As a lifelong introvert, I will always be baffled by the way that my extroverted friends get so excited about huge crowds of people, packed clubs, and hours-long bar hops. I’m not against having fun (or even socializing, contrary to popular belief!), but for me, activities like that require plenty of advance notice.
There are a lot of differences between introverts and extroverts, but there’s also plenty that we can agree on. I’ve collected a few of the most common myths about introverts and extroverts, and I’m going to dispel each one to prove that we’re not so different after all!
Myth: Introverts Hate Being Around People
On the surface, I can understand why someone who doesn’t know a lot of introverts might think that. This is especially true if you’re just going by what you’ve read or seen in movies.
There are a lot of comics and memes about the stereotypical introvert who has to be forcibly dragged out of their cave of books and blankets to socialize with the world. They usually end with the introvert feeling exhausted and ready to go home. These portrayals are funny, but for the most part, they’re also hyperbole.
Being introverted doesn’t mean that we don’t like to socialize or we hate people. Really, it just means that we have to exert more physical and mental energy when we participate in social events, even if we’re seeing people that we love!
For example, I can enjoy attending a big wedding and reception for someone I love. I can dance, chat, and enjoy myself just as much as an extrovert. However, when I get home, even though I might feel happy that I went, I’m also drained and need plenty of quiet time to “recharge” before my next foray into public.
Myth: Extroverts Are Loud and Obnoxious
Usually, the word “extrovert” is associated with a loud, goofy frat guy or an obnoxious party girl who loves snapping selfies and day drinking. While those types of people definitely exist and definitely aren’t introverted, the truth is that most extroverts aren’t like that at all.
Natural extroverts feel good when they’re around other people, and they’re usually more outgoing, but I know plenty of extroverts who are laid-back and happy to just mingle in a crowd without monopolizing everyone’s attention.
Myth: Introverts and Extroverts Don’t Get Along
If you’re judging by stereotypes alone, then it’s easy to think that introverts and extroverts are total opposites who can’t spend much time around each other.
This couldn’t be further from the truth! Introverts and extroverts can benefit greatly from connecting. There’s plenty of common ground for us to meet on (e.g., we both like to socialize; we often just choose to go about it differently!), and we can both benefit from the differences the other type brings to the table.
As an introvert, I can get stuck in a routine of doing solitary things. While I’m generally happy to do quiet solo activities, I appreciate it when one of my extroverted friends forces me out into the world (even though that has been virtually nonexistent since the pandemic kicked off). My extroverted friends really light up when they’re in their social element, and their happiness rubs off on me, so I end up enjoying myself a lot more than I think I will!
I’m told that having introverted friends is good for extroverts, too. They say that a good, introverted friend can be a calming, grounding presence. My particularly chaotic friends appreciate that I can always remember where we parked, and I always know of a nice, quiet spot for relaxing and chatting.
Myth: Extroverts Are Happier and More Fun
Because extroverts tend to be more social and gregarious, it can be easy to believe that they’re naturally happier or more fun to be around than introverts, who can often come across as reserved and serious.
The truth is that there are plenty of happy, bubbly introverts and plenty of unhappy, toxic extroverts. Whether you’re introverted or extroverted has little to do with whether or not you’re a fun and positive addition to someone’s life!
The best way to ensure that you and those you love are as happy (and, by proxy, as fun) as possible, you should all make sure to embrace who you are as a person and live it proudly. If that means saying no to huge parties that might make you feel drained, then that’s okay! Anyone who cares about you will understand. If that means saying “no thank you” to an invite to yet another Zoom coffee date because you’re not in the mood to see more people, then don’t be afraid to say so! True friends will appreciate your honesty, and you’ll be a much happier person.
Myth: Introverts Have More Mental Health Issues Than Extroverts
Mental health issues can affect anyone, regardless of how they present themselves to the world. Bubbly, funny, talkative people can be just as likely to suffer from anxiety and depression as the quiet person who sits in the corner and reads books. We often associate being chatty and lively with happiness and confidence, but it’s important to remember that there’s always more underneath the surface.
This myth can be quite damaging, so I hope this article helps dispel it! There are a lot of factors that can contribute to mental health, and the truth is that an outgoing, sociable facade can be a coping mechanism for intense anxiety just as easily as secluding yourself from social situations.
Instead of trying to armchair diagnose friends and family members who are different from you, try just being there for them and giving them space to talk about themselves authentically.
It Takes Both Types to Make the World Go ‘Round
Introverts and extroverts need each other! Having a good mix of both types of people in your friend circle is the best way to get the most enjoyment out of life. So, next time you meet someone and think that you couldn’t possibly have anything in common, remember that most of the preconceived notions you have may not be true at all!
Are there any other myths about introverts and extroverts you want to debunk? Let us know!