My journey in college has been as much as a search to acknowledge my various identities as to finding where Watkins is on campus. Despite my constant struggle to become more aware of my complex identities as a student, one thing I have come to terms with is that I am an introvert.
When people hear the word “introvert,” often what comes to mind is a shy figure who avoids social contact, keeps to themselves, and never speaks. If you Google the phrase “why are introverts so”, the top results that come up inquire why introverts are so “rude”, “quiet”, and “mysterious.” The misconceptions surrounding our community frame us to be socially undesirable, but that’s not the case. Check out the top three myths about introversion we’re tired of hearing.
1. You can suddenly snap out of being an introvert. It’s the common redemption narrative, when someone begins by explaining how introverted they once were when they were younger. They would never talk to anyone, they explain, always keeping quiet and remaining by themselves. Then one moment, BAM! They were able to snap out of their introversion and become the bubbly extroverted individual that is standing before them, giving a testimony that if you follow their words carefully, you can be just like them.
Although I hear it often, I find it extremely offensive. For one, it paints the picture that being introverted is something unacceptable and ought to be immediately changed. You are telling me that my personality is not good enough simply because I am not extroverted, and to be honest, that weighs heavily on my self-esteem.
For years, I exerted myself to appear extroverted. I would be the first to go to parties and the last to leave, talking to everyone I could and going to as many meetings and socials as I could within a day. But for an introvert, it’s draining to be surrounded with people constantly. As much as I wish I could wake up one day and ~suddenly~ get energy from surrounding myself with others, that’s not the case. And you know what? I’m proud of that.
2. Being an introvert means you’re quiet. These two ought not to be equated with one another, as some of the biggest voices in society have professed to being introverted.
Beyoncé has publicly confessed to being an introvert, and without her, we wouldn’t be jamming along to “Lemonade.” Zayn, formerly from One Direction, is introverted, and without him, we wouldn’t have “Pillowtalk” running through our minds while we try to focus on an SAT prep course. As a student, I participate in student protests and activism, yet still navigate my personality as an introvert.
Quite simply, I just need a nap right after.
3. Being an introvert is a bad thing. We live in a society that naturally favors extroverts, but for people who do not fit that personality mold, it can be easy to feel inadequate or somehow incomplete. Even in the classroom setting, we’re trained to work in small groups constantly, participate in discussions, and still have enough mental energy to gab between classes. Despite what our education system, workforce, and society has taught us, introverts hold a unique role within creating action for an organization, corporation or movement.
Since we tend to be a bit more introspective, introverts tend to be detail-oriented, focusing on the big ideas that extroverts are infamous for dreaming of. We need to work with each other, collaborating instead of colliding. Instead of investing energy into changing our personality type, it’s time for a radical restructuring of the institutional structures that have stifled our creativity, deferred our dreams, and made us feel less than the impeccable badasses that we are.
What’s the biggest myth about introversion you’re tired of hearing? Let us know in the comments below!