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Introvert Myths Busted

By Allen Prescott

Whenever I tell someone I'm an introvert they usually say, "But Allen, you're so outgoing. You're not an

introvert." Whenever I tell someone that I created an introvert discussion group, they laugh and say,

"Did anybody show up?" Many people tell me that introverts are shy, hate talking to people and always

look like they are angry. My extensive research about introverts has addressed these myths, which I will

discuss in this article.

First, a definition of introverts. Introverts enjoy being alone. They like to be around certain people in

small doses -- but for the most part they have to pull back and need to be by themselves to feel

recharged. Typically, introverts are sensitive to noise, conversations, and feelings so it can be exhausting

for them to be around large groups of people or an overly talkative person because they take it all in.

Even when introverts are outgoing, they balance themselves by being alone.

What about extroverts? Extroverts get energy from being around people. It is common for them to feel

lonely when by themselves and thus seek people out much of the time. They don't have to be the center

of attention, however they feel their best and the most energized in a group. In working on tasks

extroverts do better in a group of people as opposed to working alone which introverts prefer.

Myth #1: Introverts hate talking to people.

Introverts do not hate talking to people. Instead, introverts are selective with whom they want to talk

to. Introverts prefer talking to people they already know and trust.  Introverts are very private and will

not reveal themselves to you until they trust you. If an introvert does not know you, they need to warm

up to you first before opening up.

Introverts dislike small talk; however, if you find a subject of interest to them, an introvert can talk your

ear off. Sometimes you won't be able to shut them up. Small talk, to an introvert, is noise, boring, fluff. If

you only want to do small talk then your introverted conversation partner will probably not want to

participate, which by the way could be incorrectly interpreted as they do not like you.

Myth #2: All introverts are shy.

Wrong! Myth #1 addresses this by stating, "introverts are selective with whom they want to talk to."

When an introvert joins a group of people (say, at a party), they want to first scan the room, look for

someone they already know, get a feel for the various conversations happening, feel the ambiance, or

hang out at the refreshments area. When an introvert does talk to someone it's because they want to or

is interested in the subject matter of the discussion.

Let's look at shyness. Some introverts are shy. Some extroverts are shy. A shy person fears rejection.

They don't talk easily because they feel they will say something wrong or look stupid. A shy person

usually has low self-esteem. The good news is that shy people can build their confidence and increase


their self-esteem and gradually overcome their shyness. I am here to tell you this is possible as I have

learned to do this.

Myth #3: Introversion is the opposite of being outgoing.

I recently discovered that I'm outgoing. I used to think that because of my quiet and reserved nature of

being an introvert, there was something wrong with me. I hesitated and held back when meeting new

people (see myth #1). I was a little shy (see myth #2). However, after I learned the "introvert way," I was

a changed person. I now understand why I'm a little slow to warm up to strangers. I've taken enough

risks and stepped outside of my comfort zone enough to overcome my shyness. Along the way I

discovered that I'm outgoing, in my own introvert way. I'm friendly, I like meeting new people, and I can

make people feel comfortable around me. Sounds like outgoing to me!

Myth #4: Introverts always look like they are angry.

Ok, lots of introverts have blank expressions on their faces much of the time. Thus, the introvert's blank

expressions can be interpreted as they are angry. However, they are not. Well, probably not. Actually,

you really cannot tell until you ask them. Introverts may respond by saying that they are thinking, or

daydreaming, or just enjoying listening to the conversations, or perhaps they are angry. Let me explain.

Introverts are inwardly focused. Introverts are taking in all of the external stimulus around them and

processing it to make sense of it. All of this is happening internally (their mind). They do not feel a need

to show with their facial expression what is going on inside. Most of the time they do not even realize

they have a blank expression. Extroverts, on the other hand, are outwardly focused. They think out loud.

They work out problems by talking about them, usually with other people. They feel the need to show

what's going on inside them with their facial expressions. If they are happy, sad, fascinated, surprised,

and yes, mad, they show it with their facial expression. Most of the time they do not even realize this.

I hope you understand the introvert persona a little better. I'll address more myths in future articles.

However, I'm really excited to tell you about a very important topic in the next article. That's the

Extrovert Ideal. Here's a teaser: Our western society values the extrovert persona more than the

Introvert persona. Therefore, that's what has caused so many problems for introverts. But more later.

Bye for now.


Allen Prescott is a native Texan, who lived in the greater Houston area most of his life. In 1985 he met the woman of his dreams and married in 1987. We have two boys ages 24 and 27.  Allen is software engineer who worked on the Space Shuttle program for 12 years at Johnson Space Center. During a downturn in he was laid off due to the decline in the price of a barrel of oil.  He found a perfect job in Huntsville, AL working on the new NASA rocket called the Space Launch System (SLS).   You can contact Allen at



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