A lot of people throw around the terms introvert and extrovert without realizing that there is a greater dynamic to a person than simply being introverted or extroverted. An introvert does not necessarily mean someone who does not like being around people or meeting new people, whereas an extrovert likes having lots of friends. This is not so cut and dry. Take it from someone who is extremely introverted. Here are some common misconceptions about introverts along with what is reality.
Misconception: Introverts only have a few friends and do not like meeting new people
Reality: Growing up, I have always had multiple groups of friends. I made an effort to get to know people in my class, on my sports teams, in my band, and at my youth group. Whenever I notice someone I have not met, I try to at least get to know who they are and have conversations with them when I see them. I do this more than a lot of extroverts that I know because I truly do enjoy people. I have no problem introducing myself to new people and making friendships with all different personalities. Yet, this exhausts me and my "me" time is imperative. I rarely ever have friends over to my house because I make my house a place of solitude. I enjoy going out to hang out and get involved in clubs but I eventually have to return to my house to have some peace after a long day. Sleepovers were never my thing. The idea of having to be with another person all night meant no time alone.
Misconception: Introverts always want to be alone.
Reality: Yes, alone time is necessary but I don't like going more than a day without being with people. Personal time is important because it drains my energy to be with people. I love socializing, but I find it difficult to relax when I am around people at all times. I am at my calmest when I can reflect and be in my own thoughts without distractions. Extroverts feed off the energy of others and desire to be around other people to gain stability and energy but I need to be alone to refocus and gain the energy I need. Therefore, my socializing time and personal time are split and do not mesh. There is still a lot of social time but it is separate. This is why I find it impossible to hold a snapchat streak because I just do not remember to reply while I'm in my independent mojo.
Misconception: Introverts do not like going to big social events but would rather hang out with friends at their house or watch tv.
Reality: I do not prefer to be with my friends to do simple things such as sitting around watching tv. I prefer to set aside time to go out and do something fun with them or go to a big event. I also feel that when I am with someone we should be talking and catching up the whole time. I find it necessary and fun to find time to do the simple things all alone. This includes walking or driving places to run errands, making a meal at home, or getting wrapped up in an independent project such as artwork or writing at home.
Misconception: It is easier for introverts to focus than extroverts
Reality: It is very easy for me to focus but I have to be completely alone. I find it difficult to multi-task and think around other people. This is because I use a great portion of my energy to focus on other people outside of my own bubble of thoughts. If I'm walking with friends I find myself going the wrong direction because I'm not thinking about where I'm going but only about keeping up a conversation. If I run errands with friends I can not focus on my mental checklist or what exactly I want to do because all my energy is on interacting with them.
Misconception: Introverts can not express themselves as easily or do not talk about their feelings.
Reality: I do not hold anything back. If I am with one or two people I will tell them everything on my mind and I rarely keep secrets about myself or what I am dealing with. I have difficulty expressing myself in bigger groups. However, I am not assertive and I think about what I would like to say over and over in my head before I actually say it.
Misconception: Introverts do not like leadership roles or being in the spotlight.
Reality: While this may be true for some, I loved it! I always got involved in leadership opportunities such as giving lessons and presentations at the Christian summer camp that I worked at when I was only 15. I enjoy coming up with creative class project presentations. I was a section leader in my marching band which included holding summer lessons at my house and teaching/conducting music during the school week. Also, many famous leaders in history have been introverts including Rosa Parks, Abraham Lincoln, and Mahatma Gandhi.
Every person is unique. I am not trying to say that all introverts are the same as me because obviously there are varying degrees and personality types. However, I hope this gives you a glimpse into what it is like to be an introvert and why some feel misunderstood!