Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.
Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.
Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.
Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.
Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.
Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.
Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.
Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.
Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.
Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.
We’ve all seen the theories, repeated and twisted ad nauseum to fit nearly every children’s show. Angelica dreamed up the other Rugrats. Even the humans at Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends were imaginary. The events that took place in Codename: Kids Next Door were just kids playing make believe. Phineas and Ferb exist only in Candace’s head. Ash Ketchum was just in a coma. Harry Potter dreamed Hogwarts because he couldn’t handle his abuse by the Dursleys. And on and on and on.
There seems to be a compulsion among young teens and adults to reclaim these shows for themselves, and for them, that means placing these stories within a tragic context that better fits their worldview, a paradigm in which optimistic stories centered around children could not possibly, believably exist in the real world. When these theories crop up, they go viral, usually with accompanying comments uttered in reverent tones along the lines of “I can never look at this show the same way again,” as if the theory has pulled back the curtain and revealed The Truth about an innocent show that many internet users enjoyed as children. In other words, the theory becomes more valid than the text or the show itself. We substitute the humor, the hope, and the ideology of children’s fiction with run-of-the-mill “it was all a dream” psychological horror, and by doing so, we throw a giant middle finger to the critically important messages these shows convey.
The whimsical tone of Rugrats centered around kids who never quite understood the adult world; they misconstrued words and events and spun their own ideas out of them, and it was a better world, simply because we as the audience were allowed to look at mundane adult things like taxes and car washes in fresh, ultrapositive ways. Phineas and Ferb is a joyously optimistic show about the power of invention and creativity, a world in which children are never asked to hold themselves back and are never cruel to one another. So many fantasy series allow us to find an essential truth of human experience, that hope and friendship and good will can overcome darkness, by showing us a world we can’t always see but is always there, just as Hogwarts is hidden from our Muggle eyes. These stories are equally as valid, if not more so, than our “adult” stories that show the world as a more brutal place. They can both be true, but stories only have the power that we assign to them. If we continue to insist that positive, hopeful stories are unbelievable, then we create a world in which those stories lose their power, and our world reflects that change.
The stories we tell children shape our future. There’s a reason we need those happy endings, and it’s not because children are too weak to handle the “truth” about the world. It’s because we as a society need to be reminded that kindness and hope have power. Children need stories that allow them to be heroes, that value their insight, their ideas, and their narratives. We need stories that empower, not stories that dwindle away into hopeless cynicism. We do not need to insist that fictional stories cannot exist on their own terms, that even fantasy worlds must be fantasies within their own story. It’s backwards, it’s hopeless, it’s wrong-headed. These stories aren’t yours to claim. They aren’t yours to “correct.” These stories belong to children, and thankfully, they’re stories full of more hope and power than anything the internet could ever come up with. Why would you ever try to tear them down?