In Regards to My Own Introversion [Wow! It’s Wednesday!]

I really loved this “Dispelling Ten Myths About Introverts” list at Shrinking Violet Promotions. As someone who struggles with her own offline introversion, I really related to most of the mythbusters. However, though, the posts attempts to completely separate introversion from the myths about introversion I have to say that in my case, at least, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Let’s go down their list in bold with my comments in not-bold:

1. We are not all shy. This was actually a great way to phrase that myth. Because while there are unshy introverts. There are also many shy ones.

2. We are not anti-social. Actually, I am. To be more specific, I like to be social at specific times and places. Like at events and parties and get-togethers with friends. If you asked my Starbucks baristas about me, however, or the person who sits next to me on a plane, they would not describe me as social. I don’t initiate small talk. I walk through life with headphones stuck in my ears so that I won’t have to talk to people I don’t know. I’m not a big fan of chit-chat with random strangers. When people try to engage me in chit-chat, I answer in such a way that doesn’t invite any further chit-chat. I am indeed anti-social at times.

3. Introversion is not a mental illness. Agreed. Of course, it isn’t.

4. We don’t not like people. Agreed. In fact I adore people … that I know. I often say that the reason I’ve come off as an extrovert in the past is that I’m desperate to get to know the new people I meet at parties and other events, so intense is my dislike for talking to strangers.

5. We do contribute to society. This felt like a false myth to me. Who in the world has ever accused introverts of not contributing to society?

6. Introversion is not a weakness that needs to be overcome. While I want to agree with this, again I have a few caveats. Being an introvert, I of course, think it’s natural to want to retreat into yourself and have plenty of alone time. However, if I allowed myself to become too introverted, then I would spend way too much time alone. While I don’t consider my introversion to be something that needs to be cured, it’s also not something I should over indulge either.

7. We do not have intimacy issues. Agreed.

8. We are not broken extroverts. Agreed. Introverts are introverts. That is our natural state.

9. Introversion is not the same as social anxiety. Agreed. It’s not. But I do have a lot of social anxiety. I always say that the worst part is getting myself to the party or the event. I usually have a great time once I’m there, and afterwards I’m almost always glad I went, but the getting there bit can be pretty gut-wrenching.

10. Introverts are not self-absorbed — we’re self-aware. I’m both actually. C’mon it takes a certain amount of self-absorption to prefer one’s own company over most others. But I don’t see being self-absorbed as a completely bad thing. Really, I spend a significant amount of my alone time crafting stories about other people, so I think I deserve a little self-absorption in my life.

My main point is that introverts aren’t clueless villains, but we’re also not entirely blameless for our reputations either. I often find extroverts exhausting and hard to be around, but of course, they’re not all spotlight-hogging caricatures. However, they’re also not blameless for their reputations for always being “on.” At the end of the day, I think we can learn from each other. Extreme introversion is a turn-off. Extreme extroversion is a turn-off. Let’s all agree to meet somewhere in the middle at social events.

In any case the Shrinking Violet Post is definitely worth a read for introverts and the extroverts that don’t understand them alike.

featured image credit: RandomThawts