Updated: Jan 8, 2022
Sign Our Petition to Right this Wrong!
I'd like to think I'm as calm as the average introvert. I'm learning to let things flow off my back and not to spend energy on those things out of my control. But I've had enough...
Like many people, I've grown accustomed to using online thesauruses to broaden my word choices. As I craft my weekly blog or other writings, I have occasion to seek synonyms for many words, including "introvert." Yet when I do so, I get these horrible synonyms to the right.
First, these words are just wrong. They always have been. And in the past decade, introverts have undergone a renaissance or reawakening of sorts. Now more than ever introverts are learning about what introversion really means and discovering and embracing their amazing strengths. Many introverts are stellar listeners, creatives, world-class planners, caring and empathetic, loyal confidantes, and avid learners. These traits are to be celebrated. We are done hiding. We are tossing away the masks we've worn at work and in social circles and exerting our strengths. We are getting our voice into the meeting room and social hall.
Everyone, introvert and extrovert, may be reserved and quiet at times. But terms like recluse, hermit, loner, and shrinking violet are just wrong.
Listing "shy" just shows their ignorance. Introversion is an inherent personality trait - it's part of our DNA. Shyness is a social anxiety that can be managed and mitigated through practice. Some introverts are shy. Some extroverts are shy as well. When I finally realized shyness and introversion were not the same, it helped me to learn about both and champion my introversion and practice skills to manage my shyness. Learn more about shyness and introversion here. Why can't these online resources get it right and in doing so help the world better understand who we really are?
What really amazes me is that the antonym or opposite of introvert is extrovert - fair enough. But when we use this same tool to look up synonyms for extrovert, we see words like sociable, outgoing, gregarious, friendly, befriender, and outgoing person. Who gave Mr. Roget and his cohorts such authority to deem extroverts with positive traits and relegate introverts to the depths of negativity?
Let's just be clear, the struggles most introverts including myself have endured is not that we are introverts, but that we have to deal with the stereotypes that many of our friends, family, co-workers, and managers have bought into and assume are true. This impacts their perspective but also may dissuade introverts from putting themselves forward.
Even today, as I proclaim my introversion at book events and on podcasts and radio shows, I see people literally pull back from conversations as they offer their condolences. I was on a podcast recently with an absolutely lovely hostess. One of the first things she shared with the audience when she introduced me as her guest was that she "never would have guessed [I'm] an introvert!" I suppose my ability to put socialize, smile, and intelligently converse seemed too extroverted. We laughed about it and had a great discussion.
These are the challenges we introverts still face today. Yet I believe the "Quiet Revolution," as Susan Cain puts it, is empowering us to be bold, stand tall and fight back. Oh, we may not openly debate, but we can share a more accurate definition of introversion.
Introversion (n): a very reflective person is often quite observant, circumspect, empathetic, and loyal. Introverts often re-energize through solo activities including reading, creative hobbies (art, writing, needlepoint), and exercise.
As for the Thesaurus, I suggest: reflective, observant, circumspect, empathetic, loyal, and creative.
Every time we see the online thesaurus definition we steam. So I've decided to do something about it. I've partnered with Introvert, Dear to spread the word and build a petition. Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, join us in petitioning the online thesauruses to update their listing for introvert. Click
the button to leave your name today. We will be collecting supporters in conjunction with World Introvert Day - January 2, 2021, and will submit our petition in the first quarter. I hope you will join us in righting this wrong!
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"I realized I'm not alone, 50% of the people out there are introverts."
If you're an introverted entrepreneur like me you'll love this podcast episode I did on the Introverts Talking Business podcast!