Misperceptions and Myths About Introverts

I have a confession to make, I am an introvert. Yes, I love spending time in nature, reading and spending time in solitude.

Over the years, I have felt misunderstood and struggled to live in a world that has a focus on being an extravert. I have also found a number of the people whom I work with through coaching and workshops, have also struggled with their quiet nature. Subsequently, wanted to write more about this, so I could help unlock the power of introverts for the benefit of everyone.

In this post, I am going to share –

  • The Main Differences between an Introvert and an Extrovert, and
  • 6 Misperceptions and Myths about Introverts.


The Main Differences Between an Introvert and an Extrovert

In the book The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World, Marti Olsen shares the main differences between introverts and extroverts are –

Introverts –

  • Draw energy from their internal world of ideas, emotions and impressions.
  • Conserve energy, can be overstimulated by the outside world and also takes a while to restore energy.
  • Like a narrow, more in-depth focus on accruing knowledge and experiences.
  • Prefer deep relationships, but will feel each of them deeply. Often have fewer friends but more intimacy.

Extroverts –

  • Are energised by the external world of activities, people, places and things.
  • Express themselves easily, concentrate on results and enjoy crowds and action.
  • Thrive on a variety of stimuli when accruing knowledge and experiences.
  • Like to have lots of friends and experiences, knowing a little about everything (being a generalist).

(Location 230-278).


In her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain describes the 3 main differences between introverts and extroverts. They are –

Introverts –

  • Are drawn to the inner world of thought and feeling,
  • Focus on the meaning they make of the events swirling around them, and
  • Recharge their batteries by being alone.

Extroverts –

  • Are drawn to the external life of people and activities,
  • Plunge into the events themselves, and
  • Need to recharge their batteries when they don’t socialise enough.

(Page 9).

Misperceptions and Myths About Introverts

Before I share some of the misperceptions and myths about introverts, it is important to note that introversion is at its root a type of temperament (and yes there is more to you than your temperament, however this we be the focus for this post). We live on a spectrum of temperament. The spectrum of temperament or “north and south of temperament” has on one end introversion and the other extroversion and we all have introvert – extrovert tendencies (i.e. there is no such thing as a pure introvert or extrovert).

Susan writes in Quiet –

“Our lives are shaped as profoundly by personality as by gender or race. And the single most important aspect of personality – the “north and south of temperament,” as one scientist puts it – is where we fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum. Our place on this continuum influences our choice of friends and mates, and how we make conversation, resolve differences, and show love. It affects the careers we choose and whether or not we succeed at them. It governs how likely we are to exercise, commit adultery, function well without sleep, learn from our mistakes, place big bets in the stock market, delay gratification, be a good leader, and ask “what if.” It’s reflected in our brain pathways, neurotransmitters, and remote corners of our nervous systems. Today introversion and extroversion are two of the most exhaustively researched subjects in personality psychology, arousing the curiosity of hundreds of scientists.”

(Page 2.)


Myth 1: “Introverts have nothing to say”

Introverts choose their words carefully and think before speaking. Generally introverts do not like small talk and will speak when they have something to add to a conversation or are asked their opinion. It reminds me of the quote – “God gave us two ears and one mouth, so we ought to listen twice as much as we speak” ~ Irish Proverb.

Myth 2: “Introverts don’t like people”

Introverts do like people! In her book The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World, Marti Olser puts it this way “Introverts like depth and will limit their experiences but feel each of them deeply. Often they have fewer friends but more intimacy. They like to delve deeply in to topics and look for “richness” more than “muchness”. This is why it is important to limit their topics to one or two or they can become overwhelmed. Their mind absorbs information from the outside environment and then reflects on it and expands it. And long after they have taken in the information they are still munching and crunching it.” (location 281).

Myth 3: “Introverts are shy”

It depends on the person and the environment they are in. Introverts can be shy in different situations, however sometimes extraverts can also be shy.

Myth 4: “Introverts are loners and always want to be alone”

Introverts are happy being in their own company and can also be happy in the company of other people. It depends on the people you are with. As Carl Jung wrote – “Loneliness does not come from having no people around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.”

Myth 5: “Introverts are always serious and don’t know how to have fun”

Yes introverts can be serious, however they can also have fun! Introverts have fun when they are with their friends and with people they enjoy the company of. Generally introverts prefer to relax in nature or at home – away from crowds to recharge their energy (however this may not always be the case).

Myth 6: “Introverts need to learn to be extroverts”

In certain situations introverts can be extraverts. However, being an introvert is part of who you are and it is more about accepting and owning that part of yourself. There is nothing wrong with you and you don’t have to change to fit in with other people’s perceptions of you. You have to learn to accept and love yourself for being who you are. Being an introvert is one of the traits that make you you! Besides being an introvert is a gift and something to be celebrated (as is being an extravert).


Over to You…

I hope this post has helped raise awareness and dispel some myths about introverts. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.


If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heartwhy not join our Toolkit?


References –

Cain, S. (2012). Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. USA: Random House.

Olsen, M. (2002). The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World. New York, USA: Workman Publishing Company.


  • Kristy Alford

    Reply Reply June 20, 2015

    Jane, I love this article as I am a classic introvert! Growing up I used to think there was something wrong with me that I couldn’t chit chat in a group and always just preferred to talk one on one to people and have a deeper conversation. Finally I came to realise that everyone is different and that there is nothing wrong with that – you just build on your strengths rather than trying to be something you’re not. Great article, thanks for sharing! Kristy

    • Jane

      Reply Reply June 20, 2015

      Thanks so much Kristy – glad it resonated with you and appreciate you taking the time to share your experience growing up. Warm wishes, Jane xx

  • Patricia Weber

    Reply Reply June 14, 2015

    Great to meet you Jane. I love myth 6 mainly because it’s what I’ve been coaching introverts who sell, or who somehow got that role, ever since a coach helped me find my own uniqueness. One as you say, we accept and own our uniqueness, then we can lead with those in any task we want to or have to take.

    A pleasure to meet you through the Quiet Revolution.

    • Jane

      Reply Reply June 14, 2015

      Thanks so much Pat – lovely to meet you as well and thanks for dropping by 🙂

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