11 Things Introverts Want You to Know

While introverts make up anywhere from one third to one half of the population, people with this personality type often report that others do not seem to understand them. Here are some of the biggest myths, misconceptions, and misunderstandings about what it means to be an introvert—and if you're unsure whether you are one, take our introvert vs. extrovert test to find out before reading on.


8 Signs You're an Introvert


Quiet Doesn't Mean Shy

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People sometimes make the mistake of thinking that just because a person is quiet, it also means the person is shy. It is important to realize that there is a big difference between introversion, shyness, and social anxiety.

Introverted people are not necessarily apprehensive about talking to others, although some introverted people certainly do experience shyness or social anxiety.

Introverts tend to be more reserved and inward-turning. They like to get to know a person more before engaging in a lot of conversation.

Introverts prefer to think before they speak. They typically don't enjoy a lot of chit-chat or small talk. So, the next time you notice someone who is quiet and reserved, don't assume that they are shy or afraid of talking to others.


They're Not Angry or Depressed

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When an introvert feels overwhelmed by too much socializing, they often need a little quiet time and solitude to recharge. Unfortunately, people sometimes misinterpret this desire to be alone as a negative emotion, such as being angry, depressed, sullen, or anxious.

If you are an introvert, you might recall being told by parents or other adults to "come out of your room and stop sulking," when you were really just trying to have a little quiet time. This can be confusing for extroverts who may not understand why a person needs solitude.

Introverts might be surprised to find that other people interpret the need to be alone as rude or dismissive.


They Do Have Fun

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Introverts are not party-poopers. While they might be quiet at a loud and crowded social gathering, it doesn't mean they are not having fun.

In many cases, the introverts in the room are content to sit back and observe, taking in all the interesting sights, sounds, and conversations. They are curious and want to learn more about the world and the people around them. ​

While extroverts might accomplish this by asking questions and starting conversations, introverts prefer to listen and reflect.


They Aren't Rude

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Introverts can be quiet and reserved when you meet them, and it can be difficult to know what they're thinking. This can cause others to perceive them as rude.

Before you interpret this initial reserve as rudeness, consider personality and interpersonal styles. It is important to understand that an introvert might simply need to get to know you better before they feel comfortable and willing to open up.


Introverts Aren't Weird

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According to some estimates, as much as half of the population identifies as introverted. Based on those figures alone, introversion certainly is not something weird, odd, or even eccentric. Introverts are sometimes unfairly categorized as strange.

Introverts tend to follow their own interests rather than paying much attention to what is popular or trendy.


They Don't Want to Be Alone All the Time

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While introverts might need to have some time alone each day to gain back their energy, it certainly does not mean that they want to be alone all the time. Introverts enjoy spending time with people they know well.

But even spending time with close friends and loved ones can be draining. People with introverted personalities periodically need quiet time to decompress and regain the energy they expend while socializing.


They Aren't Agoraphobic

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Just because introverts are quiet and enjoy periods of solitude does not mean that they have agoraphobia. Certainly, some individuals are both introverted and agoraphobic, but one is not an indicator of the other.

Many introverts do describe themselves as "homebodies," or people who enjoy hanging out at home and enjoying their family and hobbies. This does not mean that they are afraid of public spaces.


Introverts Don't Have Low Self Esteem

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Another common misconception about introverts is that they are quiet and reserved because they have low self-esteem or lack self-confidence. This can be particularly problematic for introverted kids who are constantly pushed into situations by adults who think that socializing is the way to "fix" kids the adults perceive as being shy and insecure.

Don't assume that reserved people lack confidence or self-esteem.

Kids who receive constant feedback from adults and peers that something is fundamentally wrong with their personality just might, however, start to question themselves as a result.


Introverts Don't Hate People

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People who are introverted are not misanthropic. In fact, introverts are typically very interested in people; they simply feel exhausted by lots of talking and socializing, particularly lots of what they perceive to be needless talking.

Small talk is something that makes most introverts cringe. What they need is a reason to talk.

So what can you do to start up a conversation with an introvert? Try starting an interesting conversation about something the introvert cares about and you just might find that they can be the most talkative person in the room.


Introverts Don't Need to Be Fixed

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Introversion is often treated as something that needs to be overcome. Many introverts report that teachers and other adults often forced them into situations where they felt uncomfortable or overwhelmed. Some examples include:

  • Making a quiet student take over as the leader of a group.
  • Assigning a reserved child the lead role in the class play.
  • Pairing quiet kids with the most extroverted kids in class for group assignments.

Such actions are often accompanied with the justification: "You're too quiet and getting you out there more will help you get over it!" But introversion isn't something to "get over."

Extreme shyness and social anxiety are problems that need to be addressed, particularly if they result in significant distress or impairment in daily life. But it should be dealt with in a compassionate and professional way. Forcing a shy or anxious child into social situations where they feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable is not the most appropriate way to help.

Being quiet is not the same thing as being shy. Introverts don't need to be broken down and remolded into extroverts.


Being Told "You're Too Quiet" Is Insensitive and Rude

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Introverts are not the only personality types that are misunderstood at times. Extroverts are often accused by those who don't understand them as being loud and overly talkative.

For an introvert, constantly being told that "you're quiet" is a lot like telling an extrovert that they "never shut up." It's unnecessarily rude and comes with the implication that there is something wrong with the individual.

Both personality types need to make an effort to understand those who differ from them. Introverts have their own needs and quirks, just as extroverts do.

A Word From Verywell

Not all introverts (or extroverts) are the same. Painting each personality type with broad strokes misses all the nuances and detail that make each person a unique individual. Learning more about how people with these personality types tend to think, act, and feel can improve your understanding of people who are different from you.

6 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Kendra Cherry
Kendra Cherry, MS, is the author of the "Everything Psychology Book (2nd Edition)" and has written thousands of articles on diverse psychology topics. Kendra holds a Master of Science degree in education from Boise State University with a primary research interest in educational psychology and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Idaho State University with additional coursework in substance use and case management.