I recently had my coworkers take the 16personalities.com personality test. One of the more popular variations on the Myers-Briggs type indicator. As it turns out, we’re an office full of introverts. (Which works out okay, as there are only 4 of us.) I am an INTP – Introverted-Intuitive-Thinking-Prospecting. The types are fairly accurate in my opinion, but I find there are many misconceptions about Introverts. So I’m setting the record straight.
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1. Introverts Are Socially Awkward
While some of us may be shy and clam up around others, many introverts do just fine in social situations. When meeting new people, I have no trouble starting conversations and getting to know people. I don’t however, enjoy this. Social interactions with others are taxing and sometimes frustrating. This is not a trait I often show, and I am sometimes mistaken for an extrovert.
2. Introverts are shy
This is one of the biggest misconceptions about introverts. Being an Introvert does not mean that you are shy, or uncomfortable around new people. It is certainly a factor for some, but this is not a requirement for introversion. I can easily make new friends or chat with a stranger in a coffee shop. I have no apprehensions about interacting with new faces, and I am usually not the quiet type.
3. Introverts Dislike Other People
Okay, truth bomb time, I fit this bill. I possess a pretty large disdain for most other people. Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends and family, but they’re a small group. My disdain for society reaches far and wide. Fortunately, I am more of an exception than a rule. Most introverts I know like other people just fine and enjoy their company. There is however a limit of interaction before most introverts are drained and need time to recharge.
4. Introverts are Quiet
When an interesting subject comes up I will talk your ear off. Being quiet and withdrawn is another one of the misconceptions about introverts. When an introvert is in the right mood or setting, they are apt to be insightful conversationalists.
5. Introverts are overly Emotional or Sensitive
Emotion doesn’t factor into being an introvert vs an extrovert. Sometimes we just need time to regain our energy. If your introvert friend isn’t taking your calls (or cancels plans) it’s likely because they have been overstimulated. This does not mean they are mad, sad, or otherwise perturbed.
6. Introverts are Depressed
Introverts may be reclusive at times, but this is not due to their mental health (if anything, it improves their mental stability). Depression is a serious mental health disorder. It can occur in extroverts or introverts, and it is not caused by your personality traits. It’s important to learn the signs and symptoms of depression, and seek help if you or your loved ones are suffering. It is also important to know that not everyone who steers clear of social interactions is depressed.
7. Introverts can become Extroverts
Personality traits cannot be turned on and off with a switch. Introverts may be able to learn more social graces, and some may get more comfortable in larger groups at times. This does not mean they have become an extrovert. Social interactions will still be draining, and at some point, they will still need time to recharge.
Are you an introvert or an extravert? Do you know your MBTI? Is there anything here you disagree with or think I may have missed? Leave a comment and let me know!