Introvert or extrovert: Everyone on TikTok thinks they’re an introvert, but the truth is ‘layered’ – Michmutters

Introvert or extrovert: Everyone on TikTok thinks they’re an introvert, but the truth is ‘layered’

There’s been a weird trend on my social media pages of late – and it’s time to talk about it. Everyone is claiming to be an introvert, and all those people clearly think they’re better than others because of it.

It’s become so much so that it’s really starting to feel like people claiming to be introverts are the new hipster … except that no one seems to know what an introvert actually is.

For example, on of the most popular TikTok videos under #introvert on TikTok says the four things you should never do to an introvert are invite other people to something without telling them, video chat out of nowhere, take them to a gathering then just ditch them and finally to volunteer them to speak in front of a group.

Am I a secret introvert, or are these all just common social expectations and courtesies you should follow for any type of person?

It’s just a bit rude to invite someone else to an intimate gathering without a heads up. Calling or video chatting out of nowhere if you’re under the age of 35 is straight up serial killer behaviour.

I love being social and meeting new people, but if my friend took me to a party where I didn’t know anyone and then proceeded to ignore me for the rest of the night, I could only assume they weren’t a very good friend .

And finally, I can talk to absolutely anyone at a party, but put me on stage in front of those people and my brain freezes – so is anyone actually forcing people to speak in front of groups against their will?

Maybe the problem is that people are confusing bad friends for their own introversion.

But I’m getting ahead of myself – let’s narrow down what being an introvert or extrovert actually means.

What is an introvert?

“Introverts and extroverts basically refer to personality types that operate on each side of the spectrum when it comes to personality traits and their approach to socializing,” explained psychologist Nancy Sokarno from online counseling service Lysn.

“Introverts by nature are typically quiet and reserved, and often prefer spending time alone. Extroverts on the other hand operate on the opposite end of the spectrum and are considered outgoing, loud, and enjoy attention from others, along with socializing with others.”

Pretty simple really, yet my socials tell me there are a lot of myths around introverts and extroverts that we need to just nip it in the bud.

Why are we seeing a rise of self-proclaimed introverts?

According to Ms Sokarno, it’s yet another change brought on by the global pandemic.

“The past three years with the pandemic meant that many of us were forced to spend our lives that way,” she explained.

“The pandemic meant we couldn’t really socialize. We even had to cover up a bit of our faces with masks which meant many of us weren’t connecting with people in a way we are used to, or even were avoiding interactions altogether.

“That in itself meant some people got used to spending their time in the same way an introvert might (even if they previously didn’t consider themselves someone who would do that).

“Some people also found that they preferred spending time alone and may now have decided that they are in fact an introvert.”

Neither is superior

You may be wondering why this introvert trend has rubbed me up the wrong way, and the answer is: because of the strong “pick me” vibes these videos come along with.

In exactly the same way self-proclaimed empaths did before them, and hipsters did even before that, self-proclaimed introverts on TikTok talk about introversion like an exclusive club of unique and deep-thinking people. Their videos come with a clear message that they believe they’re “not like other people”.

The way you like to socialize has very little to do with your level of creativity, your ability to think, or even necessarily if you like to unwind alone after a social gathering – so everybody just calms down.

“Everyone’s psychology is incredibly layered, so it really depends on the specific person,” says Ms Sokarno.

Social anxiety doesn’t necessarily equate to introversion

Despite what my TikTok feed wold have me believe, you can have social anxiety no matter what end of the personality spectrum you lie on – especially after two years of on-again-off-again lockdown.

“It’s actually a lot more nuanced than we think,” said Ms Sokarno.

“For example, you might have someone who is considered an introvert, yet they love public speaking. Someone who has social anxiety wouldn’t be as comfortable getting up on stage talking to people. There are many factors that can be at play, it isn’t as black and white.”

For that matter, needing time to unwind on your own after being social isn’t a trait reserved for introverts either.

“Generally it’s said that introverts often need time alone after being social,” continued Ms Sokarno. “It might be in the introvert’s nature to find solace by themselves, but this doesn’t mean they’re more prone to needing to be alone after every social event.”

Even introverts crave social connections

Being an introvert doesn’t mean shutting yourself off from the world entirely, says Ms Sokarno.

“As humans, we do crave social connections and it is important for everyone’s wellbeing – including introverts,” she said.

“It’s important to make sure we are giving ourselves what we need, while not forgetting about our fundamental requirements of being a human. We need others, so from time to time, we have to socialize.

“Ultimately, it’s all about finding the right balance and what works best for your personality type.”

Most people are a bit of both

Nothing ever made more sense to me than when I first heard of the term “ambivert”.

The fact is, while introvert and extrovert may be opposite ends of the personality spectrum, most of us exist somewhere in the middle, with a mix of both that inform our preferences and tendencies.

Which probably explains why I love to go out and be around people, but after a busy week of socializing I spend the next week talking to as few people as possible.

It also explains why most people would call me outgoing, but some people have only known me as a shy and quiet person.

Basically, the only thing that really pays off, in terms of being an emotional healthy human, is “honoring your true feelings”, according to Ms Sokarno.


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