One of the Google searches that led to my blog this week was "lying about being an introvert." And while I'm sure it led the searcher to my Introvert Lies post, it made me think about the inverse possibility - where someone might say they're an introvert when they're not.
Now, obviously not all introverts are the same - my introversion differs from my father's introversion, which differs from my friend Sarah's introversion, and so on and so forth. There are some people I've been surprised to find out identify as introverts, because they behave like so many of my very extroverted friends. So sometimes people you wouldn't think of as introverts, are.
However... sometimes people say they are introverts when they are clearly not. It's usually not a lie as much as a misunderstanding of what introversion means.
Let me clarify.
You are not necessarily an introvert just because:
-You need alone time. Everybody needs alone time sometimes. Introverts need people time sometimes. Very few people are all-the-way one or the other (and, frankly, if they are, that might be unhealthy). I am one of the most introverted people I know and I still have plenty of times when I want to be around people.
-You get depressed. I actually had someone say this to me once. I almost laughed in their face. Introverts and extroverts are both capable of experiencing depression, whether it's medical depression or a melancholy emotional state.
-You are shy. Shy and outgoing are not the same thing as introverted or extroverted. I know quite a few shy extroverts (they're those quiet people who are always willing to hang out with the group but tend not to really come out of their shell for awhile) and outgoing introverts (they have no fear of interaction with people, they just find it draining).
-You are deep. Occasionally this weird stereotype works in favor of introverts - introverts are apparently deep and mysterious, while extroverts are shallow and silly. This is complete nonsense. There are shallow introverts and deep extroverts.
When I meet an obvious extrovert, who constantly surrounds themselves with people and prefers to do everything in groups, and they try to tell me they're actually introverted, it makes me want to yell, "Don't steal my introversion! That's my personality trait, and you are nothing like it! You have your own! Enjoy it!" :-) Really, though, it's never malicious. It just means they don't have a good sense of what introversion actually is, or possibly that they don't have a good sense of who they are, or maybe they are introverted but they're acting in a way that deliberately contradicts who they are (like when I tried to be heavily sociable because I thought introversion was a flaw).
This is another reason for me to write these introversion blogs. There is nothing wrong with reading these and thinking, "Well, I don't identify with any of that, but I think I know somebody who does." And that's OK! I would love to use these not just to encourage introverts, but to educate extroverts on how we tick, because sometimes it can be hard to tell.