All of my life people would describe me as shy, independent and sometimes aloof. Until I got to college, I would have agreed. It turns out, I’m an introvert. Introversion is a series of personality traits. People who are considered introverts tend to be more introspective focused more on thoughts, feelings and moods rather than be stimulated externally.
Here are some common misconceptions about me and the other half of the population that are considered introverts.
Introverts Hate People.
Whenever I hear this one, I immediately cringe. As an introvert, we lose energy when we’re interacting in large groups for an extended period of time. An extrovert, on the other hand, would gain energy in the same scenario. Introverts need time to “recharge” after these long interactions so that may be the reason why I’ll choose not to make plans directly after work or prefer to stay at home and chill for the weekend. Introverts do not innately hate interacting with people or love to be alone. I personally love to work in groups, however, at the end of the day, I need my alone time to recharge. Depending on my day, I may need a few moments alone or the remainder of my day needs to spend in bed binge-watching something on Netflix. Don’t take it personally if the introverted coworker decides to sit alone during lunch or wants to be alone during breaks. We are recharging and getting prepared to get through the rest of the day. We need this time to relax. Most of our relaxing needs to be done in a controlled environment, which usually means we need to be alone.
So if you’re wondering how you can get your introverted friend or coworker out the house/office. I’d suggest trying to plan an event so they can mentally prepare themselves for that additional social interaction. Making plans with them is a great opportunity for them to open up to you if they haven’t already.
Introverts Are Shy or Socially Awkward.
Because we are naturally reserved and quiet, people tend to assume that we are shy and socially awkward. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Although we do lose energy in large groups, we do not lack the ability to connect and interact with people. We are very observant as well as thinkers so often it’s difficult to try to manage multiple interactions at once when were processing everything happening. With that being said, we thrive in smaller groups. When you’re actively thinking about your surroundings, you more than likely won’t be as talkative as some extroverts. My reserved nature shouldn’t be confused either. I think before I speak. I try to determine whether I should offer my opinion to new people. Personally, I love one-on-one interactions. Getting to know people individually instead of all at once.If you come across an introvert struggling at a social gathering, don’t assume we’re being weird by choosing not to be the life of the party. We’re taking note of our environment and acting accordingly.
Introverts Can’t Change.
I’ll start by saying this, no one is completely an introvert or extrovert. There is a full spectrum and most people share qualities of both. People who have an equal balance of the qualities are called ambiverts. It’s okay to adapt to your surroundings. Sometimes to accomplish a task, we have to dig deep to pull out our inner extrovert. There have been times where I would have to give myself pep talks before I step out my car for work.
Don’t put yourself in a box or give others the power to do so. As humans, we like to categorize people and make assumptions for everything. Whether you’re an introvert, extrovert or ambivert, take pride in the qualities that make you, you. It’s easy to be pressured to sway one way or another when our environments change. When I’m at work (I work at a high school), I try to have high energy around my students. My coworkers, on the other hand, get my introverted side. This actually works out pretty well. There’s no need to feel stuck as one or the other. Sometimes it’s easy to blame our shortcomings on our qualities, but you have the ability to work past them. You may not be excellent in a certain area but we can’t view our personality as a determinant when it comes to being successful.
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