The Misconception of Introvert (and Extrovert)

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Introvert? Extrovert? Maybe you have seen these words before. Do you have any idea on what these words mean?

The second you read those words, the very first perception you think that introvert is a boring living being, anti-social, stiff, shy, I could go on…, while an extrovert is an enthusiastic, friendly, sociable people. It was not 100% right though. Before you misjudge them any deeper, let me first explain what it means.

Introvert and extrovert are not defined by the level of easy going, talkative, and friendly of a person,

That’s the true definition of introvert and extrovert.

According to Psychology Today, there is 50–74 percent of extroverts population in this world. Based on that fact, it can be assumed that introverts are living in an extroverts’ world. So, from this point on, I will explain more on introverts as a lot of people have a misconception about them.

Even though introverts need some alone time, that doesn’t mean they hate people. Introverts are humans too, and humans are social creatures. They do love people (well, maybe not all of them, but mostly they do), but they have limited social battery. It gradually decreases by these two things:

Image from http://still.timothyfulton.com/illustrations/

At the beginning of the day, introverts have 100% “social battery”. Throughout the day, they meet their colleagues, clients, friends, family, random people in the street. Each of their social interaction with them, whether it’s a face-to-face conversation or group gathering, reduces some amount of it.

Overstimulation is a bigger energy-draining source. It includes all of three these things:

1. Being at the center of attention

Being at the center of attention has a lot of versions. Introverts hate all kinds of it. It could be a simple thing. Let’s say introverts were in a cafe. They will not choose the seat in the middle of the cafe and prefer the one in the periphery. It’s because they feel that everyone is watching, which makes them are in the center of attention, while in fact, it doesn’t.

You think that it was absurd, but it just how introverts feel. On a more complex level, public speaking is one of the most common things. It is undoubtedly one of the Introverts’ worst nightmare.

2. Stand in the crowd

A massive crowd somehow give introverts a significant amount of stimulation. It could be parties, concerts, or any other events which involves a lot of people. They will reconsider again and again and again before going to such places.

3. Adapt in an entirely new environment

A new environment means when introverts have to go to the places they have never been before, meet new people, and do new activities. All the new things produce massive stimulation. That’s why they love doing their routine. It makes them safe and lives in peace. On the dark side, it’s harder for them to get out of the comfort zone, compared to the extroverts.

Image from https://www.picklestore.nl/en/pampling-low-social-battery-de-starrykito.html

When the battery goes down to 0% due to two energy-drainer, just like your smartphone, you need to recharge by plugging on your charger. For the smartphone, the charger is the adapter. For the introverts? They charge themselves by being alone.

When they are at 0% condition, they mostly prefer to stay reserved and quiet, desperately waiting that the time passes by until finally, they could go home, craving for solitude. So, next time when you (extroverts) see the introverts are being quiet as fuck, please understand that they need to recharge ASAP.

It goes vice-versa for the extroverts. Their solitude drains their battery, and they feel damn alive when they are meeting people, having a conversation, socializing, or even hanging around near the crowd.

Even though introverts and extroverts are separated on how they charge their energies, it was not wrong when an extrovert expect that introverts as shy when they first meet. Extroverts might see them so, but actually,

They consider what words should they use and how will it affect to whom they talk. It seems shy, but it is not. They think before they speak, while extroverts mostly speak before they think.

As I said before, any social interactions reduce their social batteries. They want to spend their energy on something that makes them excited and fulfilling them, such as more in-depth talk or topics which they are interested in, rather than any pointless conversation. They prefer to socialize in a small group as well, while it goes opposite for extroverts.

Let’s say introverts prefer to communicate with two people with 50% quality of conversation, while extroverts prefer to socialize with eight people with 12,5% quality of conversation. That’s why introverts generally don’t have many friends as extroverts, as they enjoy small talks with a wide range of people.

If you are reading this article as an extrovert, now you know how introverts are functioning in this world. Please don’t judge them.

Don’t force them to say something. Introverts think before speak, so they will speak if they want.

Don’t force them to hang out with you. Introverts love people but have a limited social battery, so they will go if they want.

And if you are reading as an introvert, please accept yourself. Don’t try to mimic extrovert as it seems cool from this world’s perception. Introverts are also cool. However, don’t use your status as introvert as your excuse.

Public speaking and socializing are valuable soft skills. Realizing that those are important and practice them a lot makes you comfortable each time you do it.

A new environment is also a significant one. It drags you out from that “turtle shell”, gives you a whole new perception, and makes you more open-minded.

Thank you for reading :)

Feel free to connect with me on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter :)

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Axel Leonardo

Indonesian. 23 years old. Writing about Self Development, Social Life, Personality, and Experience-Based Story.