I love being an introvert. From the very bottom of my soul it makes me happy and I couldn’t be prouder of what makes me, me!
But if I’m being completely honest, there is something that gets me angry and frustrated.
It’s not that I spent far too long trying to be an extrovert or that I still have to explain to some people that choosing to stay home on a weekend doesn’t upset me… it’s the way introverts are portrayed so inaccurately across social media. It’s like people want to justify their reasons for not liking something, usually social, and pass it off as introversion.
I recently saw a post on Instagram along the lines of:
“Every introvert’s worst nightmare is being asked to dance at a party!”
Now before I get into why this post bothered me so much, I will admit that ‘forced’ fun, especially dancing, is not my favourite thing. By that I mean when you’re somewhere where it’s the last place you would expect to do it - like a staff meeting, a zoom call or when you're out for a nice meal and suddenly the staff burst into song and dance . As a restrained introvert, it fills me with absolute dread when someone suggests singing or dancing when I’m not expecting it or in the right situation. However, if I’m out with friends or at a wedding, you best believe I’m spending most of my night on the dancefloor!
I get this post was meant to be humorous and may seem fairly innocent. But from an outside perspective, when you are learning more about who you are and what makes you and others tick, it can push your self-esteem down further. Once the initial giggle in your head dies down, your subconscious gets to work to piece this new information together:
I am an introvert.
This post was about introverts.
If I’m a true introvert then this applies to me.
If I don’t dance, that might make me seem boring.
People won’t find me interesting or like me.
I need to find a way to fit in or risk being criticised.
All from one small, seemingly meaningless post. This link won't happen for everyone - it all depends on how secure you are with yourself and whether any criticisms from your past still have a hold over you.
What upset me about this post though, was that it paints us all with the same brush.
Yes, we all share a common trait of getting our energy by being alone and there are aspects of our personalities that are very similar - but to say that we all like, or dislike, something just because we are introverts, is incorrect.
You can be an introvert and enjoy dancing. You can also be an introvert and hate dancing.
Not all introverts:
Dislike meeting new people
Avoid being the centre of attention
Get anxious around other people
Like being alone all the time
Only want to see people once a year
So, what I'm trying to say is...there will always be people who get you wrong or make assumptions about you, but knowing yourself is more important.
When you see something online that gives introverted people a specific trait, question if it’s true for you. We share some traits, but we are not the same.