Introvert Extrovert
(Graphic by Brett Ferrin)

There’s always been a stigma about introverts. Many think they are rude, depressed or just weird. The truth is they just like to be in their own heads, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s true that personality traits like introversion and extroversion aren’t cut and dry — you’re not one extreme or the other, but a slight mix of both. However if you identify more on the introvert side, you may have some misconceptions working against you.

According to the Myers and Briggs Foundation, extroverts are defined as people who are generally seen as outgoing, easily excitable and energized when around other people. Extroverts also sometimes jump too quickly into activities. Introverts on the other hand are generally reflective, reserved and prefer to do things alone or with one or two people they know very well.

Alone time is usually very essential when it comes to the well-being of introverts. They use this time to wind down and to charge their batteries. Many extroverts find this odd and often make the wrong assumptions about them, especially in a family dynamic. If one is an introvert surrounded by extroverts it can make family life difficult at times. The fact that introverts enjoy solitude can be appalling to extroverts and can cause fissures in the home.

This situation can be difficult but it can be fixed with some simple communication. Introverts can try to communicate with the extroverts around them and let them know that nothing is wrong, and that they need alone time to unwind and recharge. Extroverts can try to understand the differences between the personality types. The way extroverts feel energized around groups of people is how introverts feel when they’re alone. To introverts, there is a big difference between being alone and being lonely.

Another common misconception about introverts is that they need to break out of their shells. Many think there is something wrong with introverts because they are quiet and reserved. In reality introverts, have a constant inner monologue. They spend a lot of time thinking and contemplating, and don’t feel the need to say everything that’s on their mind. This time spent thinking can be a good thing. Because they think before they speak, they often avoid word vomit situations that they would later regret.

Along with this, introverts are also seen as anti-social because they don’t have a lot of friends. While this may be true in some cases, introverts generally like to have three or four really good friends that they form attachments to, as opposed to extroverts who like to have many people to talk to.

Overall, it can be difficult for both personality types to get over the stereotypes that have been set in place. Introverts and extroverts are so different, and it can be hard for them to interact. It’s important to remember that while the differences can cause problems, they can also compliment each other if recognized. If you know someone who is introverted,  don’t push them to give up their alone time. If you know someone who is an extrovert, don’t try to limit them. Have respect for the different personality types that make up the world.

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