Speak up more. Stop being so shy. Be more social. Don’t take things so seriously. These are all things I heard growing up. People often assume that there is something wrong with a person if they don’t thrive in social situations, if they don’t have as many friends, and prefer to spend time alone. But what’s wrong with that? Why is being an extrovert considered better than being an introvert?

There is no clear-cut line of demarcation between introverts and extroverts. You could be an extrovert and still be shy. You could be an introvert and still be outgoing, and talkative, and enjoy socializing and meeting new people. But they also enjoy spending time by themselves, recovering and energizing on their own. Not everyone understands this concept and that’s why they are often misunderstood.

Being an introvert, it’s really frustrating at times how much people misunderstand us. We’re told to change parts of who we are from a very young age, drilling into our heads the idea that there is something wrong with us. School and work environments are designed for extroverts to thrive in, often not very accommodating for introverts.

People often assume an introvert to be shy. They misunderstand an introvert being quiet as them being rude or arrogant, which is often not the case. Introverts often process more information than extroverts do and don’t usually enjoy making small talk. However, this leads to other people assuming the worst when interacting with them. It’s also a common misconception that an introvert hates people and is termed “anti-social”. More often than not, this isn’t true. Most introverts enjoy talking to people they are comfortable with and can hold long conversations as well.

Another common misconception is that people assume introverts are not as intelligent as extroverts and cannot be as successful as them. They expect introverts to go with the flow, avoid the spotlight and dislike working in groups, and lack leadership qualities. There is no reason for any of this to be true. History has shown that many successful people were introverts and that did not stop them from achieving great things. Studies have also shown that introverts perform better under the spotlight and as leaders. They are creative and thoughtful and have good intuition and insight. By harnessing their strengths, they have shown to be just as successful, if not more, as extroverts.

We have always been told to be ourselves, to not pretend to be someone else to fit in. So, it can be really frustrating constantly hearing people tell you to change and act in a certain way. But it has also been encouraging to see people trying to understand introverts and not judge us for who we are. If people put in a little more effort and tried to look past their misconceptions, it would help a lot of people feel more comfortable in their own skin.

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