Why I No Longer Call Myself Introverted (Publicly)

I used to describe myself as an introvert.

What that meant to me is I process internally. I’m having a lot of mental conversations; by the time it comes out of my mouth, it’s usually only the stuff that matters. I’m not one to go on and on, listening to the sound of my own voice. Small talk, not interested. Pleasantries, I do them but they’re totally unnecessary. Acting silly for a laugh, not really funny. And those who feel the need to hold court in a conversation usually just don’t know when to shut up. They also usually come off as know-it-alls.

I don’t need to do any of that stuff to feel confident.


Give me a mic to stand in front of a few thousand people to speak on a subject I know; in that adrenaline, I’m thriving. Forward-thinking, analytical, thinking before speaking, prepared, excited to talk about business, ready to show up and show out—that’s me. But I don’t want to be the life and soul of the party.

I’ve found that it’s usually the so-called extroverts who are shaking at the knees at the mere thought of public speaking.

That was what I defined as the differences between extroverts and introverts. And I know a lot of (true) introverts agree. We don’t need to be the center of attention to feel seen. We don’t need to talk incessantly. But we will rise to the occasion to lead without skipping a beat. We do it when it’s needed. Other times, we are quite content sitting quietly with our thoughts.

But I quickly came to realise that people thought introversion meant shy. Not wanting to talk to people was interpreted as shy.

Heck, they thought I was shy. Is Elon Musk shy? Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, shy? No.

Ask my Mama, She’ll tell you I’m the furthest from shy you’ll ever meet.

But you don’t know my mama. So you think because I am sitting by myself quietly, not making banal jokes, that I’m nervous about integrating with the crowd. Nah, I’m sorry to disappoint you. I just don’t find it interesting.

To me, that’s two different things. You can be a shy introvert, sure, but true introverts consider themselves far from shy. At least in my experience. If you’re shy, you’re shy, doesn’t mean you’re introverted.

Anyway, I began hating that word.

So, I dropped the self-profession and adapted, a bit like a chameleon. I was tired of the ‘Are you okays?’ and ‘You should get up and enjoy yourself’ from these social-centric extroverts. I give enough energy so I don’t get the questions.

However, I have come to understand that everyone you meet in life has a mental view of who you are based on their world perspective and experience.

Whether you’re introverted or extroverted, everyone’s making up their own story about you. Some will think you’re shy, some loud, some boring, others captivating; with friends, you’re bold and brash, your work colleagues holier than thou, while others have seen you do the downright embarrassing. Some say you’re stupid, others say clever. And that’s the thing; no one really sees you. And in the grand scheme of things, you don’t need to convince anyone. Do you and let the results talk.


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