Extroverts are often described as big-hearted, charismatic, and friendly, while introverts are labeled as taciturn, guarded, and lonely. In modern society, we tend to value extrovert traits over introvert traits.
As an introvert myself, I often feel inclined to bust the assumptions people make about introverts. Both personality types have their pros and cons, but since introverts are less likely to speak out, less is known about them. About one-third of the Earth's population is comprised of introverts, so you likely know more introverts than you may think.
Some common misconceptions about introverts
Introverts are either (a) impolite or (b) extremely sweet with no opinions of their own.
They hate people.
They think they are better than everyone else.
They spend too much time thinking when they should be acting instead.
For years, I thought there was something wrong with me because I had been fed these misconceptions. I felt guilty for wanting to stay at home with a book rather than go to a party with the "cool" kids. I can't count the number of times people said to me, "I used to think you were stuck up until I got to know you," just because I wasn't as talkative as the other kids. It wasn't until I was much older that I began to embrace my introversion and acknowledge it as one of my strengths rather than one of my weaknesses.
Here are some common characteristics of introverts
Introverts are deep thinkers and are very good at entertaining themselves. This doesn't mean that they can't thrive in a group setting, but if given the choice they prefer to work independently.
Their small-talk skills aren't anything to boast of, but introverts are above-average listeners. They also prefer deep, meaningful conversations to the unavoidable getting-to-know-you conversations.
Introverts generally have to be dragged to parties and will need a lot of time — a couple of days, even — to recharge.
Not all introverts are shy, just like not all extroverts are outgoing.
Introverts hate being put on the spot. They prefer to think things through before making decisions.
In a sentence, an introvert is someone who re-energizes by being alone or meditating. They possess qualities that make good leaders, parents, teachers, and other roles that people often associate with the more outgoing types.