Things People Still Don’t Get About Introverts
posted on January 15, 2019 | by Sanhita Mukherjee
My idea of a perfect weekend is curling up with a blanket, some coffee and a good book. My idea of a perfect date is curling up with my boyfriend, a glass of wine and a good movie adaptation of a great book. And my idea of a perfect beach day is curling up with a bestseller, a cocktail – well, you get the picture.
I like books, delicious beverages and being comfortable. I enjoy spending time with a few close people rather than big groups of strangers. In other words, I’m your classic, textbook introvert.
Now, being introverted is nothing new or uncommon. We already know that different people have different ways of replenishing their energy levels. Many of us have even taken a Myers-Briggs test, and know that there are all sorts of different personality types. Despite this, I feel like being extroverted is considered the ‘right’ way to be in many situations – and people are confused when they meet someone who is not.
Here are a few things about introverts that I feel many people still don’t get:
“Why are you so quiet?”
I can feel my fellow introverts rolling their eyes and/or visibly cringing at this one! And with good reason. This is kind of a weird question to ask someone. At best, it is pointless – what possible answer can someone have for this? At worst, it is sort of rude – it implies that there is something inherently wrong with being quiet, and it puts the person in a spot.
Yet, it seems like every time I am in a big group of new people, someone will ask me this. The worst part is, since there’s really no right answer to this (without being snarky), I am usually forced to just smile and shrug – so the person continues to think I am SO quiet!
So if you are looking to make conversation with an introverted person, show genuine interest and ask them almost anything else. Ask about their day, or what they do for a living, or what their hobbies are. If you hit upon something that they are passionate about, you’ll find that they are not so quiet after all.
People think they are serious/lost/angry
If you think about it, much of what’s considered polite social behaviour, is centered around small talk. When someone (read: an introvert) does not engage in it, people usually take that to mean something is wrong.
Introverts may frequently be asked if they are sad, lost or angry when in reality, they are just doing their own thing. They may even be mistaken for being standoffish and unfriendly. More than once, people have told me that they initially thought I was serious or intimidating. The truth is, as a writer, I am sitting alone at my desk a lot of the times, trying to construct the perfect sentence in my head and not really talking to those around me.
Introverts are not always afraid of things like public speaking
Many people are surprised by this, but not all introverts hate addressing a large crowd. Sure, we may not like being put on the spot and being asked to give impromptu speeches. But that’s only because we feel uncomfortable sharing our thoughts before we’ve had a chance to reflect upon them first. And that’s not a bad thing – it can make for a more meaningful, well thought out speech.
Personally, if I’ve had enough time to prepare, I don’t find speaking in public scary at all. But looking back, I wonder if I missed out on certain opportunities because people assumed I’d not be good at it.
Doing nothing IS a solid plan
Doing nothing is fantastic! When you have no place you have to be, it leaves you with enough time to do, well, anything at all. You can read, write, watch a movie, take a nap, or just stare blankly at a wall and gather your thoughts. To some, a weekend spent doing ‘nothing’ might seem boring, but for an introverted person, it might be something they’ve been looking forward to all week.
A lot of the times, people tend to think that unless someone is working or has plans with another person, they are available. But if an introvert says they’re doing nothing, don’t assume that they’ll be up for an impromptu night out. Ask them whether they’re actually available – and don’t be surprised if they take a rain check.