9 Things People Get Wrong About Introverts

Many creatives in solitary professions are introverts who are terribly misunderstood in society. Let's clear some things non-introverts get wrong about introverts.

Man Looking at Sunset - Things People Get Wrong About Introverts

A large number of people in creative and solitary professions like writing are introverts. And introverts are terribly misunderstood in today's society. They are often held up to high "extrovert ideals" and judged harshly when they don't measure up.

Renowned psychotherapists Carl Jung and Briggs Myers agree that there are two main, legitimate personality types: Extroverts and introverts. Introverts are simply people who need time alone with their own thoughts and feelings.

Jonathan Rauch, in an article on the Atlantic magazine, says that for introverts time alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping and as nourishing as eating.

Introverts prefer to avoid the limelight and thrive on one-on-one interactions. Extroverts, on the other hand, are energized by people and wilt or fade when alone.

Now with all the discussions about introversion happening online (and offline), we thought we’d chime in and make clear a few things that many non-introverts often get wrong about introverts.


What Non-Introverts Get Wrong About Introverts


Feel free to add your voice in the comments section about how people misunderstand introverts and common myths about introversion.


Myth #1. Introverts are shy


People frequently confuse introversion with being shy and even use the two words interchangeably. Shyness has more to do with anxiety and discomfort in situations involving social interaction, while introversion has to do with needing some time alone after social interactions to recharge and regain expended energy.

Bill Gates is soft-spoken, bookish and introverted, but is he shy? He is not.


Myth #2. Introverts hate people


Just because introverts need (and enjoy) time alone more than their extroverted counterparts does not mean they hate people. On the contrary, introverts love people more than you may know. They can be your most trusted friends and will be there for you when it counts. It's just that they enjoy social interactions in a different way than extroverts.

So, don’t be too pushy or judgmental when at a party introverts prefer to sit calmly and watch the action from the sidelines. It’s not that they are anti-social or they don’t want to have fun; it’s just that it’s more fun for them to enjoy the party quietly.


Myth #3. Introverts have terrible mood swings


Extroverted people might think introverts are neurotic, but this perception is often terribly wrong. Introverts don’t have extreme mood swings any more than extroverts do. They are not constant worriers, nor do they have a paranoid personality.

Actually, introverts can cope in any social setting just as well as extroverts can. They will only need some time alone afterwards to re-energize.


Myth #4. Introverts are mentally unstable


Introverts are not any more prone to mental illness than other people. Needing private time to restore your energy and preferring to work on your own over working in teams does not make you mentally unstable.


Myth #5. Introverts are bad leaders


Historically, introverts have been some of the best leaders the world has seen. Abraham Lincoln, for example, was quiet, reserved and dignified. He was revered as a man who did not 'offend by superiority.'

Similarly, Mahatma Gandhi, Queen Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill, Eleanor Roosevelt, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs and countless other people make the long list of exceptional, introverted leaders.


Myth #6. Introverts are depressed and sad


This misconception most likely stems from the fact that extroverts—who draw their energy from being in the company of others—feel depressed and sad when they spend long hours alone. They, therefore, imagine introverts feel the same way, spending all that time alone quietly absorbed in their own thoughts.

Well, this might be a genuine concern of non-introvers, but it is incorrect and not okay to put the extrovert’s feelings on introverts. Introverts enjoy their time alone and are not depressed.


Myth #7. Introverts are losers


Many of the world’s most successful personalities in all spheres of life and industry are actually introverts. Opera Winfrey, Michael Jordan, Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford, Christina Aguilera, J.K Rowling among many, many others are introverts. These people are not losers.


Myth #8. Introverts have nothing to say


In a highly extrovert world that just can't stop talking, introverts simply won’t speak unless they have something really important to say. That's all it is!


Myth #9. Introverts are automatically smarter


Being introverted does not automatically make you more intelligent. It's just that the best ideas often happen when people are in a more reflective, introverted mindset. What that means is that introverts are more likely to come up with the most brilliant ideas.

However, although many high profile introverts like Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin and Marcel Proust were super smart, many other introverts are not quite so smart. They are your regular, ordinary friend next door. We are normal people just like everyone else.

David K. William is a writer, publisher, and entrepreneur. Everything he writes is inspired by life experiences and study. David is also founding editor of WebWriterSpotlight.com. Follow him on Twitter @DavidKWilliam.

A version of this post appeared on Lifehack.org.