Understanding introversion and how you can help

THERE are many misconceptions about introverts but introversion can happen to anyone. Trinity College Foundation Studies students Thao Ly and Thu Uyen define introversion and how others can assist the introverted. 

What is introversion? Many think they recognise it but there is more to it than just seeing someone as being reclusive or quiet.

In fact, aspects of introversion are quite normal for everyone. Individuals can, at any point, become introverted by way of circumstance. International students for example, might succumb to various forms of introversion simply because they have to start a new life abroad in a new country. On top of completing their studies, these students have to make new friends, engage with their peers and essentially learn how to be independent by creating a new life for themselves all at once.

Simply put, it’s a lot to ask for. And it can be understandable why such circumstances can lead people to become introverted.

Common misconceptions

Most people see introverts as being friendless or hard to socialise with when really, introverts just value the connections they have and prefer the company of a few close friends rather than having many. Some are even comfortable being on their own and being independent — there isn’t really anything wrong with this.

Another common assumption made about introverts is that they are perhaps more prone to stress and that they would prefer to solve problems on their own without seeking help. It’s not that introverts don’t want the help but that they perhaps find it difficult to approach someone about it.

Moreover, introverts who experience difficulty communicating may also find it difficult to engage in work. For example, group work at uni requires students to collaborate with one another but if introverted students finds it hard to express themselves during discussion, others may unknowingly perceive them as being unwilling to participate.

Overcoming introversion

So how can you make an introverted person feel more included?

If you’re a parent, teacher or friend of an introvert, one thing you can do to encourage them to become more open is to help voice their stress.

It is also important to remember that although someone can be introverted, this doesn’t mean that it can’t happen to you as well. Introversion is a normal personality trait and if you know someone who has become introverted for whatever reason, you should respect and accept these differences.

So if you know someone who is an introvert, start by reaching out to them first, having an open heart and mind and doing what you can to listen to them and allow them to feel heard.

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This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collaboration. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch with us via meld@meldmagazine.com.au.

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