Misconceptions About Introverts

Being an introvert means being someone who recharges through solitude & who prefers it to the company of large groups of people.  It’s really that simple, yet in spite of that, introverts are often a very misunderstood bunch.

Being an introvert myself, I have plenty of experience in this area.  One example that comes to mind is how extroverts who haven’t bothered to get to know me have mistakenly thought I believe that I’m a snob who thinks I’m much better than them simply because I’m quiet & reserved when around most people.  Another misconception is people assume all introverts are weird.  The majority of people who assume this do so simply because we don’t divulge a lot of information about ourselves to those who aren’t very close to us, so they fill in the blanks with what they think.

Those misconceptions can be annoying, but after being subjected to them my whole life, I’ve come to accept people think that way.  It no longer upsets me like it once did.  There is one misconception that still bothers me to no avail & I can’t seem to change my feelings on it however.  That is that introverts need to do the majority of the work in relationships, & when they fail to meet the other person’s expectations, they are criticized harshly for it.  I don’t see this as a common misconception for all introverts, but I have noticed it happens mostly with those who have suffered narcissistic abuse.

Those of us who have suffered at the hands of a narcissist were made to feel responsible for that relationship.  We were to please that person at all times, be there for them & basically be & do anything that person wanted.  Even after the relationship has ended, sometimes long after, we tend to be people pleasers.  People pleasers are naturally the ones who are given the task of maintaining relationships in their lives. 

While this often happens naturally, that doesn’t mean the behavior is right.  It isn’t. 

Relationships should be full of love, care for & compassion for each other.  It’s not fair to expect a person to treat you that way if you aren’t willing to treat them the same way. Being the one responsible for calling the other person, planning activities together & everything else in the relationship is exhausting.  Those things should be shared among both people in a relationship, not only one person’s responsibility! 

If you know an introvert who hasn’t contacted you in a while, it might be time to consider your behavior with that person.  Are you expecting them to do most or all of the work in the relationship?  If so, it’s time to apologize to this person & make some changes!  If not, then rather than get angry with the introvert for pulling away, think about that person.  There are a plethora of reasons an introvert may pull away in relationships, & the reasons aren’t always personal.

Sometimes, introverts get overwhelmed with life & need space from everyone.  It doesn’t mean they’re angry or hurt.  They just need some space to recharge.

Sometimes, introverts just don’t think about reaching out.  Again, it’s not personal.  It may mean they have a lot on their minds, are working extra hours, have someone else in their life in need of their attention more than you, they might simply be tired or sick or for some reason reaching out simply hasn’t crossed their mind.  I am this way & got worse after a brain injury.  I don’t think about calling friends all that often.  It doesn’t mean I don’t care.  Far from it!  I do care, & think of them often.  My brain just doesn’t seem to make the connection between good thoughts of them & picking up the phone for some reason. 

If you’re an introvert & in the position of being treated as if you are responsible for the relationships in your life, know that you are NOT solely responsible for those relationships.  You have every right to set boundaries & to expect people to treat you with respect, love & compassion.  If they can’t, then you also have the right to remove such people from your life.  It won’t make you a bad person.  It’ll make you a person with healthy self respect!

19 Comments

Filed under Mental Health, Personality (including introversion, Myers Briggs, etc.)

19 responses to “Misconceptions About Introverts

  1. Cynthia, good post. Introverts just prefer to interact and get/ share information in a different way than extroverts. There is a great book by Susan Cain called “Quiet – the Power of Introverts in a World that won’t stop Talking.” It is an excellent read. You should take solace in many CEOs are more introverted than extroverted. The companies need folks who take the time to understand the businesses underneath them. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you!

      Exactly. We’re just different. Different doesn’t mean wrong or broken. I shared an introvert post on Facebook several years ago since probably 99% of my friends are also introverts. One of my aunts told me how to “fix this problem” & I should socialize more. I think her mindset was pretty popular- lots of people think that about introverts. (on a funny note, a good friend of mine who’s also an introvert jumped to my defense & told her off..LOL)

      I’ve heard of that book! It sounds really good! I should read it one of these days. Thanks for reminding me!

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      • Cynthia, your aunt should be informed that there is nothing to fix. Per Cain’s book, she notes the misconception that introverts had a problem was more widespread. The goal was to train them out of introversion. That was misguided thinking. Keith

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        • My friend did inform my aunt of that. I was planning to but she saved me the trouble! Reminds me of that cute saying, “Introverts unite! Separately. In our own homes” lol

          I believe it. It seems to me lots of people assume introverts are broken & need fixing

          Liked by 1 person

          • kavyag

            Two introverts together makes those two extroverts.

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            • It can appear that way if the introverts in question are very close. My best friend is almost as introverted as me, but when we’re together, we both talk up a storm & laugh a lot.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Cynthia, it is more effective when someone else comes to your defense. That is a good friend. One of the comments in the book I mentioned is some introverts can choose to be extroverted when needed. I recall an introverted professor had to become more extroverted when he taught or gave speeches.

                On the Myers Briggs group exercises, where people are lined up based on degree of weighting on the four classifications, I would tend to be in the middle of the room. It meant I had elements of both. So, I don’t think people are necessarily cut and dried one way or the others.

                Keith

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                • It sure is more effective, Keith! In particular with my family & in-laws since they have no respect for me. Interestingly, shortly after the incident with my aunt, one of my cousins shared the same post I did.. my aunt praised her & said there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert & even claimed to be one too.

                  That is true. Being an introvert doesn’t mean hiding from interaction 100% of the time & that professor is a prime example of it.

                  There are a lot of people like you. Introversion & extroversion are on a spectrum. One cousin I’m close to took the MBTI & I was positive he’d be an extrovert. Nope- introvert but his preference for introversion was very slight, 22% (mine is 90%.) There’s a term for people who are more like my cousin who are more middle of the road. Ambivert I believe is that term.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Cynthia, thanks. I am sorry you had and have to still go through the lack of respect. Narcissists are adroit at deflection and convincing relatives that the victim of his abuse is the problem not them. We have an acquaintance whose ex-husband has painted her in a way, that her own kids have turned against her. Her husband comes from a wealthy family, so he used his money and influence against her. Keith

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                    • Thank you. That lack of respect made it easy to cut off my toxic family at least.

                      You got that right (about narcissists). They’re never the problem. It’s always the victim.

                      That poor woman. Awful her ex did that to her! Not a nice place to be at all, but I’d think a thousand times worse when your own children are against you.

                      Liked by 1 person

  2. kavyag

    Those who think that you are snob are themselves snobs. It is plainly psychological projection. There is nothing open minded about these extroverts I find them narcissistic by default. They are insensitive and gaslight us by making us feel like we are broken and we need fixing.

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  3. My last partner accused me of agraphobia.. he just did not get how HSPs and introverts can absorb so much and like you said recharge through quiet.. I hope in time they teach this in schools, that it is just a way of being with gifts and that there should be more understanding shown to those who need this kind of way of living in order to be fully themselves… Great post.

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