introvert myths

One of the most frustrating introvert problems we innies face is the constant struggle against unflattering introvert myths and stereotypes.  Many people still believe that all introverts are shy, anti-social, socially inept and even unattractive.

Inferior personality type?

They assume that introverts are an inferior personality type.  Often when I tell people I have a website for introverts, they ask if I help introverts to become more extroverted – as if being introverted is some kind of disease that needs to be cured.  Well, of course it is not.

But sometimes it feels like we’ll never be able to fully overcome all the introvert myths.

The truth is, the more self-assured and confident we become with our true introverted selves, the more people will crinkle their brows at us and refuse to believe we are introverted.

Why they don’t believe you

This happens to me all the time.  Whenever I meet someone new and tell them I am an introvert, about 90% of the time they say something like, “but you can’t be an introvert, you’re so friendly”.  And then I tell them (with as much patience and kindness as I can muster) that they probably have the wrong idea of what an introvert actually is.  I say that there are a lot of misconceptions about introversion and that the real definition of an introvert is someone who is drained by overly stimulating environments and social interactions.

A glimmer of hope

The wonderful, glorious, encouraging thing is that most of the time, they are genuinely interested in learning this information.  I can see the flicker of understanding in their eyes.  I can tell that they aren’t ignorant or mean-spirited.  They have simply been misinformed for a very long time.

So, there is hope!

I’ve found that the best way to overcome people’s negative perceptions about introversion is to set the record straight in the most clear concise way possible.  And to do it with confidence.

I used to feel embarrassed to tell people that I had a website about introversion.  I worried that they would think I was weird, and anti-social.  I felt awkward and uncomfortable.  Ashamed.

Now I am embarrassed to admit this to you because being an introvert is nothing to be ashamed of.  To be honest, the moment I started wearing my introversion proudly, I realized that people weren’t judging me.  Most decent human beings out there (and I am certain that most human being are decent) want to know the truth about things that matter.  They don’t want to carry on living in ignorance.  They simply need someone to gently tell them that what they’ve been told are lies.

An encouraging story

Yesterday, after the dust had settled from the madness of my free webcast, I decided to take the afternoon off and have an inhale afternoon.  I rode my bike along the ocean and then found a patch of grass where I could read, daydream and do my daily affirmations.

A man sitting nearby engaged me in conversation.  He said whatever I was thinking about, I looked really happy.  When I told him about my website he said, “but you’re not an introvert are you? You don’t seem like an introvert.” At which point I launched into my well-oiled response explaining the true definition of an introvert.  His eyes lit up with understanding.  “I really admire introverts, he said.  I wish I could be okay with being alone more.  I’ve been working on that for the past 15 years.”

One small step for introverts, one giant leap for all mankind.  😉

Have you encountered many introvert myths?

Have you ever tried to avoid telling people you’re an introvert for the same reasons I mentioned? 

Please do share your comments below.

michalea chung