Introverts are misunderstood.
Despite comprising at least 50% of the American population, our internally focused friends get a bad rap for being "too shy" or unemotional. In actuality, introverts are some of the most thoughtful, complex people you'd hope to find.
"The single story many extroverts have about introverts is a familiar one: we’re quiet, shy, aloof, bookish, and shun the spotlight," Beth Buelow, an introvert coach, wrote on her blog. "We’re deep thinkers, smart or geeky, and will always choose solitude over socializing."
These kinds of stereotypes — or "single stories," as Buelow calls them — prevent us from fully understanding the genius of introverted people. Sometimes, extroverts (myself included) need to (literally) STFU and let these thinkers do the talking.
Revelist asked women to share the one thing they wish others knew about being an introvert. Their responses are as enlightening as inspiring as the women themselves.
1. Kristin Obester, 21, Richmond, Virginia
"Just because I don't initiate conversation doesn't mean I don't like someone. I just prefer to spend a lot of my time in solitude."
2. Caitlyn Cannon, 18, New York, NY
"Just because I don't talk a lot that doesn't mean I don't have a lot to say! It just takes a while to get comfortable with you."
3. Zoe Marzo, 28, Los Angeles, CA
"Being quiet isn't something that needs to be overcome. I don't need to be coaxed out of my shell. I like to listen before I talk."
4. Dana Schwartz, 23, New York, NY
5. Heather Henderson, 26, Jacksonville, Florida
"Just because I'm not saying much doesn't mean I'm not invested in the conversation, I just like to listen more than speak."
6. Roslyn Talusan, 24, Toronto, Canada
"i'm not anti social, I'm not tryna to be rude, I'm just tired!!!"
7. Stacey Grant, 24, New York, NY
"Making too many plans in a week is the fastest way to get me to shut down and just stay home. I get overwhelmed easily."
8. Alishia Natiello, 25, Mountain View, CA
"When I say I need alone time, I mean it. I'm not angry at you, I'm not cancelling your plans for better ones, I just need solitude to keep myself at peace."
9. Evette Dionne, 24, Brooklyn, NY
10. Amanda Helling, 27, Minneapolis, Minnesota
"I need alone time to recharge. I prefer conversation in small groups and often shut down in larger ones. If I'm in a large group and have no direct interaction with anyone, I retreat into my head because otherwise it exhausts me."
11. Alex Pastor, 25, Rhode Island
"My ex was an extrovert and we would argue all the time because I wasn't showing emotion in the way that he wanted to receive it. For me, showing emotion is letting someone talk to me and hang out with me all the time, but for him he needed some PDA action that would never happen. Haha."
12. Katie Simpson, 27, Washington, D.C.
"Yes, I like going out, but my private time/space is necessary. Being allowed into my home = trust."
13. Airdrie Makim, 40, Melbourne, Australia
"We need down time.
We need to recharge with solitude if we've been around a lot of people. Houseguests need to not be in my space all the time.
I'm OK with a couple of days but I lose my sanity if it is much longer."
14. Michelle Nugent, 30, Philadelphia, PA
15. "Jessica," 25, New York, NY
"We have thoughts; we have feelings; we have reactions.
Just because we don’t feel compelled to share them widely or with strangers doesn’t make them non-existent, insignificant, or unimportant.
If you’re curious, try having a conversation and that's not in a public forum. Otherwise, please respect the difference in our approaches to interaction and relationships."
16. Morgan Rhodimer, California
"I get chatty when I'm nervous not because I'm outgoing, and I get tired after too much social interaction."
17. Amy W., 48, Canada
"Repeated exposure to racists, homophobes, misogynists and litterers have made my introvertedism grow exponentially. If people weren't horrible I'd hang out with them WAY more.
I should mention, it's totally their loss. I'm SUPER funny, an excellent mimic, I know a gazillion things, have an amazing garden, am generous to a fault and I make a terrific vegan tapas plate!"
It'd benefit all of us to be more comfortable with silence and alone time.
"Our world is so incredibly noisy. We often don’t leave space for silence," Buelow told Revelist. "[Silence] helps us to declutter our minds so that we can think more clearly and hear our own thoughts, rather than just being an echo chamber for all of the talk around us."
"And I don’t know where this noticing originated, but consider this: “listen” and “silent” contain the same letters! In order to really listen, we must be comfortable with staying silent and letting the other person have space to be silent.”
Main image: gpointstudio via iStock