Legend has it, they grow in quiet, isolated spaces and they likely approach you when you are alone…
Introverts. These are individuals who are drained by social interaction and energised by creative, solitary pursuits. Their disposition is often misunderstood and mistaken for social anxiety, shyness or for generally being unsociable. In reality, introverts are quite adept at socialising but often require a balance of being around others and having alone time to recharge.
According to Introvert Retreat, a third to 50% of the population are introverts, much more than the previously thought 25%. This is a significant portion of our children, our future thought leaders and our workforce and it is time we started catering for them and creating a space for them to thrive.
It’s also time we debunked some of the common misconceptions surrounding introverts:
Introverts don’t like people: It is often perceived that introverts don’t enjoy spending time with other people. This misconception definitely bothers me as an introvert who loves hanging out with friends, family and meeting new people. Rather than not liking people, introverts feel drained being around others and need time alone with their thoughts to re-energise. This varies a lot depending on a number of factors such as how much stimulation is involved in the interaction, how many people and for how long.
Introverts are shy: Shyness and introversion are often confused as the same thing. In reality though, they can but do not necessarily go hand in hand. People who are shy get anxiety in social situations. Introverts just prefer interactions in smaller, familiar social circles and in smaller doses. Shyness can be overcome but introversion should not be thought of as a negative thing, it should be embraced.
Introverts don’t like to talk: Introverts are less likely to speak up in group situations such as in class or during large social gatherings. This does not necessarily mean they don’t like talking they just prefer it one-on-one or with less people. They often have a lot of interesting things to say as well due to their naturally thoughtful nature and like sharing these thoughts with others.
If you know any introverts, make sure not to stereotype them according to what popular culture leads us to believe because it is not always so black and white.