See that animated .gif above? That’s how people characterize introverts. We’re shy, we’re socially awkward, and we’re a total snoozefest at parties and in conversation because we’re so quiet. WHO WOULD WANT TO BE FRIENDS WITH US, HONESTLY?
If you’re an introvert, you’ve probably heard one of the following remarks:
1. “Are you okay?” Just because I’m quiet doesn’t mean I’m sad or brooding. I just don’t have anything to say at the moment, so a simple “how’s it going?” will do if you feel like talking to me.
2. “I’m so glad I’m not an introvert.” I’ve actually heard people say this after taking a personality test. What’s wrong with being an introvert? We’re independent, thoughtful, observant, sensitive and often artistic. We can spend a whole day strolling through the farmer’s market, reading a book in the park, or trying out new cafes without getting bored or lonely. We’re great conversationalists. If you catch us one-on-one during a party, skip the small talk and bring up a fun or substantial topic, like the latest steampunk novels or a cool new band. Trust me, we’ll talk your ear off.
3. “Oh, I never pegged you as the social type.” Someone actually said this after I told her that I missed my old friends after moving halfway around the world. WTF? Extroverts aren’t the only people who can make friends.
4. “Introverts are boring/lame.” Why, because we’re not the life of the party or the center of attention? Try talking to us (not AT us — there’s a difference), and you’ll become privy to our rich inner worlds and observations about our surroundings.
5. “You should be more confident around people.” Not all introverts are shy. Many aren’t even quiet, they just need a lot of downtime afterward to recover from socializing. Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed at parties, but that has less to do with confidence than it does with energy levels. We can talk and get along with people just fine, but it’s going to be a chore until the activity dies down a little.
6. “Why am I the only one talking right now?” Plenty of clueless extroverts don’t realize that a conversation is a two-way street, so they take advantage of the fact that we’re good listeners. While most of my outgoing friends are great at helping me open up and meet new people, I do know a couple of loudmouths who completely monopolize a conversation by butting in every two sentences. Eventually, they realize that they’re rambling on, but blame me for being quiet when they’re the ones who can’t give someone else the spotlight.
7. “You need to get out there.” People always picture introverts as basement-dwellers who spend more time Facebooking than talking to actual people. In reality, we go out a lot. You just don’t notice because we’re so good at doing it alone. We can watch movies alone, eat alone, run errands alone, attend concerts alone and even travel alone without feeling depressed. Company’s welcome, but we don’t need it to go out and do something fun. 8. “Extroverts are more passionate and opinionated.” Wait, so just because we don’t talk as much or express ourselves outwardly means we’re less alive inside? Tell that to a deaf person and prepare yourself to get slapped in the face.