Introverts can be difficult to know – because we often require a little more work that the average bear. We take time to build real relationships, because having genuine interactions with those we spend our time with is important, and we don’t care for small talk. Because of our Fort Knox-like nature, there’s a lot of misconceptions and misinformation about what we’re really like – and even this post won’t do all introverts justice. We are infinite.
However, if you’re going to try to get to know us, get to know the real us. That’s important to an introvert. With that in mind, here’s 15 misconceptions that we need to clear up right now. We’re not who you think we are. We’re even better.
1. Not all introverts seem like introverts.
It can be difficult to spot us, and it’s not as easy as playing “Where’s Waldo?” because we don’t all wear red and white stripes and congregate in medieval fairs, waiting for you to notice us.
2. We don’t hate people.
We really like people, sometimes, especially if those people have ice cream or a cable subscription. People just exhaust us, which means we need time away from them. If you love us, you will respect our need for alone time, the recharge time that lets us love you and not kill you.
3. We don’t like books more than we like people – although we kind of do.
We recognize that people are just as important as our intellectual pursuits, but that doesn’t mean you sould give us a hard time about staying at home on a Friday night to read. Books are our friends, too, and we just want all of our friends to get along with each other.
4. We like going to parties.
We really do. We just prefer it if we know people at that party or have someone to talk with the whole night. All that random social interaction might make us nervous or anxious, and we need an anchor to hold us. Take us out, but don’t forget who you came with. Also, we prefer if that party is two people or four people. Who needs more than four friends? Who has time for that?
5. Being alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely.
Introverts need down time to reflect and process our thoughts, because our internal lives are very important to us. When we’re constantly surrounded by noise and chatter, it can be hard to take personal inventory. We need to be with our own thoughts sometimes – or we just feel scattered.
6. Not all introverts are quiet.
We often get pegged as strong, silent types – or pensive, Boo Radley-esque loners – but introverts can be some of the biggest chatterboxes I know. We don’t not want to talk to you, but we need to do that on our own terms. We want to feel that we can trust you, and that the words we share with you aren’t wasted. The relationships we do have with others are very important, and something as seemingly mundane as idle chatter matters to us.
7. Introverts need you to listen, too.
We get pegged as the type of people you can really open up to and share yourself with – because we’re good at listening and observing. Years of being so trapped in your own head teaches you to pay attention to the world around you, specifically the little details others might not notice. However, we need someone there for us, too, to listen and give us the same space to open up. It might be harder for us, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want it. We want you to get to know us. We need a little help with that.
8. We need attention.
We don’t crave it, and too much attention makes us nervous. It’s like everyone is staring at us and we have no clothes on. But for the people who mean something to us, we need to know you’re paying attention and you care or it just makes us feel invisible. And we feel invisible most of the time already.
9. Introverts aren’t boring.
We get pegged for the types that go to bed at 9:00 in the evening and stay home on a Friday night. Okay, so that’s true sometimes. Who doesn’t love sleep? But all that introspection gives us a mischievous and adventurous streak, a wild side others might not see right away.
10. We aren’t constantly judging you.
Have you heard of “Resting Bitch Face?” Introverts commonly have an issue of looking like they are judging the world around them – because they aren’t always saying what’s on their mind. However, what we’re holding back isn’t always negative. It might be sometimes, if you say you’re a Nickelback fan, but it might be that we really like you and we’re just too shy to say it. Never assume you know what’s going on in our heads’ – because it’s never what you think.
11. If we don’t text back right away, we don’t hate you.
All of that reflecting and thinking takes time, and constantly being on our phone might wear us out. It feels just like chatting all the time – and we need to get away. We might shut off our phones or wait until we have the energy or we’re done with that we’re doing. Don’t take it personally, unless you haven’t heard from us for days. That’s not introversion. That’s a dick move.
12. We need to get outside.
Introverts have a bad habit of becoming homebodies – because we love our apartments. It’s where the food lives. But being cooped up gives us that extra compulsion to get out and go for a walk or get dinner with you. Healthy introversion is about balance and we need that in our lives.
13. We need our space – not just to get away from you but because space is important.
We need the spaces around us to be organized and arranged or at least in a state of chaos with which we are comfortable. Staying at home to clean our room isn’t just avoiding people. It’s making sure that our environment is safe and nurturing for us. We don’t thrive everywhere, and our ecosystem needs to give us light and let us grow.
14. Just because something isn’t easy for us doesn’t mean we still won’t do it.
A great number of things give me anxiety – from paying my bills to meeting new people and (God forbid) public speaking. But introverts can be pragmatic, because if we only did the things we like, we might not do much. Just be there to support us when we step outside of our comfort zones, and we’ll be fine. We’re used to this.
15. Introvert isn’t a dirty word.
When I was first labeled as an introvert, I was shocked – because it wasn’t how I saw myself. I’m so outgoing and friendly, I thought. Introverts are the curmudgeons that hate everyone. But introverts are just as varied and intricate as their extrovert counterparts, and even harder to pin down. We don’t always make sense to other people, and sometimes we don’t make sense to ourselves. We might not ever recognize that we’re introverts, but there’s nothing dirty about it. It’s just who we are, finicky and a little elusive, and we like it. We were born this way.