Don’t like people? Introvert. Prefer to stay home reading a book rather than going to a party? Introvert. Love to stay alone and hate loud crowds? Introvert. When we think of a person being an introvert, we often associate the above-mentioned characteristics with them.
We mistakenly believe that the difference between extroverted and introverted people is like reserved versus sociable. Such loose understanding of introversion makes us blindly attach a stigma to people who are, in fact, warm, creative and sincere.
I was making the same mistake without giving it much thought until I happened to spend a couple of years living under one roof with an introvert. But before I start busting common myths about who we usually call wallflowers, let’s learn who an introvert actually is.
As the theory goes, introversion is a complex phenomenon that includes a rich gamut of personality traits which, back in the past, were often considered to be negative ones. Today, with much investigation of human mind extroverted qualities are no longer thought of as purely negative ones. Besides being shy, reserved or even rude, introverts are often thoughtful, outspoken and creative.
But 5 years ago when I was a freshman I had no idea about who introverts really were. Truth be told, I even didn’t care about it at all, until I was settled next to a true introvert, as I thought then. Ellen was two years older than me. When I first entered my dorm room carrying bags twice heavier than I was, she met me with her poker-face. Apparently, she wasn’t expecting anyone. I wasn’t happy with my neighbor either. But I was confident that finding common ground would get easier in time.
So it did, though at first, Ellen seemed to me a solitary always crammed with books. But the more time I was spending with her I was discovering that being an introvert doesn’t necessarily mean being weird or shy. Here are ten myths I debunked when living with an introvert.
1. Introverts are solitaries
Though introverts enjoy spending time alone, they will gladly go to the movie or concert with a few but time-proven friends. Ellen told me that being around people for a long time drives her crazy. She feels drained and needs to restore her energy. That’s why she prefers quiet places where she can read a book or watch her favorite TV series.
Read also – 5 Precious Lessons to Learn from True Introverts
2. Introverts are irritated by other people
Quite on the contrary. Introverts need communication and love. They just want to get to know people closer before becoming friends with them. It usually takes much more time than for an extrovert. Introverts usually have a few but time-proved friends.
I remember how Ellen called her best friend every evening. They talked much, and it made me feel confused. What could they be discussing for such a long time almost every day? Undoubtedly, such people have difficulties making friends, but once they let someone in, they become friends for a lifetime.
3. Introverts are self-centered
It may seem so, but when you get to know one of these people closer you understand that they tend to be overly concerned about different things. They like analyzing life situations which extroverts usually give no thought to.
Whenever some problem occurs, they look for the answer in their inner world. The thing that I admired about Ellen is that she never gave up on an issue if she couldn’t find a solution to it. She would spend hours meditating over the problem until she came up with the answer.
4. Introverts are ‘out of this world’
Introverts are different. Not to say that they are weird or freaky. They simply differ from the crowd in the way they dress, perceive the world or solve problems. For example, Ellen always had her viewpoint. Her thinking never coincided with popular opinions.
But she never insisted on taking her ground when we were discussing something. She just expressed her thoughts that often challenged popular opinions.
5. Introverts are too reserved to pay attention to other people
Though introverts are reserved and don’t talk much, it doesn’t mean they are alienated and pay no attention to what is happening around. Once I came down with the flu. I was feeling awful and couldn’t even get up. Ellen set me on my legs.
She did everything a caring mom would normally do for her child. Though she was crammed with college tasks, she cooked me chicken soup, went to the drugstore and called me every hour to find out how I was doing. Introverts are sympathetic and very caring when it goes about people they’ve let in their life.
6. Introverts can’t stand when someone is complaining
And who can? But introverts won’t interrupt you. They will patiently listen to all your grumbling and give a sound piece of advice. But don’t expect them to be emotional about your talk. They prefer listening closely and analyzing your words to give their unique solution to the problem.
7. Introverts are bad team players
They don’t like crowds, but when it comes to teamwork, they are irreplaceable players. But there should be 3 or 4 members in the team for an introvert to participate actively. Otherwise, it will take much time for them to get to know everybody.
8. Introverts are inattentive
It is strange how absolutely different qualities coexist within one personality. Introverts like daydreaming yet they are extremely attentive to details and remember everything. Ellen could memorize every tiny thing that most people would overlook. She remembers phone numbers, birthdays and other big and small events.
9. Introverts need to be alone to recharge their life energy
At times we all need to be alone to restore our life balance. One month after we met, Ellen knew when my birthday was and could dial my phone number from memory. How did she do it?
10. Introverts are just introverts
After I spent two years living side by side with Ellen, I changed my mind about introverts. First, I learned what sort of people they were, and then I changed my attitude towards them.
I have come to realize that introverts aren’t a stigma. They are normal people who like being alone more than others. They are creative and delightful people to chat with. We are still friends with Ellen who calls me every week and sends me her congrats on every special occasion.