We need to stop branding introverts as "boring people", especially when we lack a proper understanding

The Bridge Chronicle looks at defining the different types of introverts
The introvert personality type
The introvert personality typeImage: The Bridge Chronicle

Introverts are the most widely misunderstood beings. Especially in older times, introverts were considered to be disconcerted or just rude in most situations. *Think* When as kids our parents would force us to sing a song or dance when we had visitors. For my cousin, who is fairly extroverted, and also really talented, it was a piece of cake. I even remember someone coming home and telling us, "That other aunty was telling me how well you sing, sing a song for me too. Please!" And my sister would gladly begin singing.

But for the highly introverted kid that I was, gathering the words to talk to someone was in itself a task. This was not because I was scared, or not confident. But more so because I was genuinely not interested. I had realised fairly early, that social conversations did not do so well. But brown parents seldom understand it.

On the other hand, my uncle who shares my ideology never bothered to talk to anybody unless really necessary. He is famously titled "rude" by the family. And he has learned to live with it. However, he is not rude. He is just an introvert.

Over the years, the acknowledgement and acceptance of introversion have increased in manifolds. Especially with the endless number of people taking the 16 types of personality test, and more regular articles and listicles describing introversion. It has become an accepted personality type. However, Jonathan Cheek a psychologist and a psychology professor at Wellesley College, began to notice a discrepancy between the dictionary definition of introverts was and how people experienced it was strikingly different.

The acceptance of it has been on a rise especially during the lockdown when many memes were shared about introverts being ok with the whole concept of a lockdown.

The issue with the whole definition of introverts is that we often try to explain it as "what is not extroversion" For example, Introversion is when someone is not outgoing. Or when someone does not talk a lot in social situations. Or “When you survey a person on the street, asking them to define introversion, what comes up as the prototypical characteristics … are things like thoughtful or introspective,” said Cheek.

One of the reasons for this could be that extroverts are so "out-there" that they overshadow all the introverts. Extroverts are assertive and enthusiastic, while introverts are their opposites (that's how even we understand it) However, it is not necessary.

There is a kind of rule of thumb for being an extrovert or even an ambivert, however none for being an introvert. This problem was originally identified in early 1980 when one study found that the “scientific” and “common-sense” definitions of introversion did not match the actual personality traits of introverted people.

So what are the different kinds of introversion? The Bridge Chronicle explains to you the difference between the four types.

Social Introversion: This is the most typical kind of understanding of introversion where people prefer small groups instead of large groups. Or the kind of people who prefer no groups, rather solitude. “They prefer to stay home with a book or a computer, or to stick to small gatherings with close friends, as opposed to attending large parties with many strangers,” Cheek said. This kind of introversion is also often confused with being shy (as sighted in the example). However, socialising does not necessarily cause anxiety for these people, but they prefer being left alone.

Thinking Introversion: A fairly new understanding of introversion, this kind of introverts usually have a high level of thinking. These kind of people do not avert social events, however, they are thinkers in general and not talkers. These people are introspective, thoughtful and highly self-reflective. “You’re capable of getting lost in an internal fantasy world,” Cheek said. “But it’s not in a neurotic way, it’s in an imaginative and creative way.” Sounds nice.

Anxious introverts: Unlike thinkers and social introverts, anxious introverts prefer being left alone because social situations cause them to feel anxious and awkward. The reason behind it could be that they are not very confident in their social skills. These kinds of people often over-think and imagine all kinds of social situations that can possibly go wrong, however, in reality, most of it is only in their brain.

Restrained: More often known as the reserved kind, these people are introverted and restrain from just speaking things out loud. They prefer thinking over talking or speaking up.

It is important that we understand how introversion works in order to better deal with our introverted friends. That is especially in these times when someone would feel disconnected or uninterested. Because it might not be that the person feels that way, but more so because that's their general personality

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