(Yet Another) Top Ten Myths About Introverts

The overlap in the way both the social and physical worlds are experienced by autistics and introverts is one I continue to find fascinating.  The question of whether the two conditions ought to be equated is not so interesting to me at this point as is what that overlap says about the society that creates the physical and social environments that aggravate, exacerbate, and penalize them.  Surely when the myths and misunderstandings regarding two conditions have so much in common, this says at least as much about the society that defines and in effect constructs those conditions as it does about the conditions themselves.

Here, via design blogger Jerry Brito, from author, auteur, and creative Swiss Army knife Carl King (MY NAME IS CARL KING, AND I LIKE ROBOTS) is yet another Top Ten Myths About Introverts:

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true.  Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say.  They hate small talk.  Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert.  Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people.  What they need is a reason to interact.  They don’t interact for the sake of interacting.  If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking.  Don’t worry about being polite.

Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries.   They want everyone to just be real and honest.  Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.

Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have.  They can count their close friends on one hand.  If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life.  Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.

Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense.  Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG.  They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities.  They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.”  They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all.  In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.

Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts.  They think a lot.  They daydream.  They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve.  But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with.  They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.

Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists.  They don’t follow the crowd.  They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living.  They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm.  They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.

Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions.  It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.

Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places.  Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies.  If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down.  Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine.  Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways.  Just look it up.

Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race.  In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.

Click through here for King’s comments introducing his list.  He follows up with this conclusion:

It can be terribly destructive for an Introvert to deny themselves in order to get along in an Extrovert-Dominant World.  Like other minorities, Introverts can end up hating themselves and others because of the differences.  If you think you are an Introvert, I recommend you research the topic and seek out other Introverts to compare notes.  The burden is not entirely on Introverts to try and become “normal.”  Extroverts need to recognize and respect us, and we also need to respect ourselves.

[image via Flickr/Creative Commons]

related:  10 Myths About Autism

related:  Dispelling Ten Myths About Introverts

related:  Kingdom of Introversion:  The World according to the ‘introvert’ and the ‘nerd’

related:  Covert Ops in Autistic Self-Advocacy

on 07/12/11 in featured, Society | No Comments | Read More

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