challenging the misconceptions and stereotypes of introversion

Being an introvert can be tough, especially in our society and culture. Extroverts are revered for their “go-getter” attitude and are considered to be more formidable in both social and professional circles. When introverts are compared to extroverts based on this premise, introverts are often left feeling as if they are “less-than”. Some may even feel the need to alter their personality to get ahead in such a loud and competitive society. Being an introvert comes with its own unique qualities and abilities, which deserve to be viewed with the same level of admiration as extroversion.

What it Means to Be an Introvert

Introverts are misunderstood to be shy and not extremely outgoing. Introverts simply value quality over quantity when it comes to their own social circles and may take longer to feel comfortable around new acquaintances. This encourages the establishment of deeper connections.

Introverts are more reflective due to their inward nature, instead of seeking constant external feedback and stimulation. When in social situations, introverts are much more observant. It is not so much that introverts are anti-social, but more that they like to be able to gauge their environment and respond accordingly. Introverts also value their alone time, as it is necessary for them to “recharge” after daily social interactions.

How can we change the negative stereotypes about introverted personalities? People often equate having an extroverted personality with being a natural born leader, however this is a common misconception. While being boisterous and assertive may grab people’s attention, being an effective leader requires the ability to listen.

Diamonds in the Rough

Introverted personality traits are easily transferable to most work environments, although introverts may find themselves underutilized for their natural abilities. While it is important to have good communication skills and be able to collaborate with a team, many introverts are more creative and efficient when given time to work alone. Introverts are also able to see the bigger picture in most situations, and they can tend to be more analytical.

The same is true for introverted college students, who may find themselves being pushed to the side when collaborating in a group because they are not loud or assertive enough to command attention. In order to shine, introverts need to be given a comfortable environment to work in along with the flexibility to work on their own terms.

Parenthood brings its own set of unique challenges and being an introvert may actually be a plus for parents. While the perfect parent may be envisioned as sociable and outgoing, eager to attend play dates and school events, there are other important qualities that come along with being an introvert. The benefits of being an introverted parent include:

- Easily empathizing with their children and recognizing their emotions

- Naturally being in the moment and establishing a deeper emotional connection

- Presenting the natural norm of being less emotionally reactive when it comes to negative behavior

- Being an example for their children in a world that never stops talking

Our society often fails to recognize the downsides to extroversion, while also failing to recognize the benefits of introversion. In a world needing innovation as it begins resurfacing from the recent pandemic, society would do better to value the input and seek the leadership of its quiet introverted members.

Written by Laura LeFrenier

This article has been republished from Renewed Awareness Magazine.

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