According to Wikipedia, the terms introvert and extrovert were popularized by the famed Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung and they are central in personality theories and in this case they are personality classifications. The later popular Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is further development of Jung's ideas and it (among other personality classifications) has been criticized in popular and academic circles as too simplistic and not based on reality.
What about these ten "myths"? I have never encountered these kinds of misconceptions about "introverts" or felt the need to reeducate people. I do not even believe introverts and extroverts really exist. Humans are immensely complex creatures and it would be degrading to present them as so easily categorizable. But even if this division of people into two distinct categories was based on reality, these myths are still stupid and misleading.
Let's play with the stereotypes presented in the "myths" by creating 10 Myths About Extroverts. Since in the original article introverts were presented as honest, intelligent and generally better people than others (extroverts), then extroverts must be stupid, superficial and tricky individuals indeed, right? Let's see:
Myth #1 – Extroverts like to talk.This is not true. Extroverts just talk unless they have something to think about. They love small talk. Get an Extrovert thinking about something they are interested in, and they'll be quiet for days.
Myth #2 – Extroverts are bold.Boldness has nothing to do with being an Extrovert. Extroverts are not necessarily interested in people. What they need is an excuse to shut up. They interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Extrovert, be very cautious. Remember to be polite.
Myth #3 – Extroverts are polite.Extroverts always see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be superficial and fake. Fortunately, this is acceptable in most settings, so Extroverts can feel little pressure to fit in, which they find exhilerating.
Myth #4 – Extroverts like people.On the contrary, Extroverts don't value the hundreds of friends they have. They can't count their close friends on two hands. If you are unfortunate enough for an Extrovert to consider you a friend, you probably have a
unreliable backstabber for life. Once you have attracted their attention as being a person of little substance, you're in.
Myth #5 – Extroverts like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Extroverts just like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very slowly, and as a result, need to be there for long to "get it". They'll go on and on to process it all. In fact, all kinds of reflection are absolutely unnecessary for Extroverts.
Myth #6 – Extroverts always want to be with people.
Extroverts are uncomfortable with their own thoughts. That's why they don't think or daydream. They don't like to think about problems and worries. Also, they never get lonely if they don't have anyone to share
their superficial "ideas". They crave an artificial and fake connection with MANY PEOPLE at any time.
Myth #7 – Extroverts are ordinary.
Extroverts are often collectivists. They follow the crowd. They don't care what they are valued for. They think in terms of the crowd and because of that, they never challenge the norm. They make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.
Myth #8 – Extroverts are cool popular kids.
Extroverts are people who primarily look outward, paying close attention to people around them. It's not that they are capable of paying attention to what is going on in their thoughts and emotions, it's just that their outer world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.
Myth #9 – Extroverts know how to relax and have fun.
Extroverts typically relax at bars or night clubs, not in peaceful private homes. Extroverts are thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is not too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are not sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.
Myth #10 – Extroverts can fix themselves and become Introverts.
A world without Extroverts would be a world with few supermodels, game show hosts, singers, door-to-door salesmen, customer care assistants, waitresses and athletes. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Introvert can learn in order to interact with Extroverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Extroverts 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 Extroverts decreases with IQ.
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What do you think? Do you think these descriptions fit your image of yourself or somebody you know? Do you think black-and-white thinking makes the world a better place?