10 myths about introverts

For those who know me, I don’t think it would be a big surprise if I told them I am a bit of an introvert. I stumbled over a very interesting book review today on a book called The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World, and it looks very interesting. I’ve already added it to my Amazon wish list and will probably buy it pretty soon :P

Something he wrote that I found especially interesting was this:

A section of Laney’s book maps out the human brain and explains how neuro-transmitters follow different dominant paths in the nervous systems of Introverts and Extroverts. If the science behind the book is correct, it turns out that Introverts are people who are over-sensitive to Dopamine, so too much external stimulation overdoses and exhausts them. Conversely, Extroverts can’t get enough Dopamine, and they require Adrenaline for their brains to create it. Extroverts also have a shorter pathway and less blood-flow to the brain. The messages of an Extrovert’s nervous system mostly bypass the Broca’s area in the frontal lobe, which is where a large portion of contemplation takes place.

Yup, I definitely need to get that book. Interesting stuff indeed. The author of the review also put together a nice list of 10 myths about introverts, which I found quite interesting. And I think that’s probably something everybody should know. So, I will copy them to this post so that I know where to find them in case they disappear from the source :)

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.

Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.

Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.

Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.

Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.

Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.

Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.

Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.

Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.

What do you think? If you’re an introvert, does it sound about right? If you’re an extrovert, do you think it would be helpful to know this?

  • vegar

    På tur nedover sverige i sommer, hørte vi så vidt på et populær vitenskapelig program. Da intervjuet de bl.a. en dame som hadde forsket på fordelene ved å være sjenert/innadvent. Ho så også litt på statestikker som viste at disse menneskene ofte kom bedre ut av det en andre :-)

    • http://www.geekality.net Torleif

      :D

  • Eirik

    Kan vel si jeg kjenner meg igjen i veldig mange av dem =)

  • http://webbossuk.com/ MrLuke

    I’m an introvert and this summed me up pretty precisely! I just wish more people understood these things!

    • http://www.geekality.net Torleif

      *sigh*… so do I :)

      • Andy

        so do I

  • Trini

    It is great to finally find it spelled-out. I recognise myself in a lot of items in this checklist. For a very long time, I have struggled simply accepting that I am a bit “odd” in my current extroverted environment. By contrast, I realised that my family (parents/siblings) are just as if not more introverted than me; in THAT comparison, I am the extrovert.

    The hypothesis of dopamine sensitivity does make sense to me as I literally experience “information overload” when in a loud and noisy environment for a longer time – I simply shut-down and need to recuperate after -usually by processing. And although I love going out with friends, if I do it every day of the week I would be exhausted whereas many of my friends get even more energised.
    Thank you for sharing this.

  • ahabsy

    described me in almost every way. thanks. makes me feel better.

    • http://www.geekality.net/ Torleif Berger

      If you want to feel even better, check out the book called “Quiet” by Susan Cain. It’s really good.