What is an introvert?
If you Google “define: introvert”, the first result reads:
a shy, reticent person.
I don’t like this definition; it’s simply not accurate.
Surprisingly, I actually prefer this Urban Dictionary definition of an introvert:
An introvert prefers to spend time alone in order to recharge their inner being. An introvert may appear to be shy to others, but that is not necessarily an accurate label.
But, of course, definitions like this tend to get lost in the Google results, in favour of the “shy, reticent” stereotype.
As such, there are many persistent myths about introverts, three of which I’d like to clear up today.
1. We don’t like being around people
The most common misconception about introverts is that we simply don’t like being around people. This is false. Introverts can enjoy socialising as much as extroverts do. The only difference is that unlike extroverts – who absorb energy by being around others – it depletes our energy, meaning we then need time alone to recharge.
2. We don’t want to be invited
Similar to the first point, just because we like to spend time alone, doesn’t mean that we don’t appreciate being invited to socialise. For one thing, we might say yes! But also, even if we politely decline, it’s always nice to know that someone thought to invite you.
3. We are all socially awkward
Okay, so I am an introvert, and I am socially awkward. But this is not the case across the board. There are many confident, self-assured introverts out there, who have no problem interacting with others. The term introvert is not synonymous with being a shy, reclusive, shrinking violet.
So, now we know a bit more about introverts, how can we support and include our introverted friends?
1. Invite us
Give us the option to join in! Like I said before, even if we ultimately choose not to, it’s nice to be included in the invitation.
2. Suggest shorter activities
Instead of always suggesting day-long outings or events that go on for hours, suggest catching up in a coffee shop for an hour, or going for a short walk. Also, if we have accepted an invitation to a lengthy event, such as a party, don’t pressure us to stay if we want to leave early. It will dissuade us from coming at all in the future.
3. Give us notice
Introverts often need time to build up the energy to prepare for socialising. Try not to spring things on us at the last minute. We are more likely to say yes if we have time to prepare.
Are you an introvert? What myths would you like to see busted? How can your extroverted friends support you? Let me know in the comments.