Most introverts struggle with feeling misunderstood. Others misinterpret our quietness as a sign that we’re snobby, sad, angry, or boring. They may also underestimate our intelligence.
It’s not your fault
When you’re an introvert who thinks and feels deeply, you’re an anomaly to people who accept the status quo. These people refuse to see you as a multidimensional person.
They label you as the quiet one, the shy one, the reserved one. You’re not allowed to have any traits that contradict their narrow view of who they think you should be.
I know the pain of feeling misunderstood all too well. Being misunderstood because of my introversion used to make me feel guilty. I thought there was something wrong with me that I needed to fix ASAP.
Nowadays, people are much more accepting of the fact that I’m an introvert. But they’re still confused by my seemingly conflicting personality traits. How can I be an introvert and a performer? How can I be social and also need lots of space?
The truth is that most introverts are a beautiful blend of contradictions. We can be quiet and serious one moment, and silly and sassy the next. We might have gifts that put us in the spotlight, but also relish putting on our invisibility cloak.
Regardless of the reasons that you’re misunderstood, it still hurts. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Here are three ways to deal with being misunderstood as an introvert:
See the positive side of being misunderstood
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “To be great is to be misunderstood.” When you live and think outside the box, it’s impossible to fit in with the masses. And that’s a good thing.
You’re not here to live someone else’s life. You’re here to stay true to your unique gifts and passions. If you confuse the sleepwalkers, you’re doing something right.
Do it anyway and don’t apologize
“I have nothing to explain. As for being misunderstood, I have grown accustomed to that.” —Fan Bingbing
Whatever your strange passions or quirky characteristics, embrace them whole-heartedly. When you stop apologizing for who you are, people start treating you differently.
They may not understand you, but they will respect you. Your bold authenticity will also help your ideal friends find you. Which brings me to my next point…
Find the right people
We all have an innate need to feel seen and accepted. If you constantly feel misunderstood by those around you, you probably haven’t found the right friends yet.
There are people out there who will accept you just as you are. You can find them by setting an intention to open yourself up to connection in just one small way.
Making real friends doesn’t have to be complicated. Choose the lowest hanging fruit by reaching out to someone you already know and like, but haven’t hung out with in a while.
You can also revisit a social hobby or passion that you’ve pushed aside. Or simply be more open in conversation about your hidden gifts and interests.
I wrote a 50-page guide on how to make friends as an introvert. Go here to get the Introvert Connection Guide for free.
Above all, remember that there’s nothing wrong with you if you feel misunderstood. Seek to understand yourself first, and then unapologetically share what you find with the world.
In other words, you do you, boo.
Toodles for now.