8 Myths About Introverts That We Need to Stop Believing

If you’re an introvert like me, it’s likely you feel drained by social events but energized by spending time alone. This has led to many people getting the wrong idea about introversion. People accuse us of being shy or asocial, but the truth is many introverts love being around people–we just can’t do too much socializing. Whereas extroverts gain energy as they spend time with people, introverts will start to wilt after a while and need time out before they can face their next social encounter.

Below are eight myths about introverts that need to be challenged:

Myth #1: Introverts don’t know how to have fun.

An introvert’s idea of fun differs from that of an extrovert’s. For us, a “fun” Saturday night might involve having a meaningful conversation with a friend over dinner or binge watching our favorite Netflix show with our significant other. Introverts don’t feel the need to seek out external forms of stimulation as much as extroverts do. According to Susan Cain in Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts, introverts have slightly different nervous systems than extroverts. Ours are more sensitive than extroverts’, so we tend to get enough stimulation just from being around other people.

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Myth #2: Introverts don’t have anything to say.

Introverts avoid small talk because it feels inauthentic. But many of us actually love to talk–when we have something of value to say. Introverts enjoy talking about big ideas or topics that are personally meaningful to us. If you get me talking about something I’m passionate about, you might find it hard to get a word in.

Myth #3: Introverts don’t like people.

Introverts usually have small social circles. We have a few friendships that are very close and long-term. These friends mean the world to us. We may not have many acquaintances because that would mean we’d have to do a lot of small talk.

Myth #4: Introverts are rude and aloof.

Introverts sometimes skip the social niceties because they want to get right to the heart of the conversation. That’s where the good stuff is. Having to first work my way through, “how are you/I’m fine/and how are you/great/how was your weekend/oh that’s good” is exhausting!

Myth #5: All introverts are shy.

Introversion and shyness are two completely different things. According to Susan Cain, “shy people fear negative judgment, while introverts simply prefer less stimulation; shyness is inherently painful, and introversion is not.” Introverts aren’t afraid to interact with people, we just need a reason to do it. You can be an introvert and be shy, or you can be an introvert without the shyness piece.

Myth #6: Introverts are recluses.

Introverts think a lot. We process things internally in addition to talking them through with others. We love to daydream and reflect on our lives. Sometimes we can be accused of being too “in our heads.” But just because we like plenty of quiet solitude doesn’t mean we always want to be alone. Just like extroverts, we need caring people in our lives. We get lonely if we don’t experience true connection and intimacy with others.

Myth #7: Introverts are homebodies.

Many introverts love to head out on a Saturday night just as much as anyone else. However, we need time to recharge our batteries after hanging out with others, especially if crowds and lots of small talk are involved. We may not stay out as long as extroverts and we may need to relax at home the next night to recharge our “social” batteries. This isn’t because we don’t like to go out; it goes back to us having more sensitive nervous systems than extroverts. After a night out, we need time to process all that stimulation.

Myth #8: It’s better to be an extrovert.

Extroverts are fueled by dopamine and feel energized at the possibility of rewards in the environment, such as social status, money, and power. For this reason, extroverts may be better suited for some professions—especially those that are competitive, high-stress, and full of social interaction. However, introverts are responsible for much of the art, music, poetry, and literature of the world. Actor Emma Watson, musician Christina Aguilera, and author J.K. Rowling are all self-professed introverts. Introverts are also highly represented in the fields of science, technology, and politics—Einstein, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama are introverts. Our world needs both types of personalities to thrive.  retina_favicon1

Read this: Just Because I Don’t Look Excited Doesn’t Mean I’m Not Into This


  • Polly says:

    I just realized yesterday that I am an introvert and a sensitive person. But the best news out of this is that it is okay to be me. I have been depressed most of my life, and I have fibromyalgia. So with everything that goes with that, my self esteem is in pretty bad shape. I always think that I am the odd one and I am too sensitive and that was wrong. I have set free from the confines of my mind. Thank you so very much for the work you have done and for sharing with us. God bless you and yours.

    • Leanne says:

      Hi Polly, thanks for your comment and support. Sorry to hear of your struggles and the impact on your self-esteem. I don’t think you can ever be too sensitive, who decides where the line is anyway? There is simply sensitive and insensitive and we’re all somewhere on that continuum. We need people who are at both ends of the scale. I imagine your experiences as well as your sensitivity have made you a very empathic supportive person and there’s nothing odd about that!

  • Cloudy Rockwell says:

    Oh my goodness! I’ve known I was an introvert for a long time, but you just busted all my self-held myths that made me confused about my introversion! I especially love the one about not liking to have fun. Everyone asks, “Did you have a nice weekend?” and then are disappointed when I say, “Oh, yes! I read a whole book, watched one of our favorite old movies, and just did nothing!” And as to the rest: I often say I hate people, that I have nothing to say to people, that I’m shy, and that people must think I’m rude because I’m so quiet. I say all this to friends and co-workers, and they think I’m crazy, because they see I’m not like that–and yet that’s how introverts are made to feel, most of the time.

    • Hi Cloudy, I can relate to all this. We are made to feel weird by people who don’t understand, but I’m learning there’s plenty of people who do get it, and that’s who we need to spend time with. All the best to you.

  • JT says:

    This is a truly beautiful article. Thank you very much!

  • Shrutika says:

    I have a doubt. Some introverts are shy and so when they are out in the world, where there are too many people like in public places, they usually are in their head, thinking and rethinking. They become self conscious, since they are shy, so this hinders the process of one powerful quality which extroverts master in and i.e. observing. To look around, to look at stores and places and landmarks. Extroverts somehow come to know about unusual places, spots, hidden places because they look around, keep their eyes engaged on surroundings and take that information in rather than like introverts, who are in their head, thinking about an incident or thinking about a news article or about some conversation.
    I need to know is my observation even correct? Does it hold true?

    • I think it’s an individual thing. Often introverts are good at observing because they’re not deep in conversation with someone else. But they can be distracted by what’s going on inside as well. It depends if what’s going on inside their head is about what they’re observing around them or not. Thanks for your comment.

  • My husband is an introvert while I’m an extrovert…needless to say, this is an awkward combination.
    We constantly miss social gatherings, family gatherings, church picnics…in almost everything, I’m by myself.
    Is there therapy, medicine or any help to put him at ease enough that he and I could go to functions together and it not be a bad experience for him?
    By the way, thank you for this article… VERY helpful!!

    • Marvin says:

      I’m no doctor or psychologist but as an introvert I would advise against seeking medication or therapy because that gives the impression that something is wrong with your husband. From my experience that can be very counterproductive. Think of it this way: How would you feel if he was seeking medication or therapy on your behalf so you can stay home with him and not have a bad experience? As a compromise you could have smaller social gatherings with no more than a dozen people attending. Or for really big events involving large crowds, don’t spend too much time there, maybe an hour at the most. Hope that helps.

      • Great points Marvin, introversion isn’t something that needs fixing, but compromise can definitely be helpful. In that way extroverts and introverts can complement each other, rather than conflict.

    • Hi Mary, I think introverts can have a good time at social gatherings if it’s accepted that they are introverts and they’re allowed to hang on the outskirts of the party without being judged. It’s not that it has to be a bad experience, it’s just that they need to be allowed to take time out when they want, and leave when they need to. Good luck.

  • Lerato Kgatle says:

    Introversion exemplifies one of those things that you have to experience to understand it can be difficult for extroverts to get their head around the requirements of this personality type though i sometimes envy the extroverts way of living i could never imagine myself without my sense of quiet, however, it is always interesting to see how the world condemns us with their judgement it makes for a good cackle here and there after all there’s nothing really wrong with us its just that we are so cool we leave people perplexed.

  • Denise says:

    I am a 65 year old woman who found out that I am very introverted and sensitive as well not that very long ago. After just 15 minutes into the book, “The Introvert Advantage; How to Thrive in an Extrovert World”, I began to cry–right there in front of everyone–in the bookstore. I finally felt like I was normal after feeling less so all my life. Now when someone says that I am no fun or that I am antisocial, I can know that I am fun and I am social, but in a quiet way. Thanks for the myth busting article and for putting it all in an easy to read list so that I can show my skeptical friends and family.

    • Denise, I know that feeling of suddenly recognising yourself in someone else’s words and realising you’ve been ok all along, just misunderstood. I’m sure you are fun and social, I hope your skeptical friends and family are able to start seeing that now!