When you hear the word “introvert”, what is the first thing that you think of: a boy standing alone against the wall during a party, or a girl sitting alone on the bus reading a book? While it can be said that both are true, that is not always the case. An introvert is simply, “a person characterized by concern primarily with his or her own thoughts and feelings." Because of the shy, wallflower-esque stereotype placed upon introverts, many see introversion as a flaw. However, this is far from the truth.

Despite the stereotype, many introverts are not extremely shy or afraid of talking to people around them. Many introverts can actually be quite comfortable while talking to classmates, participating in class, or performing (acting on stage, presenting a project, etc). The main difference between introverts and extroverts is that while extroverts become energized by social interactions, introverts become drained. Extroverts “recharge” by spending time around people, while introverts “recharge” by spending time alone.

In order to get the full picture, you need to know the four types of introversion: Social, Anxious, Thinking, and Restrained. Social introverts are the closest to the “wallflower” personality; prefer smaller groups or no group at all, prefer spending time completely alone. This desire for solitude is not caused by any anxiety or shyness, but by a general enjoyment from spending time in solitude. Thinking introverts act very introspective, thoughtful, as well as self-reflective. They do not, however, have the same aversion to social gatherings commonly associated with introversion. Anxious introverts spend time alone to escape feeling awkward and self-conscious around other people and are often times do not have confident social skills. Their anxiety does not go away, however, when they’re alone, anxious introverts have a tendency to think about “what they could have done, or what they have done wrong." Lastly, restrained introverts are slow to get going. They prefer to think before they act or speak and commonly operate slowly (they can’t just wake up and spring into action).

Often times, being extroverted is seen as normal because they are the loudest, most outgoing people in a room, leaving introverts in the background. Clearly, there are different forms and variations of introversion, and not all introverts should be placed in the same category. Despite the way introversion is often portrayed in the media and the stigma surrounding being an introvert, introversion is not a personality flaw or something that needs to be fixed by forcing an introvert into a social situation that will only make them close themselves off even more. Being introverted is simply a different way of thinking and acting, something to be embraced and proud of.