If you are like me, you have both introverted and extroverted friends. If you are…
How To Deal With Misconceptions About Being Introverted
There are many misconceptions about introverts, and if you consider yourself an introvert you have probably heard many of them before. You may have heard anything from being labeled as rude, anti-social, and maybe even ignorant or oblivious in certain situations- sound familiar?
How To Deal With Misconceptions About Being An Introvert
Someone once came up to me years ago and said, “I used to think you were stuck up, but then I got to know you and you are the complete opposite.”
A sigh of relief!
Another time a former coworker (around 10 years ago) came up to me and said, “Yeah, so and so (mutual coworker) thinks you are a b****.”
What?! Okay, I am not going to say that I have never acted that way to someone, but I could not recall a time when I first met someone and gave them that type of impression.
I had never talked to this other person in my life. I worked with them once or twice at the most. She had never come up to me and started a conversation, so how on Earth could she think this about me when I have never said anything to her?
It started to bother me that this other person thought that way about me. Perhaps it was the fact that I didn’t start a conversation with her or maybe a certain look that I did (or didn’t give her)?
So how do we, as introverts, deal with misconceptions about being an introvert?
1). Watch your body signals. YOU may actually be the problem, not the other person.
This may be the reason why you get labeled as “rude” or “anti-social.”
I know we may not like to admit it that we introverts may need to change a little, but hear me out. When I think back to this past coworker situation, I was honestly dumbfounded at first. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense that she thought I was a “b*****.” It was more than likely because I didn’t start a conversation with her, and maybe she saw me conversing with another person so she wondered why I didn’t start a conversation with her. She probably internalized that as me not liking her.
Of course, that wasn’t true, but to her, it could have very well seemed true. Maybe I didn’t smile at her or maybe I was crossing my arms, so she got the wrong impression. So watch your body language when meeting new people or even when talking with people who you already know.
2. Don’t just assume people know you are introverted- communicate with them.
Some people actually are rude and anti-social and if you aren’t communicating with others that you are in fact introverted they may label you in a negative way. Can you really blame them?
For example, say you repeatedly turn down a friend who wants you to go to concerts with them. If they do not know that you are introverted, you will probably come off wrong to them and upset them.
You could say something along the lines of, “Hey, I know you like to have fun at concerts and such, but I would prefer a much smaller venue at the local bar/restaurant with fewer people and noise. Would you mind if we go there instead?”
3. A common belief about introverts is that they have to be shy, but that simply isn’t true.
There are people who identify as an introvert are not shy at all, or the other way around since some people are shy and extroverted. But for myself and many others, I consider myself to identify with both terms. I am definitely shy and introverted, and it can definitely be a struggle in everyday life to be honest (read my last post about this topic here).
For other introverts, they may not be shy at all. In this case, you may go to an event and walk up to talk to many new people, but after about an hour you decide that you have had enough socialization and decide to head on home to spend some time by yourself.
How can you deal with people who assume that just because you are an introvert, that must mean that you are shy? This could go back with simply communicating with that other person; just tell them that you are not shy, but you prefer to limit the amount of socializing you do after working all day.
4. The belief that introverts loathe extroverts.
In most cases, I would say that introverts do not loathe extroverts. In my life actually, a few of my friends and a lot of my family members are extroverts and I do not mind being around them.
That being said, do most introverts enjoy being around people who can be loud, like to embarrass other people, and/or are very brash? Well, I don’t think anyone really wants to be around anyone who acts like that, especially introverts. I tend to turn away from people who display these types of traits, even if that person may not realize that they are acting like that.
How can you deal with people who assume that you loathe extroverts? First, other than simply communicating with them, you can also show them that that belief isn’t always true. Hang out with extroverts, get to know people who you maybe wouldn’t normally feel the need to talk to.
Remember though, that you do not have to prove anything to anyone about being an introvert. Some people will try to pry you out of your normal introvert routines, but you don’t have to show them anything if you do not feel comfortable. In this case, just take it as a grain of salt and move on. If that is what they believe then that is what they believe.
5. There isn’t a way that introverts and extroverts to work together in a positive way.
But is it impossible for introverts and extroverts to work together in a positive way?
Yes, in fact, you probably currently do or have in the past worked with both introverts and extroverts at the same time. They can actually bring out the strengths in each other in order to work in a productive manner.
The business world often times benefits highly from having extroverts work there. They are typically a bit more people-oriented when it comes to careers:
“Extroverts may be more skilled at client-facing work, attending conferences, or in other environments where there is a great deal of interaction with other people,” Persily Lamel says in an article written by Gwen Moran located at www.entrepreneur.com.
According to a different article on Forbes.com written by Christina Park, when it comes to strengths that introverts have in a work environment,
“Introverts like to prepare for meetings and presentations, rather than “winging it.” This offers several benefits. First, you show that you really care about your work and are invested in the outcome. Second, you can collect facts in advance and gather your ideas in an organized fashion. Finally, preparation allows you to identify potential problems and propose solutions (or spark discussion around the issue.)”
So for example, if an introvert and extrovert had to work together on a project at their job they could build on each other’s strengths. The extrovert could meet and speak with clients to show them their product and the introvert could sit back and gather valuable information about what that client liked/didn’t like about the product.
Overall, it is very possible that an introvert and extrovert can work together well.
If you are not an introvert, you probably know many introverts, and may not realize it. You may just assume that they are shy, anti social, and in some cases rude, but I can assure you that if you were to get to know them you would find that they are very insightful people. And vice versa for extroverted individuals.
If you are an introvert, what different types of misconceptions about being an introvert have you dealt with?
Or if you are a more extroverted person, what different strengths do you have that could make it easier to communicate with introverts?