Introverts vs. Extroverts: What Are the Top 3 Misconceptions?

We’re not that different, people

Martina Petkova

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Photo by Goashape on Unsplash

“Is there such a thing as a shy extrovert?”

“Are introverts depressed?”

“Do extroverts ever shut up?”

“What is holding introverts back?”

These are just a few questions I saw online today, confirming that our perpetual confusion about each other continues to live on.

People talk abut introverts and extroverts as if they’re a scientist observing a wild animal. “Why does it behave this way?” “What does this mean?” “Ah, I think I know what it will do next.”

It’s not that complicated, guys. We’re all human. Even the introverts.

Let’s make things simple by letting go of the 3 most common misconceptions about introversion and extroversion.

1. It’s about how confident or smart you are

As an introvert, I’ve heard my share of “Why are you so quiet?” coupled with “What’s the matter?” and encouraging kind looks urging me to “speak up.” I’ve also been called “boring” for wanting to stay in instead of go party and I’ve had friends go ballistic on me if I take too long to reply to texts.

The implication behind all that is that there is something “wrong,” something I need to fix about myself.

I’ve also heard introverts described as exceptionally smart and intuitive, as master-observers, mythical shamans of human nature.

And of course, by contrast, extroverts are confident, outgoing, self-assured and praised by society, but also shallow, annoying, and neurotic.

Is any of this true? No.

It has nothing to do with the psychological reality of introversion and extroversion. It has everything to do with the age-old game people like to play: using and controting labels to make themselves feel better than others.

So what’s the real difference between introverts and extroverts?

What gives them energy. What gives them life.

Extroverts are energized by the external world. Introverts are energized by the inner world.

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Martina Petkova

In my Medium writing, I explore the human psyche, our many contradictions, mental health, & the signs and causes of abuse. I also write about racism.