I don’t know if you’ve noticed lately, but there seems to be a new trend in the personality community towards “introversion unity”. You can find countless introvert comics, introvert memes, and introvert web pages across the internet. As an introvert myself I can relate to a lot of these resources.
But some of these comics/articles/memes really get on my nerves. Some make me feel ashamed to be part of this introvert group. While we applaud our introversion, we may be unwittingly (or purposefully) offending or completely misrepresenting extroverts entirely.
Extroverts are not the shallow, obnoxious, revelers they are portrayed to be across the internet. In fact, most of the strengths applied to introversion in these memes or comics apply more to imagination and creativity than introversion at all.
Table of contents
- “I’m an introvert, so I love to read.”
- “Extroverts are never shy!”
- “Extroverts are such attention-seekers!”
- “Extroverts just don’t have the depth that we (introverts) do”
- “Extroverts just can’t stand being alone. Ever.”
- “Extroverts are so loud and overbearing!”
- “I don’t like small talk. So I’m an introvert.”
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
According to Isabel Briggs-Myers book, “Gifts Differing”, extroverts outnumber introverts 3 to 1. This is probably why, historically speaking, extroversion has been considered “normal” while introversion has been seen as “abnormal”. But times have changed. Great advances have been made in understanding introverts, more introverts are expressing their needs through social media, and more introverts are able to work from home. We aren’t the “pariahs” we once were. It’s true that some introverts may still face pressure to be more extroverted, but it’s definitely a rarer occurrence.
If you look up introvert comics on Google you will find hundreds of pro-introversion comics. You’d be hard-pressed to find a meme or comic that criticizes introverts. If you look up ‘extrovert comics’ you’ll find a HUGE number of condescending memes and comics like the one below.
Really? I don’t know about you, but I’ve met plenty of introverts and extroverts who are terrible listeners.
“I’m an introvert, so I love to read.”
We’ve all seen those comic strips with the introvert reading a book, sipping tea and snuggling with a cat. But really, extroverts enjoy their fair-share of tea-sipping, book-reading, cat-snuggling fun too.
My ESFP mom read countless books to me as a child. She introduced me to Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie, and Alexandre Dumas. And yes. She was an ESFP, a type which many intuitives like to call “shallow” or “flaky”. Then there was my dad, an ENTJ, who would gather us together to read theological books written centuries ago.
Extroverts can love reading just as much as any introvert. They may enjoy discussing what they read more, or they prefer a social gathering now and then, but they are not the illiterate loudmouths that they’re portrayed to be.
“Extroverts are never shy!”
Shyness has nothing to do with introversion or extroversion. An extrovert can be just as shy, maybe even more so, than an introvert.
Jung firmly believed that shyness was not exclusive to the E/I preference. Anyone can be shy. Just like anyone can be imaginative. Or anyone can hate small talk.
Let’s take a look at what the official Myers-Briggs® web site has to say:
“Everyone spends some time extraverting and some time introverting. Don’t confuse Introversion with shyness or reclusiveness. They are not related.”
What does it REALLY mean to be an extrovert? It means that your energy flows outwards, towards the world of people and activities. Extroverts put their energy out into the world more readily and more often than introverts do. That’s all. They don’t have a magical immunity to shyness. Nobody does.
“Extroverts are such attention-seekers!”
Extroverts AND introverts both enjoy positive social feedback from others. Neither one is innately more attention-seeking than the other.
While an extrovert may crack jokes and circulate through a party with ease, the introvert may express themselves through writing a letter, or corresponding with their friends on social media. Extroverts may enjoy face-to-face affirmation more, but an introvert may light up with written affirmation from a friend or loved one.
“Extroverts just don’t have the depth that we (introverts) do”
This is one of the biggest statements extroverts are especially tired of hearing. Yes, extroverts are sociable and energetic. That does not mean they have no depth or intellectual, philosophical interests.
“ I get tired of people assuming that I am shallow, flighty, and immature simply because I can engage in small talk and I have an open, friendly, adventurous personality. Sociable people think big, deep thoughts and enjoy having deep/intellectual conversations too! Just because we can operate on a superficial level does not mean that is the only way we can or like to operate. “
– Dani, an ENFP
A lot of the introvert articles I’ve read attribute imagination and creativity with introversion. These traits don’t have anything to do with introversion. Just look at Walt Disney (an ENTP), Salvador Dali (an ENFP), or Ernest Hemingway (an ESTP). Are you going to tell me these people weren’t imaginative or creative?
Introverts do not have the monopoly on depth.
“Extroverts just can’t stand being alone. Ever.”
Everyone wants alone time. One of the amazing things about the MBTI® is that it confirms that EVERYONE is a kind of ambivert.
We each have two extraverted and two introverted functions. Even extroverts can wear out from over-socializing because their psyche needs that alone time to access their introverted functions. For example, an ESFJ has the following functions:
Dominant: Extraverted Feeling
Auxiliary: Introverted Sensing
Tertiary: Extraverted Intuition
Inferior: Introverted Thinking
Extroverts feel more at home when they can express themselves in the outer world. But they still need alone time. They just need less of it than introverts do.
“Extroverts are so loud and overbearing!”
Extroverts may enjoy a lively crowd, in fact, they mentally may even NEED more stimulation to feel alert and content but that doesn’t mean they are innately obnoxious or over-bearing. I’ve met soft-spoken extroverts, loud extroverts, extroverts who listen more than talk, and extroverts who are activity-oriented but get bored during long conversations.
I’ve also met introverts who are deep, introverts who are shallow, introverts who can talk non-stop with the right person, and introverts who are quiet and thoughtful. Just because extroverts may enjoy a loud party doesn’t mean they are inherently loud. And most of the time they have no intention of bothering you or “forcing” you to interact with them.
“I don’t like small talk. So I’m an introvert.”
I don’t think I’ve met a single person who just thrives on talking about the weather or which way the wind blows. Certain types are more likely to talk about day-to-day activities, projects, or family affairs, but this has nothing to do with extroversion or introversion.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Do you feel misunderstood as an extrovert or introvert? Share your experiences or thoughts in the comments!
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