Have you ever done or said something and the people around you looked at you like you were an alien from Mars? If you’re an introvert, this sort of thing probably happens to you all the time. You may have even gotten used to it because it happens so much.
Personally, I have been misunderstood in tons of situations. It began in high school when I didn’t want to stay out late partying like my friends. Some of them said I was poor at dancing and felt hurt seeing everyone jumping around having the time of their lives. All I wanted was to sit on the sidelines and watch them enjoy the party their way. But none of them understood. To them, it was unintelligible rocket science that they couldn’t fathom.
Here are three more ways I have felt misunderstand as an introvert. Can you relate?
1. My introversion is mistaken for shyness. I have been mistaken as being shy for as long as I can remember. I don’t know why people think of me as being shy, but it makes me feel like the black sheep of the family. What they fail to understand is that just because I’m not as outgoing as them, I’m not really shy per se. According to Susan Cain, author of Quiet, “Shyness is the fear of negative judgment, and introversion is a preference for quiet, minimally stimulating environments.” In other words, if you’re extremely self-conscious and worry excessively about others judging you, you might be shy. But if you stay home alone on a Friday night simply because you prefer calm and quiet, you’re an introvert.
2. My need for solitude is considered unsociable. In the current world we’re living in, the extrovert’s way is continually praised. Introverts, who tend to keep to themselves, may be seen as poor at socializing and are considered lonely freaks. Unlike what most people think, I actually like being in the midst of people exchanging helpful ideas. But rather than going to a big social event, I prefer having quality, close friends. I can be a loner, yes, but I do like having people around once in a while. Likewise, the idea that introverts can’t work with other people or in groups is totally wrong. More than once, people have told me that I work best alone and I’m better off that way. To some extent, this might be true, but again, thinking that I’m poor at teamwork is wrong. It is true that I have a tendency to be quiet in large groups, but I do speak a lot in small ones. In fact, being an introvert, I can help guide my group to think more deeply about what we’re doing. Do not be surprised when I tell you that many successful people, such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Steve Wozniak have been classified as introverts.
3. My quietness is seen as a dislike of talking. Perhaps the biggest misconception about me is that I don’t like talking. But that’s what this belief is — a misconception. I personally love talking to people, but not always. This is the keyword here. Unlike extroverts who always seem to be jovial, I tend to be more reserved. I do more listening than talking, which is one characteristic you’ll find in most (if not all) introverts. We usually only talk when it’s absolutely necessary to do so. Unless we have some really important stuff to say, we prefer not to speak. We may be especially quiet in large crowds and around strange faces. However, we engage in pretty awesome conversations when we feel comfortable around people, especially when we get to talk about those peculiar topics we love. Likewise, some people would ask: What about public speaking? I would honestly inform you that we, introverts, make great speakers. To begin with, we prepare adequately before compiling our projects. I personally take a lot of time observing, listening, and noticing what’s happening around me. We introverts may shock others with our quality content and amazing presentations.
I highly suggest that any extroverts reading this take some time to understand introversion before judging us. This might be especially hard in workplaces, where we interact with many different personalities, and we’re expected to all get along. But it’s possible for both introverts and extroverts to mingle and work together in a peaceful environment. All we have to do is learn about other people’s personalities and take them as they are.
Did you enjoy this article? Sign up for our newsletters to get more stories like this.