A friend of mine showed me an article in the Owl City Blog last week about Introverts and the ‘myths’ and misconceptions about them. I’ve never been much interested in Introverts and Extroverts, but this article really opened my eyes to the plight of my fellow people — this might just be the crazy talking, but I really do believe that I’m an Introvert. If you read the 10 Myths About Introverts below, then perhaps you can see why I’ve come to that conclusion.
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.
When you first meet me, I’m all shy and quiet and most of the time, I come off as a snob because I avoid eye contact and pretend — quite believably — that I am very much interested in the landscape around me and/or my mobile phone. Especially recently, since I’ve moved to England and everywhere I look I see British accents coming at me from all directions. Anxiousness shuts me up faster than reprimand from my mom. >_<
I don’t know how long my shyness last; it really does depend on the situation or the person. Sometimes it could just take a few days, sometimes even months. Four years ago when I started school in Bethel International, I believe it took a year and a half before I got comfortable enough to enjoy the company of my classmates beyond the classroom walls.
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.
Though quite shy, when you get me riled up about a topic I like (cough*HarryPotter*cough), it’s all I can talk about. I don’t do well with small talk beyond the “Hi, how’ve you been?” After that, then just hope you’re an avid reader else I’ll be lavishing my attention on my phone or music player.
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.
I’d like to think that I’m polite most of the time. I suppose that’s just the Filipino in me. Filipinos are renowned for their hospitality and kindness and, though you won’t catch me offering you a seat because quite frankly, I believe in “first come first serve”, I won’t lie to you when you ask me for the truth. If you don’t like the answer, then don’t ask.
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.
Yeah, I’m friendly with a lot of people, but I’ve never been really close to any of them beyond the few friends that I consider close. By that, I mean close enough to come to their place, sleep over, share secrets, even let your guard down and much about despite it being juvenile. ^__^
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.
Oh, I love going places! That’s one of the attributes of being a Sagittarius, actually. You know that movie Jumper with Hayden Christensen? Well, I’d absolutely love to have his powers and just jump between England and the Philippines. However, if it’s a trip to the town centre for some groceries, it’s a quick enter, choose, pay and leave pattern for me.
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.
I think I’ve lost count of how many times I wanted to be alone, just by myself with no one to bother me. That’s not me being rude or anti-social, but me craving for some quiet time to hear my thoughts. Of course, I’ve already trained myself to be able to think deeply about things and ignore my surroundings. It’s a talent I’m quite proud of. Anyway, I actually like being with my friends, which is kinda hard for me right now since they’re on the other side of the world. >_<
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 am not weird. I prefer the term unique, actually. “They don’t follow the crowd” seems to suit me very well. I know what I want, and if by chance what I want does not match what the people want, then deal with it. So what if I want to watch Pride and Prejudice and not Gossip Girl? So what if I want to wear converse with a dress? Sandals hurt my feet.
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.
Of course the dark shadows of my mind are much better than whatever’s happening right in front of me! You don’t want to know how many times I’ve zoned out of lessons just because my mind accidentally thinks of something cool and profound. Sorry teachers, but it’s the truth.
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.
This is so true. You won’t see me bungee jumping off a bridge any time soon, but no worries because I’ll be below taking pictures of you. ^__^
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.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like it when people change who they are just to fit in. Yes, I know the urge is there. We all want to be accepted one way or another, and I am very aware of that since and I’m a teen and I personally think that high school is like hell on earth (sometimes, anyway). Peer pressure is difficult, and I suppose I am lucky to be able to spend my early teen years around good role models such as the staff and students of Bethel International School. And besides, I’m as stubborn as a mule with my beliefs.
Being an Introvert isn’t as fun as it seems, just like I’m sure being an Extrovert isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. We all have certain lots in life: I was made this way, I am the way I am. Though I’m no Star of Africa, I happen to like the diamond in the rough I happen to be.