Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Introverts

Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Introverts

The world often sees introversion as being shy, antisocial, or even a personality flaw, but these stereotypes miss the mark. Introverts are simply wired differently, and they have a lot more going on inside than the surface might suggest. Here are some of the biggest misconceptions people have about this personality type — they’re not only unfair but can be seriously damaging.

1. Introverts hate people.

This isn’t the case at all. Introverts value connection, but often prefer smaller groups or one-on-one interactions over large, chaotic gatherings. They build deep friendships and can be amazingly empathetic listeners because they focus on the quality of connection over quantity. They love people, they just don’t relish being in massive crowds of them all the time.

2. All introverts are shy.

Shyness stems from social anxiety, introversion from how a person recharges. Some introverts are indeed shy, but many are socially confident. They just find prolonged socializing draining and need alone time to replenish their energy. Don’t mistake their preference for quiet with a lack of social skills.

3. Introverts want to be extroverts.

Society often praises extroversion as the ideal, Harvard Business Review notes. This can make introverts feel like there’s something wrong with them. But introversion is a natural temperament, not a flaw that needs to be fixed. Healthy introverts embrace their strengths and design a life that honors their energy needs.

4. Introverts can’t be leaders.

Pensive young man looking off in the distance while out for a walk alone in a park in spring

The stereotypical leader is loud and assertive, but introverts offer different leadership strengths: thoughtful decision-making, active listening, empowering those around them, and a calm focus that’s particularly valuable in a crisis. They might not be the loudest voices, but their impact is undeniable.

5. Introverts have nothing to say.

Just because an introvert isn’t filling every silence doesn’t mean they’re empty-headed. They often prefer observing and thinking deeply before speaking. Given space, their insights can be surprising and profound. Don’t mistake a quiet exterior for a lack of an inner voice.

6. Introverts are unhappy or depressed.

Enjoying and even craving alone time gets mislabeled as sadness. Introverts genuinely savor time alone to read, get creative, or simply decompress in the quiet. They might experience social anxiety in some settings, but their baseline state is often one of calm contentment, not misery.

7. Introverts can be “cured.”

Introversion is a core part of personality, not some kind of weird bad habit that needs breaking. With pressure, an introvert can fake extroversion for a while, but it’s incredibly exhausting. Instead of trying to change them, respect their boundaries and appreciate the different energy they bring to the mix.

8. Introverts can’t handle public speaking.

While some introverts dread the spotlight, others thrive in public speaking roles. With careful preparation, they can deliver powerful, thought-provoking presentations. They often dislike spontaneous small-talk, but when given a topic they’re passionate about, they can shine on stage.

9. Introverts can’t enjoy parties.

Copy space shot of bored young woman sitting at table with hand under chin, wearing a fun party hat and blowing a party horn while celebrating her birthday alone.

They can! But their approach might differ from extroverts who seemingly thrive on constant stimulation. Introverts might enjoy a party for a shorter duration, take breaks for quiet chats, seek out one-on-one conversations, or prefer the role of keen observer, soaking in the vibe rather than being the center of attention.

10. All introverts love working alone.

Some introverts crave work that allows for focused, independent tasks. However, too much isolation can get stifling for anyone, the CDC points out. Introverts still benefit from human connection, whether it’s short check-ins with colleagues, finding a work buddy for occasional brainstorming, or joining projects that require some collaboration.

11. Introverts are rude.

Sometimes, an introvert’s need to recharge after socializing might be mistaken for rudeness. They might leave an event without a big goodbye, decline invitations with minimal explanation, or go quiet during group hangouts. This is rarely intentional rudeness, simply self-preservation to avoid total burnout.

12. Introverts don’t need anyone.

Everyone needs some level of human connection. Introverts may have a smaller circle of close friends, but those bonds are incredibly deep. They crave intimacy, authenticity, and feeling truly seen by the people they choose to let in. Don’t underestimate the importance of those few treasured relationships in an introvert’s life.

13. Introverts have low self-esteem.

woman portrait green background©iStock/Klubovy

Enjoying your own company is a sign of healthy self-esteem! Introverts often feel content with their own thoughts and pursuits. Their inner world is their sanctuary, and they don’t rely on constant external validation to feel good about themselves.

14. Introverts are afraid to put themselves out there.

Some are risk-averse, but others boldly pursue their passions. They might research thoroughly before making a move, prefer smaller initial risks over grand leaps, but don’t assume they’re too timid to chase their dreams. Think of the introvert artists, writers, and entrepreneurs who create incredible things, often fueled by the focus and solitude their temperament offers.

15. Introverts always need to be drawn out of their shell.

Sometimes, just let them be! Respecting their space and quieter nature is more welcoming than pressuring them to talk. Offer genuine interest through open-ended questions, but accept that they may give shorter answers than an extrovert. Silence doesn’t always need to be filled, and sometimes the best connection happens in the comfortable quiet.

16. Introverts don’t get FOMO.

They might experience JOMO – the Joy Of Missing Out! The idea of staying in with a good book on a Friday night can be more appealing than a crowded party. While introverts enjoy social connection, they are less driven by what everyone else is doing, prioritizing activities that align with their values and energy reserves.

17. Introverts are better than extroverts (or vice versa).

Both introversion and extroversion exist on a spectrum, and both are valuable! The world needs people who initiate action, forge connections easily, and those who think deeply, offer measured insights, and recharge through quiet contemplation. Instead of one being superior, recognizing what each brings to the table fosters a richer and more nuanced society.

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Originally from Australia, Emma Mills graduated from the University of Queensland with a dual degree in Philosophy and Applied Linguistics before moving to Los Angeles to become a professional matchmaker (a bit of a shift, obviously). Since 2015, she has helped more than 150 people find lasting love and remains passionate about bringing amazing singletons together.

Emma is also the author of the upcoming Hachette publication, "Off the Beaten Track: Finding Lasting Love in the Least Likely of Places," due out in January 2025.