But I was still talkative in front of my close friends and family and extremely lazy. Nothing gave me the comfort of cozying up on my couch with a book.

life as an introvert girl studying book cozy alone

It became very difficult to make friends because I couldn’t connect with everyone. People thought I was arrogant and snobbish. However, when I read about introversion and realized how I was slowly becoming one, and everything made more sense than ever. Today, I am more comfortable and happy calling myself an introvert because I enjoy all the perks of introversion.

I read about different types of personalities and art of self loving in books and on the internet. Then I met a few friends in school and college who were very similar to me, they were introverts too. This cleared all my doubts and gave me the confidence to love myself no matter how different I was. And since then, I have loved being an introvert.

Love Thyself, No Matter What!

Lastly, being an introvert has its own perks and demerits. Introversion isn’t beneficial or detrimental. It’s rather a characteristic or even a choice of living that depends on what makes you comfortable and happy. Just because someone appears or behaves a different way doesn’t make them weird. Every one of us is weird in a different way and we all need to embrace it. Introverts are misunderstood as loners but they aren’t. They are people who choose to spend their time on themselves more than on the social environment. So next time you meet an introvert, don’t think of them as awkward or loner. Talk to them as you talk to others and embrace them for who they are.

Share with us what you think about introverts or any experiences you have had by commenting below or tweet @shilpa1ahuja with your thoughts and questions.

Read next:

Need for Standing Out from Others | The Divergents
Need for Spreading Self-Information: A Basic Human Need

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