Forget the stereotype: Being an introvert doesn’t mean you’re not friendly

By Shelby Peck | Copy Editor

Baylor students love a good personality test. Many of my conversations with first-time acquaintances come back to one of the following questions: “What’s your enneagram type?” “What did you get on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator?” Or, perhaps a simpler question: “Are you an introvert or an extrovert?”

As a somewhat introverted individual myself (although, in all honesty, I’m convinced I’m an ambivert), I’m reluctant to answer this question. Especially when I was a freshman trying to establish my new sense of identity at Baylor, saying I was an introvert felt … unfriendly. It wasn’t a ticket to social failure, but it wasn’t exactly an invitation to overwhelming friendship either.

The word “introvert” may bring to mind depictions of reclusive behavior — someone often found in their room, avoiding social settings at almost any cost, maybe with a textbook in hand. I believe, however, that this picture of introverts is often an untrue assumption. Further than that, I would say introverts are some of the friendliest people.

Think about it: If an introvert walks into a large social setting, they will probably be at least a little bit uncomfortable. They’ll look for someone they know, make sure they fulfill their purpose of attending said social event, and, once all of the niceties are finished, leave.

Here’s why I think that scenario can help us understand why introverts are some of the friendliest and most hospitable individuals: They know what a guest is looking for. They know how to be good hosts because they know what it takes to create a comfortable social environment.

I’ve had to reframe my view of being an introvert. If anything, being an introvert has given me the eyes to see people beyond the surface and meet them where they are. It hasn’t detracted from my relationships; it’s allowed me to become a better listener and have intentional conversations one-on-one.

Our entire personalities cannot possibly be characterized by a singular word such as “introvert” or “extrovert,” because our sociality isn’t binary. Changing the narrative around our personality types is essential if we are to deepen our relationships and access our full potential for community.

John 13:25 says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Loving others isn’t about being the loudest in the room, spending the most time with other people or even being recharged in group settings. Loving others is about establishing effective ways of connection that make people feel seen and heard — a task an introverted or an extroverted individual can accomplish.

We have to stop letting our ways of relationship-building be defined by a single word. No matter which side of the pendulum you tend to sway, you have unique gifts that allow you to love others in a way only you can, and that’s more valuable than any other static personality classification you could be assigned.