Top 5 Myths About Introverts

Written by Michael Wynands Sometimes… it’s what’s on the inside that really counts. Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Myths. In today’s instalment we’re counting down the top five myths about Introverts that we’ve kept bottled up. An introvert is defined as a person more focused on internal considerations, such as their own thoughts and feelings, rather than the external factors in the world. It’s become somewhat of a buzzword on social media in recent years, resulting a number of stereotypes and unfair generalizations about this personality. We’re digging deep into the world introverts to finally get to bottom of what this term really entails.
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Written by Michael Wynands

Top 5 Myths About Introverts

Sometimes… it’s what’s on the inside that really counts. Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Myths.
In today’s instalment we’re counting down the top five myths about Introverts that we’ve kept bottled up.

An introvert is defined as a person more focused on internal considerations, such as their own thoughts and feelings, rather than the external factors in the world. It’s become somewhat of a buzzword on social media in recent years, resulting a number of stereotypes and unfair generalizations about this personality. We’re digging deep into the world introverts to finally get to bottom of what this term really entails.

#5: Introverts Don’t Make Good Leaders

If they’re always lost in their own thoughts and “turning inwards”, how can an introvert possibly take on the responsibilities essential to a leadership role? A good leader engages with their team - they don’t close themselves off. See, the reality is… both introverts and extroverts can make good leaders, and good public speakers - they just approach such roles differently. Introverted CEOs will likely describe a corporate cocktail party as a living nightmare, but when working with a team, their introverted nature helps them to express themselves, clearly and concisely, having fully developed their ideas before sharing. This ability equally applies to public speaking, as exemplified by Susan Cain’s Ted Talks presentation - “The Power of Introverts”. According to USA Today, 4 in 10 CEOs are introverts, including Bill Gates.

#4: Introverts Are Smarter Than Extroverts

The behaviour of introverts shares a lot in common with the oft-romanticized “tortured genius” archetype - resulting in an unfair association between introversion and intellect. Introverts are often seen underdogs with untapped potential, while extroverts are treated as social and corporate climbers getting ahead with their charms. An example from pop culture? Elliot the introvert and Ollie the extrovert in HBO’s “Mr. Robot.” But in the real world, this dichotomy of personality types has no relation to intelligence. You can find people of brilliant, average and subpar levels of intellect in both categories. These two brains work differently on a scientific level, but the differences cannot be measured in a quantitative sense. The two personality types each score better on different types of tests - each displaying intellectual strengths and weaknesses.

#3: Introverts Always Want To Be Alone

Not to dwell on “Mr. Robot”, but again... Elliot Alderson works as a nice case study of how introverts are misunderstood. He may be an introvert, but his desire to completely shut himself off from others is a result of severe social anxiety and depression, not his introverted personality. Confusion over the two is common however, in both media representations and real life. Even for introverts, it can be hard to distinguish between a natural inclination towards alone time, and unhealthy isolation resulting from a mood disorder. Introverts still crave social interactions - they simply prefer a more intimate setting with close friends. Dinner or a movie night might be great, but a mixer, orientation or house party is pretty much a worst-case scenario. At the end of the day its all subjective.

#2: Introverts Don’t Like People

The mythic desire of introverts to be alone naturally brings us to this next misconception - that introverts dislike people. Ever heard someone say that they simply “prefer the company of a good book”? Introverts need alone time to properly process their thoughts and recharge their social batteries… but they still care for others. Based on their tendency to eschew larger social events or large group hangouts, they develop fewer friendships. But those friendships are usually quite strong and meaningful - involving high levels of trust. Because despite the common misconception to the contrary, introverts do like to talk… they just shy away from superficial conversations with strangers. Meaningful conversations are crucial to their development of ideas and to have them, they need close friends and trusted colleagues.

#1: Introverts Are Shy

Nope! People often struggle to define introversion without bringing up social anxiety or shyness. It’s easy to confuse the three, as they all relate to a sense of discomfort or disinterest in large social settings. But the terms are not interchangeable. Shyness is more accurately characterized by a desire to speak or interact with others, but an inability to do so out of fear of rejection or judgement. A shy person may long to spread their social butterfly wings, but self-consciously makes it difficult for them to leave their cocoon. Introverts simply require less socializing to maintain a sense of well being. They intentionally seek out settings with less external stimulation. An introvert can be shy, but the terms should not be used as synonyms.

So how many of these myths did you believe? For more unabashedly extroverted top 10s and Top 5s to reflect on, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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