noun \ˌin-trə-ˈvər-zhən, -shən\
Like about half of the world’s population, I am an introvert. I always have been and always will be: just thinking about interacting with too many people makes me tired. On most days about half of my time is spent doing activities alone, and much of the other half is spent with one other person.
Also, like many introverts, I believe people do not understand introversion too well. This makes life harder for the introverted person, who is already trying to avoid life in the first place. So for the sake of all the introverts who would like to be understood and the extroverts who would like to understand, I will address some common misconceptions about introversion.
Introverts are not necessarily shy, although many introverts are shy. Introversion in itself is simply a state of being mainly concerned with one’s inner life. Unlike shy people, introverts don’t avoid social interaction because they are anxious or scared of others. Many introverts can be very sociable when they feel like being so, they just choose not to because social interaction drains their energy.
Many shy extroverts believe they are introverts. If you would rather interact with people, but you’re afraid to or don’t know how, then you are an extrovert. If you feel energized by interacting with the outside world of people or things, you are an extrovert. No matter how much time you spend alone.
Introverts are not lonely
Introverts may often be alone, but they are not lonely — they enjoy their own company more than they enjoy the company of others. Do not feel sorry for them, they are not sad. Do not ask them if they would like someone to hang out with. If they are strongly introverted, the answer will be no.
Introverts can not become extroverts
Sometimes more sociable, extrovert friends and family will encourage the introvert to interact more with others. They think the introvert just needs a little push, or some new friends, and they will be “cured” of their introversion. Introversion is not an illness that can be rid of by having a few fun nights out. A person is born an introvert and stays that way for life. Introverts are wired differently than extroverts: many studies have found differences in the brain activity and structure of introverts and extroverts.
Introverts do not hate people
Finally, introverts are not generally anti-social and they do not dislike people. They may love people (like I do), but they feel drained by too much social interaction; not having enough time alone can make them cranky or jittery. Give the introverted person enough space and you’ll find they can be a wonderful friend.
Are you introverted? What tips do you have for understanding introverts?