Are extroverts really happier? More successful? Do they even know how to stop interrupting and actually listen to other people?
While many would argue that we live in an extroverted world, the truth is that looking up information online returns more search results for introverts. So, it’s not farfetched to assume that some people would hold inaccurate assumptions about extroverts.
Let’s go through some of those myths now.
#1. Extroverts are more confident than introverts
People often mistake extraversion for confidence and introversion for shyness. It’s not actually the same thing. The truth is, there are a lot of shy extroverts and confident introverts out there.
Take Barbra Streisand as an example. Often described as an outgoing person with a larger-than-life personality, Streisand still struggles with stage fright. While she is an extrovert, she still has to deal with bouts of shyness.
On the other hand, self-professed introvert, Bill Gates, is pretty confident in himself. While he prefers solitude and introspection, he’s not afraid of judgment from others or humiliation. He is a confident introvert.
At the end of the day, confidence is a sense of conviction and a state of mind that has nothing to do with introversion or extraversion.
#2. Extroverts are natural public speakers
While an extrovert may be good with conversations, that doesn’t mean that they’re natural-born public speakers. After all, conversing with friends and speaking in front of a large audience are two very different things.
A good public speech requires the speaker to connect with the audience. Extroverts, arguably, tend to project themselves on the audience and focus on what they want to say instead of what the audience wants to hear.
However, introverts, with their predisposed ability to empathise better, can actually make for better public speakers when they are able to connect with the audience on a deeper level.
The reality is that public speaking, just like any other skills, require practice. At the end of the day, a packed hall full of strange faces can make anyone, extrovert or introvert, nervous.
#3. Extroverts are all talk and no substance
Intellect has nothing to do with your introversion or extraversion. Remember, being an extrovert simply means that you recharge best through social interactions. What you socialise about can differ from one extrovert to the next.
While it’s true that most extroverts like engaging in small talk to break down barriers, there are some extroverts who dislike small talk too. Just like introverts, there are extroverts out there who love exploring abstract ideas and concepts as well as going into deep conversations.
The reason why you may be mistaken is because extroverts are often loud thinkers. Verbalising their thought process and bouncing ideas off others can help them think better. So while you may think that an extrovert is seemingly going on and on without any substance, the reality is that they are just working out the problem verbally, whereas introverts will do this in their head.
#4. Extroverts interrupt because they don’t care about you
To the frustration of many introverts, extroverts are well-known for being interruptive. However, you shouldn’t mistake this for malice. Depending on how you define interruptions, the reason for it can vary.
For extroverts, interrupting is just one form of engagement. They are often seen as interrupting because they process information interactively. To introverts who take their time to process information mentally and internally, this can be seen as an interruption.
It all comes down to the individual’s conversational styles. To extroverts, a conversation is a two-way communication. If they interrupt you, it’s probably because that’s how they expect a normal conversation to be.
While there are extroverts who interrupt because they want to focus on themselves, the two are not mutually exclusive.
#5. Extroverts are always happy and don’t suffer from mental health issues
Picture an extrovert. What do you see? Chances are, it’s someone in the middle of a crowd, laughing while telling a joke.
This is not always the case for an extrovert. Like anyone else, they can be affected by mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Being an extrovert doesn’t make you immune to these problems.
In fact, it can be a lot harder to notice these issues among extroverts because they are good at being lively and giving off the impression that everything is going great for them. Additionally, there are simply not enough mental health resources for extroverts.
While an extrovert may seem happier, it’s important you remember that there is more than meets the eye. Everyone has invisible struggles and baggage and it can be dangerous to assume otherwise.
In a world that values extrovert qualities, it might seem like extroverts have it all. The truth is, they can be stereotyped too. These stereotypes are not only inaccurate, but they can also often be insulting. Someone’s extraversion or introversion shouldn’t be their defining feature. Regardless of our preference for socialising, we are all complex human beings. So let’s all practise more empathy and understanding between one another for a better world.