Are you an introvert? You might be sure that you are. Some people truly believe they are introverted although they might not be at all. People who are simply socially anxious or shy might identify as introverts. Often that belief can intervene in their social tendencies that can affect their personality types. According to communication expert, Celeste Headlee, many who believe they are introverts are not true introverts. Here we are going to discuss why the label of an introvert can be harmful.
Let’s define introvert!
Extroverted and introverted personality types were developed in the early 1900s by a famous psychiatrist, Carl Jung. He classifies introverts as those who prefer environments that have little stimulation and turns inwards to recharge as opposed to extroverts who are energized by spending time with others.
A hundred years later (or less), outgoing became synonymous with extroverted while shy became a synonym for introverted. And yes, some shy people are introverted, and outgoing people are extroverted. Both can be true, but these are oversimplified explanations of two personality types.
Introversion and extroversion are two absolute ends of one spectrum and most of us are somewhere in the middle or more on one side of the spectrum than the other. Kimball Young defined ambiversion as those who display both traits of introverts and extroverts. It’s safe to say that most of us are ambiverts to some degree.
Ambiverts are able to adapt to social settings to some degree but they enjoy time on their own in the pajamas as well. They are more adaptable and flexible.
Why it’s bad to identify as an introvert?
When someone strongly believes they are introverts they might justify their behavior and keep avoiding human contact while at the same time that doesn’t do them any good.
People who without any strong facts believe they are introverts can avoid social interactions which can have an impact on their social skills. All of this leads to a cycle where we don’t practice our social skills and we use the reason that we are introverts. The next time they have social interaction, they might be anxious under the impression that they are introverts and things might not go well. That one bad social experience can lead to a person avoiding going out at all. It’s a vicious cycle.
Especially now during the pandemic, the opportunities to mingle in large groups are limited and unsafe. We all have to make an effort to have some social interaction through for example video chats or spend some time with loved ones while remaining socially distant. Social interactions will make us feel better. Humans are social human beings. We all are social beings to some degree no matter how often we believe that we are not social and that we are introverts.
How do you know if you are an introvert?
Is it always bad to identify as an introvert? Are we misunderstanding introverts? Let’s go back to the definition. Introverts turn inwards to recharge. There’s nothing bad about it. Nothing weird. There is a way to have a social life as an introvert without getting overwhelmed and exhausted with human interactions.
It’s important to find a difference between social anxieties that people have and introversion. You can leverage introversion and see it as something positive and empowering without avoiding social interaction with the excuse that you are introverted and you can’t do anything about it. That will not serve you in the long run because most of us (if not all of us) need and crave some type of human connection.
It’s time for us not to perceive introversion as a weakness. We can see introversion as something powerful not necessarily as something that is crippling us. In any case, introversion should not be justification and the reason why we are avoiding social contact with people.