Introversion perversion

Introverts, the magical unicorns of the personality rainbow.

You think I’m making fun of introverts with that sentence, but I’m actually not.  See, I’m going to disagree with the current media hype about introverts everywhere just now learning to speak up and say they are in fact pretty rare.  Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say instead of introverts/extroverts being rare, it’s the extremely introverted/extroverted that are very rare.

Most people are usually ambiverts or people who depending on the situation display more introverted or extroverted habits, though they tend to have minor leanings towards introvert or extrovert.  Nearly every person gets to the point where they are done with people for the day and everyone can just fuck off, even loved ones.  And pretty much everyone has those situations where you feel comfortable and even though there are a metric ton of new people to have to get to know they have a blast because it’s based around something they’re passionate about.  They’ll be tired later, but most anyone would be tired later.

Generally I think the new attention and acceptance of introverts is a good thing, but I also think it’s given rise to some severe misconceptions about introverts.

1) Introverts get nervous in social situations or social situations cause them anxiety.

WRONG.  If social situations, even with lots of people you don’t know make you nervous, you aren’t necessarily introverted.  If social situations cause you anxiety it means you have anxiety and you should probably get some help with that.  Social situations aren’t naturally nerve wracking for an introvert, it’s just not necessarily their favorite time. Many introverts are very charismatic and excellent in large social situations, but they need time to recuperate afterwards or may need to withdraw periodically to center themselves during such events.

2) Introverts hate people/are antisocial.

WRONG. If you hate people you’re a misanthrope and if you’re antisocial you’re antisocial.  Are there introverts who are antisocial or misanthropic?  Of course there are!  But these things aren’t exclusive to introverts. Hemmingway is a fairly famous extrovert who HATED people, but he loved positive attention and recognition of his genius.

3) Introverts are all socially awkward.

WRONG and please see answer 1.  There are many charismatic and socially graceful introverts.  Steve Jobs, while not always socially graceful, was most certainly a very charismatic introvert.  Steven Martin, an incredibly charismatic and charming comedian is a self identified introvert.  There are a number of very high profile people who are charming, charismatic, socially graceful and introverted.  And true too there are extroverts who aren’t at all charming or charismatic and lack any kind of social grace.  That guy who loves to to be center of attention, but is an obnoxious asshole who is rude and makes people uncomfortable for example, is likely an extrovert.  Which brings us to…

4) If you act extroverted you aren’t really an introvert.

WRONG.  Introvert and Extrovert aren’t just personality qualities, they are also verbs.  An introvert can extrovert, as in acting with a certain amount of inhibition and gregariousness we usually associate with extroverts.  Also extroverts can introvert, needing to look inside themselves or spend time regrouping alone.

Ultimately what it really comes down to is introvert and extrovert isn’t the simple dichotomy it’s usually painted as. And being “introverted” is not an excuse for being an asshole. (I realize that seems to come out of left field, but there are a lot of “introverts” who try to use the title as an excuse to be antisocial, misanthropic assholes.)

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