It’s no secret.
There is a bias towards extroversion in our culture. Research reveals that talkative people are rated as “more interesting and more desirable”. Fast talkers are viewed as more competent and likeable. People who are able to promote themselves with gusto advance in their careers quickly.
These are traits of extroversion. Initiating conversations, “talking it up” and engaging others with animated speech are valuable life skills. Revealing your strengths and owning your value is important to successful negotiations and sales. Personal relationships benefit too.
What about introversion? What do we know about people who are naturally more introverted than extroverted? Susan Cain in her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, says there is plenty to know.
In this article you’ll get 13 facts about what it’s like for people who identify with introversion. Check it out. You too can appreciate the introverted aspects of your personality or of others in your personal and work life.
Ready? Do you think these statements are true or false?
1)Introverts are one-third to one-half of the United States population.
According to several studies introverts are one-third to one-half of the United States population. That’s one out of every two to three people you know!
Imagine a horizontal line. At one end is Introversion and Extroversion is on the other end. Where would you be on that continuum? Closer to introversion or extroversion? Unsure? Check out Susan Cain’s assessment and find out!
Or continue reading this article. 🙂
2) Introverts tend to get the message that there is something wrong with them because they aren’t extroverts.
Have you shared that thought before? Either about yourself or someone else? Susan Cain writes about “closet introverts” to describe people who pretend to be “extroverts.”
The real shame is the waste of valuable energy focused on denying your true self and ultimately the talents your possess.
3) Introvert is synonymous with shy.
Yes, there may be people who are both shy and introverted. Yet shyness is a form of insecurity and usually emotionally painful. Preferring solitude, quiet over talkative around others is just that–a preference.
Choosing quiet is different than being shy.
4) Introverts are soft-spoken and don’t speak up—or make waves.
Rosa Parks (1913-2005) is famous because of speaking up and saying “no”. Her quiet, soft-spoken demeanor made her spoken “no” more powerful. She became the international symbol for resisting racial segregation.
Reminiscent of the vintage commercial from the 1970s and 1980s: When E.F. Hutton speaks, people listen….When an introvert speaks, people (often) listen.
5) Introverts enjoy passive activities like reading and writing.
What could be better than being in your own world reading and writing? Being in your own world reading and writing with your loved one!
6) Introverts don’t make great leaders.
A leader of the Indian Independence movement against British rule Mahatma Gandhi was a leader among leaders for civil rights and freedom across the world. Among the inspired by Gandhi include: civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.; former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela; physicist Albert Einstein; British musician John Lennon; former US Vice President and environmentalist Al Gore,and former US President Barack Obama.
Writer Andy Hinds captures Gandhi’s introversion in her article highlighting how he recognized the benefit of his shyness. She cites Gandhi’s own words from his book Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth :
I must say that, beyond occasionally exposing me to laughter, my constitutional shyness has been no disadvantage whatever. In fact I can see that, on the contrary, it has been all to my advantage. My hesitancy in speech, which was once an annoyance, is now a pleasure. Its greatest benefit has been that it has taught me the economy of words. I have naturally formed the habit of restraining my thoughts. And I can now give myself the certificate that a thoughtless word hardly ever escapes my tongue or pen. I do not recollect ever having had to regret anything in my speech or writing. I have thus been spared many a mishap and waste of time.
…My shyness has been in reality my shield and buckler. It has allowed me to grow. It has helped me in my discernment of truth.
Introverts make great leaders.
7) Introverts don’t love to party.
Introverts do enjoy parties and having fun– it’s a question of definition and energy. A party full of people, loud music and lots of conversation can be fun for introverts. It just takes a lot of their energy.
For introverts, a quiet evening away from crowds of people with good company, good food and a movie is fun. The best.
8) Introverts prefer to listen more than talk and think before they speak.
An introvert brings a willingness and ability to listen to ideas. Comfortable with silence, the introvert is a natural learner who loves to think through ideas, carefully choosing a response.
9) Introverts tend to work more slowly and deliberately, finishing one task at a time.
Introverts are able to multi-task, but prefer to slow down and focus on one task at a time. They are comfortable being thorough rather than quick which can become a detriment and source of the phrase, “analysis by paralysis”.
10) Introverts process internally.
Introverts process internally while extroverts process out loud. It’s the difference between thinking before speaking and speaking while thinking.
For introverts who are sensitive to their environments, detaching from people who tend to think out loud is necessary because it is so exhausting.
11) Introverts don’t struggle with distractions.
Introverts tend to get distracted easily by noise and interruptions.
For the open office without walls work environments introverts can struggle. Providing quiet rooms or noise reduction headsets is a sensitive option.
12) Introverts don’t enjoy performing or public speaking.
That’s right. Oprah Winfrey and Amy Schumer introverts? Both perform in front of people and the camera regularly.
Introversion stretches across all professions and careers requiring lots of affiliation with others: sales people, performers, trainers, police officers, business owners, human resource professionals, marketing professionals, etc.
The implications for personal relationships is huge. While in public at their job, introverts put out a lot of energy and do it well. At home, where they are comfortable they naturally go to their preference for less noise, conversation and solitude. Planning for this is important for both introvert and the family eager to interact at the end of the day.
13) Introverts prefer planned weekends scheduled with activities.
Introverts love the company of others and activities with others. But time for solitude? Away from the hustle and bustle? It’s the way introverts recharge and recover energy.
Have you figured out where you land on that Introversion- Extroversion continuum?
The take away is to appreciate who you are and be that special enlightened boss, employee, partner and friend/family who values the introverted person’s preferences.
And that may be YOU!
Mary Franz LCSW, PCC is a couple’s therapist, critical incident responder, and personal strategy coach. Need to talk about a personal or business relationship challenge? Visit her website and ask for a complimentary strategy session.