The moment we listen to or read the word ‘Introvert’, we may imagine a nerd or a person sitting alone in a corner during a social event or a gathering. An introvert has been conventionally characterized by the way others see him.
Talking about myself, I don’t even fall into the trending category of an ambivert. Ambiverts own a blend of features of both Introverts and Extroverts. I am far from being called an Ambivert.
However, I’m not sorry for sitting alone at home sipping my tea, going for a movie alone or for not talking to random people at a party. I like myself and I value if others like me for who I am, instead of mending me in their ways.
When I left my city for a few years, I met new people and went cool with the world of extroverts. I enjoyed the temporary escape from introvert to learning the skills of an extrovert. But as that journey was approaching to its end, I was somehow turning back to my shell.
When I finally came home back, I witnessed a drastic personality change. I was still an introvert who just covered herself with the traits copied from the kind of people surrounding her. As time flew, my inclination towards self allowed me to understand my traits of an introvert more.
Well, the sad part is; neither have introverts been understood completely, nor have they attained the level of acceptance among others yet. The ‘you are an alien’ gaze is painful.
Here are some of the myths about introverts.
Myths about an Introvert
Introverts are often been misunderstood. They aren’t like what most people think of them.
Everyone assumes that introverts don’t like socializing. But the truth is we are selective. We choose to hang-out with only those with whom we share that kind of bond.
Also, in case if we meet a new person, we have probably done research. The same goes for dates. As we prefer dates that last for long hours involving deep conversation and exchange of genuine feelings. So we observe even tiny details about that person, before planning to meet him.
This doesn’t make us anti-social.
Introverts live alone
Introverts indeed love their ‘Alone Time’. But they do not believe in hibernating all the time.
I love to talk to people. And at times I do crave for having a random conversation on a phone call, sending some ‘How are you?’ texts to friends, catch a friend for chai or movie or just accompanying a friend for his work.
‘Me-time’ is a mandatory part of our lives, but confusing solitude with loneliness is what leads to myth.
Introverts speak less
This may not seem to be a myth. But in real, introverts can talk for hours.
I keep mum, especially when I am doing writing work. I prefer not to talk to anyone even in breaks. The reason is; I can’t allow a conversation to wipe off the connectivity of thoughts I am carrying.
However, sometimes in front of a few people, I turn my ‘Listen less, speak more’ mode on.
When I get well acquainted with new people, there is no stopping. We are certainly good listeners but we expect the same from others when we are speaking.
There is a mindset that prevails among people regarding others. We tend to believe the assumptions made by the majority.
We will not know a person until we genuinely put effort to understand him. It is like avoiding a fresh piece of furniture behind the pile of dust.
The same applies to the case of introverts. Our personalities have been made so obvious because of the assumptions, that the reality of an individual gets curtailed.
An introvert is considered to be a person who runs away from everyone just to be in his zone. That’s not true.
We don’t run away, neither do we live in fear. We are like others with a few different behaviors & peculiarities.
Shyness and being an introvert are two different things. I’ve been shy too. But not all introverts are shy. It’s just that they choose to be reserved. I am reserved and shy as well. I love to keep my life to myself and am shy to have a chitchat with strangers.
However, people consider ‘shy’ as a synonym for ‘introvert’.
As a kid, a friend of mine used to stay in her room whenever guests were around. Though she greeted them heartily and had a short conversation with them, before going to her room. This isn’t shyness.
Me, on the other hand, used to hesitate in talking to them. This is what shyness is.
An introvert may or may not be a shy person.
How is it like being an Introvert?
Remaining an introvert is challenging at times. Over-thinking subsumes us when we face troubles because of our nature. We speak less and think more, which leads to over-thinking. We even judge ourselves more than others do.
I’ve summarized below some plights of being an introvert.
When we are unwilling to accept ourselves, we make an effort to be like others. We solicit acceptance from others and when things don’t happen the desired way, we feel anxious.
We feel left out sometimes.
For instance, your friend introduces you to his group of friends. How hard that could be to just be a part of the group? It indeed is hard for someone like me.
Even if you try to match with them, you sometimes end up being the lone rigid person, who isn’t flexible enough to shape himself up like others.
Initiating a conversation
As I mentioned earlier, I love to make new friends. However, initiating a conversation is the tricky part. Even smiling at a stranger is a challenge sometimes. This behavior of mine has made people think I am arrogant.
Draining after socializing
Even if I’ve enjoyed a party, I’ll feel tired after coming back. So definitely we are not party haters but we feel drained out after meeting a bunch of people.
A packed day is hard to handle. If I’ve consecutively met people in a day or have done any work which has kept me outdoor, I’ll exhaust mentally.
‘Me-time’ is very essential for us.
Scary Group Discussions
Group discussions have always been distressing for me; whether formal or informal. The fear of remaining unheard prevents us from speaking up. One to one talk is rather more comfortable.
I hate clinging on to others. I prefer staying alone than seeming a gluey person. That’s why I most of the time avoid unnecessary conversations with people.
Saying ‘No’ is hard
Introverts are polite species. Hence, saying ‘no’ to a person in need is difficult. They may even sometimes put others before themselves keeping aside their peace of mind. This undoubtedly becomes frustrating.
Facts about Introverts
- Good observers. Whenever I go to places, I hardly talk to people. But I do observe their behaviors and try to figure out how a person is like.
- An introvert would not initiate a conversation unless he is fully convinced that you are going to reciprocate equally.
- Random tests. “A friend in need is a friend indeed”. An introvert keeps putting you on tests without even letting you know. To make a true friend he tests that person in all possible ways he could.
- Welcomes a person warmly who approaches him and truly appreciates the same. So if you are interested in an introvert, do not hesitate to make the first move. Because even if he isn’t interested in you, he won’t be rude to you.
- An introvert is more likely to befriend another introvert. He can easily find his tribe in a crowd.
- Prefer one-to-one conversation, rather than having a group conversation.
- Personal space invasion is not appreciated.
Accepting it the way it is
I’ve been an introvert all my life and that is what sometimes becomes unbearable. The shyness and the fear of facing people is a real pain. I’ve tried a million times to fight my shyness but failed to disorient from the kind of nature I hold.
It’s really difficult for me to go and dance with a group of people I am barely friends with or to ask for a favor from those I hardly know.
I once joined a class without my friends and ended up sitting alone. I joined a music class with the motive of meeting new people but left the class as I couldn’t make friends there too.
Another incidence where I registered myself for a dance workshop recently had a similar outcome. I joined the class to overcome shyness and hesitation but failed again.
What I realized ultimately was; I can’t run away from who I am. I certainly was unable to fulfill my motive in the above cases, but the courage to go to a random place, amidst strangers is a big deal.
I pushed myself from my attributes just to fit in. Nevertheless, I could have used the same attributes as my strength.
It isn’t a habit which you could change; it’s in the core.
We see the charm in others, while we forget the charismatic introvert hidden behind the ‘pretending to be extrovert’ person. I pretended to be someone loved and acknowledged by others.
Our introvert nature can be used as elegantly as we want. The more you are comfortable in being you, the more effortless things will become. Like, in my case, the more I fall in love with myself, the easier it will be to get rid-off of my hesitation.
The fact remains that in whichever category you fall; introvert, extrovert or ambivert, you need to embrace and love yourself.
“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Well if you are an introvert too, do not forget to share your story and experiences with me. Also, if this post is relatable, let me know in the comment section below.