Education / Health / Local

Four things people get wrong about introverts

by Raeza Hoover

Ever have that moment when you don’t want to be bothered?

Nothing’s particularly wrong, just the thought of being alone sounds amazing. It’s ok, it happens to everyone. It’s human nature to want privacy and alone time, then resume back to your regularly scheduled life. The thing is…there are people that thrive off being alone. They’re known as introverts.

An introvert is defined as one whose attention and interests are directed toward one’s own thoughts, or a shy person according to Merriam-Webster.  While all of these qualities can describe an introvert, the definition is only surface level. Here are four things people errantly assume about introverts.

They’re shy. There’s a difference between staying to yourself and being timid. A person preferring solitude doesn’t make him or her nervous, repressed or self-conscious. With introverts spending a lot of time to themselves, it’s actually the opposite. Introverts tend to be more self-aware, observant and better listeners. There are hosts of ideas boiling underneath the surface, waiting to be thrown into conversation. It just takes time for introverts to open up from processing everything around them.

They’re lonely. Introverts gain energy from being alone. It’s their happy place, their place of peace. Don’t push social interaction on them because they seem “lonely.” Age doesn’t play a factor in introversion; leave them alone. It is quite possible for a 20-something-year old to not party, hit the bar or be under friends 24/7. There’s a certain level of irritability an introvert gets from not having that alone time.  Respect their space.

They’re antisocial.  Just because an introvert prefers to be alone, doesn’t mean he or she will not socialize. They’re still human, and need friends and social interaction to function. The difference is introverts require more alone time. A person that chooses not to interact because it’s draining emotionally and mentally shouldn’t be labeled an outcast.

They don’t know how to function in groups. Introversion means a person gains his or her energy from being alone, not by living the life of a hermit. Group settings can be stressful in general. There’s a safety factor to consider, obviously, so many things can go wrong when a bunch of people come together.  Introverts are just masters of standing alone in a crowd. Silence is comforting for them, so they stand back and leave the conversation to everyone else while listening diligently. An introvert takes the time to process everything that was said before formulating an opinion. They think before they speak.

In short, introverts are not shy, lonely, antisocial or dysfunctional; they simply pay closer attention, process information more carefully, and think before reacting. And those traits are valuable in any situation, especially groups.