There are a lot of myths that come with being an introvert. And there are plenty of things that introverts would love for others to know, just to make things clearer. So Reddit user Velvetxily asked their fellow internet introverts to share one thing they’d wish that extroverts would understand about them in a viral thread. Scroll down, upvote the responses that you agree with, and let us know whether you think you’re an introvert or an extrovert in the comments, dear Pandas.

Bored Panda reached out to Velvetxily and spoke to her about her viral thread, the inspiration behind it, and what she thinks about the dynamic between introverts and extroverts. "I myself an introvert," she admitted, adding that she created the thread to understand how all the other introverts feel about the myths that surround them. "The greatest myth is that introverts are shy and extroverts are not shy. I think it's not about shyness. Introverts gain energy by being alone and extroverts gain energy by being with others."

We also spoke to Dr. Andrew Spark from the Queensland University of Technology, who has done research about the link between introversion and leadership. “It is clear that introverts think about social interaction differently to extraverts, which may result in introverts choosing not to engage in the behaviors that may assist them into leadership roles (despite being perfectly capable of engaging in such behaviors).” Read on for Dr. Spark’s insightful and detailed analysis, as well as his take on the myths surrounding introversion.

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#1

Alone is not the same thing as lonely.

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Eirik Johnsbråten
Community Member
1 month ago

Yes! Loneliness has nothing to do with physical presence of other people. You can be lonely in a group of friends.

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#2

Just because I’m a good listener doesn’t mean you can constantly use me as your soundboard/therapist.

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Charlotte Stewart
Community Member
1 month ago

I wish I could upvote this more than once. People need to hear this.

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#3

Not all introverts are shy and quiet.

I tend to be loud and outgoing with people I know and/or like, for a certain amount of time. Then I need to crawl into my hole and recharge. Interaction with more than one person at a time exhausts me, and I can't deal with more than one social event a week. The fact that I sometimes I talk a lot, I can hold eye contact and don't completely suck at small talk doesn't make me any less introverted.

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troufaki13
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

I'm like that. I even enjoy making small-talk with total strangers, but I will always choose my cat over people >^.^

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“My research on introversion and leadership focuses on how introverts and extroverts think and feel about the behaviors required of leaders in leadership situations. Leadership roles typically require one to act in ways that are generally better suited to extroverts (e.g., to be assertive, social, bold, etc.). For many decades, we have known that extroverts tend to perform better in leadership roles and are selected into leadership roles more often, however, more recent scientific work has been exploring how and why this happens,” Dr. Spark from QUT told Bored Panda.

“In my own work, my colleagues and I found that one of the reasons introverts are not seen to be as ‘leaderlike’ by others is because they think that leadership situations are going to be unpleasant. The technical name for this is ‘affective forecasting.’ Affective forecasting refers to the expectation we have of our future emotions, which is to say that we make a prediction about how we will feel in a future situation.”

He continued: “Introverts are known to underpredict how good they will feel in future social interactions if they forecast themselves acting extroverted (because, perhaps surprisingly, acting extroverted is actually quite enjoyable, even for introverts). Given leadership situations require extroverted behavior, we expected that introverts’ propensity to forecast more negative affect would probably help to explain why they do not rise into leadership positions as much as extroverts. This is indeed what we found.”

#4

I’m not depressed or lonely. I genuinely enjoy staying home and spending time by myself.

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Adam C
Community Member
1 month ago

sometimes we get tired of extroverts b*tching about small things.

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#5

Lockdown is pretty much how I live my life anyway. Contactless delivery has been an awesome addition.

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Oathbraker
Community Member
1 month ago

That and ordering takeout food online without having to make a phone call.

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#6

It's not that I don't want to talk to you, it's that I straight up don't want to talk. At all. To anyone.

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mph seti
Community Member
1 month ago

Yup. Sometimes (often, really) I don't feel like being social. It doesn't mean I don't like you, am an elitist, aloof, or mad. I just honestly prefer to be alone (or just one on one) more often then I feel like being in groups of people.

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Dr. Spark told us that the question now is whether we can change how introverts think about social interaction so that they could have a better chance of rising into leadership positions. He added that this can be important because, in some situations, introverts can be more effective than extroverts. “We simply don’t know the answer to this yet, though, so more research is needed.”

The researcher told Bored Panda that one of the biggest myths surrounding introversion and extroversion is that they’re common. “Because extroversion is a continuum, most people actually fall somewhere around the middle of the continuum. These people are sometimes called ‘ambiverts.’”

Dr. Spark continued: “Also, there is no official cut-off on someone’s score before they are said to be an extrovert or an introvert, however, as a very rough rule of thumb (assuming you really want to divide people up into categories) it would not be unreasonable to say that 15-20% of the population are noticeably extroverted and 15-20% of the population are noticeably introverted. The remaining 60-70% of the population are probably more difficult to pigeon hole and hence may be better thought of as ambiverts.”

#7

I saw this quote a year ago and it sums it up perfectly.

I like being alone. I have control over my own space. Therefore, in order to win me over, your presence has to be better than my solitude. You're not competing with another person, you are competing with my comfort zone.

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kasa alex
Community Member
1 month ago

this.

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#8

Stop trying to 'change' introversion. It's not a flaw. If i don't want to dance, don't push me saying im shy. If i don't want to flirt in a club, stop saying i should get over it. Stop pushing me to be 'more social'. Also, I do enjoy time by myself. I don't feel depressed or lonely. Just stop pushing in general.

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ThreeOfAKind
Community Member
1 month ago

People act as if extroversion is "normal", and everyone else needs to be "fixed".

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#9

That we need to recharge after so much interaction.

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mph seti
Community Member
1 month ago

This too. Just being at work in a cubicle farm for 8 hours is usually all the human interaction I want/need for a day. When I'm off work, 90% of the time I'd rather be by myself or with just one person.

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According to Dr. Spark, another myth is that introverts can’t be extroverted. “A large body of evidence shows that introverted people actually engage in quite a number of extroverted behaviors in their daily lives as the specific situation demands, despite having a preference to be quiet and reserved. Equally, extroverted people engage in quite a number of introverted behaviors in their daily lives. That said, it is interesting that extroverted people have been shown to sometimes struggle when having to act introverted (e.g., in this study, they experienced a decline in their cognitive ability).”

Bored Panda was also interested to hear Dr. Spark’s thoughts about the link between introversion and having to ‘recharge’ more often from social interactions.

“It is a common assumption that introverts need to recharge more after social interaction. However, the research on this issue is mixed. For example, in this study, scientists found that both introverts and extroverts experienced mental depletion after interacting with others and that this depletion occurred approximately 3 hours after the interaction,” he went into detail.

#10

I was social distancing before it was cool

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Rowlie
Community Member
1 month ago

I was actually surprised how little my life has changed during quarantine

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#11

Just because I don't want to go out doesn't mean I don't like you.

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Barbara Seeberger
Community Member
1 month ago

Just because I don't want to go out doesn't mean I don't want to be asked if I would like to go out

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#12

If you point out that I'm quiet I'm 100x less likely to ever open up to you.

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Cat Nip Gal
Community Member
1 month ago

So true

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“It didn’t make any difference if the person was introverted or extroverted. Then again, this study found that introverts experience slightly more negative emotion, tiredness and more feelings of inauthenticity when acting extroverted, despite also experiencing more positive emotion (note that positive and negative emotion are actually different processes rather than being polar opposites, so it is possible to be high on both). The jury is still out on this issue, which might come as a surprise to many!”

Dr. Spark added: “A lot more research needs to be done to understand how and why introverts think differently and whether we can uncover ways to encourage introverts into leadership positions given that they are quite capable of effective leadership in certain situations.”

#13

Not every silence is awkward and needs to be filled. Just keep quiet for a moment, especially in the morning

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kasa alex
Community Member
1 month ago

ESPECIALLY in the morning

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#14

If I'm quiet, I promise I'm not judging you or anything around us. 99% of the time, I'm thinking about something totally unrelated.

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Pandola
Community Member
1 month ago

yes. I'm in my head...

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#15

That it’s very frustrating when they announce you’re super quiet and don’t talk much..... yeah obviously I f**kin knew that thanks

Also please don’t tell us to smile more

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Yumeng Li
Community Member
1 month ago

True, why should I fake a smile if I'm not even happy?

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Velvetxily, who created the original Reddit thread, told us that, in their opinion, the line between introverts and extroverts is this: "[People] feeling happiness and satisfaction with being with themselves are introverts. [People] feeling happiness and satisfaction with being with others are extroverts."

The redditor shared that they live in a suburban area in a developing country where there's a lot of pressure to speak up, have many friends, and to be more social. "Some of them don't even about a term 'introvert.' They always ask 'Why are you so quiet? Why don't you speak freely like others?." I hope that this stigma get removed. I wish that being introvert should be accepted as normal thing in the society."

Velvetxily’s thread was wildly successful. Not only did they get over 15.8k upvotes and a handful of Reddit awards, but their post also started a massive discussion with more than 5.5k comments! That just shows how many misconceptions extroverts might have about their introverted pals.

#16

Pointing out how quiet I am won't suddenly make me talkative.

It sounds like you're pointing out a flaw that you dislike about me which makes me unnecessarily uncomfortable around you. I remain even more quiet than I usually would be because I feel judged and unwelcome for simply being myself. Not to mention, it comes so out of nowhere.

It's as if I told you "you talk a lot" with a straight face. You wouldn't take it as a compliment. It doesn't even sound like an observation that should be said out loud. You'd just wonder what the hell was the point of me saying that to you.

Honestly, how do you even reply to this without sounding offended or snarky?

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Sean Merchant
Community Member
1 month ago

God yes!! I have wanted many times to tell someone to just be quiet and quit babbling. I would be viewed incredibly rude though.

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#17

I'm not lazy, I just need time to recover.

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Pandola
Community Member
1 month ago

true

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#18

I don't hate you. I'm not mad. I'm just quiet. Also, I hate phonecalls. My family and my best friend I don't mind being on the phone with. Work calling me is tolerable. Anyone else? Forget it! Just text me!

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Marci King-Shelton
Community Member
1 month ago

I wish I could upvote this a 1,000 times.

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Myths like the idea that introverts are shy and hate socializing with people end up confusing us. Dr. Juli Fraga told Healthline that introversion and extroversion are personality characteristics that are influenced by nature and nurture. They’re deal more with how we recharge, less with how we act.

“Extroversion and introversion refer to where people receive energy from. Extroverts are energized by socializing in larger groups of people, having many friends, instead of a few intimate ones while introverts are energized by spending time alone or with a smaller group of friends,” the psychologist explained.

Dr. Fraga pointed out that introverts aren’t anti-social or anything like that. They enjoy building relationships and socializing with others just as much as extroverts. However, one thing that’s different is their “tolerance level” for how much socializing they’re comfortable with.

#19

I live alone on a farm. I don't go out to the local bars. I don't try to date any locals. Some weeks I dont ever leave the property. And people always ask me. How I can stand to live in the middle of nowhere. Well s**t thats the easy part.

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Pandola
Community Member
1 month ago

lucky you

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#20

We're not inferior or less mature just because we don't feel the need to talk over people. In fact, that's actually what we think about you when you needlessly blurt out rude comments.

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Lousha
Community Member
1 month ago

Exactly. It's like when my father is polite (e.g. helping an obviously frail old lady to get on a bus) and someone compliments him and says you're so great for doing that, and he's like no, this is about the minimum between human beings, you're just used to a**holes. Same way I never understood how is it that I'm the weirdo for NOT wanting to waste my time with empty conversations with strangers I'll never see again about stuff neither of us gives two shakes? For being completely content not talking when we have no need to talk to each other?

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#21

This is something I saved from a while back when someone asked this question. It helps to explain some basics of a introvert so hope this helps you guys as much as it helped me! "Introvert here, I wish everyone - intoverts included - understood the meaning of being introverts. Myth #1 : Introverts don’t like to talk. This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days. Myth #2 : Introverts are shy. Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite. Myth #3 : Introverts are rude. Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting. Myth #4 : Introverts don’t like people. On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in. Myth #5 : Introverts don’t like to go out in public. Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts. Myth #6 : Introverts always want to be alone. Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time. Myth #7 : Introverts are weird. Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy. Myth #8 : Introverts are aloof nerds. Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them. Myth #9 : Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun. Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up. Myth #10 : Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts. A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ. And also:• Being introvert doesn't mean shy• Being introvert doesn't mean having social anxiety"

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Emerald Joanna
Community Member
1 month ago

I am an introvert but really don't agree with the majority of what this person is saying...especially the comment about introverts not beating around the bush with social pleasantries. What a gross generalisation.

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See Also on Bored Panda

If you’re at a party that goes on for a week straight, you’ll eventually find that you have a limit for how much you can socialize, too, even if you’re the biggest extrovert around. Introverts simply need more breaks from socializing so that they can be fully invested when they’re hanging out with the people that they care about.

Another myth that needs to be busted is that introverts supposedly take fewer risks than extroverts. According to Dr. Fraga, our fears and desires are distinct from being intro- and extroverted.

She also pointed out that people tend to mix confidence and being an extrovert together which creates misconceptions about introverts supposedly being shy. Dr. Fraga said that confidence isn’t about being social all the time and having a huge number of friends; confidence is all about knowing what’s best for you and following through.

#22

Most times I don't want to be bothered especially after working all day and putting up with noise and people. It's draining to be around people all day and when I come home it's "Me" time. I can only be around people for so long and I start feeling edgy if I can't just tune out.

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Rowlie
Community Member
1 month ago

Due to coronavirus we work in shifts: half of the staff from home/ half from the office and it is so much easier to focus with less people around

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#23

Sometimes being around people who neglect you feels more lonely than being alone.

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Sabrena Patterson
Community Member
1 month ago

That's why I like to keep to myself. I've worked with the public all my life and excelled at it. I'm just now finding out I'm an introvert. I always thought I was an extrovert. 62 and still learning about myself!

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#24

Yes its possible to play games all day everyday and not use a mic to communicate.

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mph seti
Community Member
1 month ago

And we don't all want multiplayer and/or always online games! I'm tired of multi-player being viewed as necessary now in game development. Sure, it a pillar of an MMO. But that should be it. I like my RPGs and action/adventures to be solo.

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#25

If I haven't made eye contact in 20 minutes and I've said "right" as many times, it might be time to enjoy some silence. Speaking of silence, it's f**king golden.

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Courtney Christelle
Community Member
1 month ago

And duct tape is silver.

#26

Spending time with 1-3 friends is fantastic.

Doing the same with 10+ people, even if you like all of them, blows.

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El Dee
Community Member
1 month ago

Yes, I've never understood this. How can you enjoy people's company when it's so frenetic? I enjoy catching up with friends but mostly on a one to one basis..

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#27

We are not necessarily "lonely." People just assume people who are introverted are lonely and depressed. I'm not depressed, I just like being by myself.

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Rowlie
Community Member
1 month ago

If I feel lonely it's usually when I'm surrounded by other people, like I don't belong.

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#28

Just because we’re introverts, doesn’t mean we’re not interesting or have no hobbies. We have our own set of pastimes and likings, but sometimes we’re just not in a comfortable setting to share or talk about them.

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Rowlie
Community Member
1 month ago

I'd say there is even more time for hobbies because it is not spent socializing

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#29

Texts are emails not instant chats

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1Candysweets
Community Member
1 month ago

Yes

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#30

That I’ll talk but I need 7-10 business days to think about what I’m going to say and revise it at least 14 times before I say it.

If you ask me a question and I don’t answer for a minute I’m not trying to be an asshole or ignoring you but I am STRUGGLING to come up with the proper words to say. A lot of the time I don’t even realize just how long I have to think to conjure up the words to convey what I’m trying to say.. especially if it’s something to do with how I feel and somebody else’s feelings are involved trying to figure out what to say feels like diffusing a bomb sometimes lol

Which is why typing is 10x better, (and I always turn off the little typing animation if I can so that people don’t make fun of me for typing for 10 minutes to say two sentences lol)

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The Pants with Nobody Inside
Community Member
1 month ago

The 7-10 business days is an exaggeration, but the observations are on point. Introverts communicate much better in writing than verbally. We pause when we speak because we're searching our brains for how to adequately express our ideas without blathering on and not making sense. Introverted perfectionists like to be concise and not misunderstood. Problems occur when extroverts hear a pause and start filling it with noise. Hey, just because I've paused in expressing my thoughts doesn't mean I've finished speaking, and your interruptions are not just rude but they show that you're really not listening at all but just waiting for an opportunity to blurt out whatever's on your mind. That's poison to an introvert. Just shut up, be patient and listen.

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