Being an introvert really bites sometimes. Introverts have a hard time showing people who they really are and sometimes come across as the most brash people in the world. How do I know? I am a serious introvert. Introverts, like me, prefer to sit in the background, listen, take in the environment, access, plan, and then act. It’s just what we do. People are not are thing. At the same time being an introvert has its perks.
You can study books, or have some guru try to tell you to be less introverted, but that’s not possible. In the real world, the most introverts can hope for will be to group themselves with other people of like mind and skill. The perk for the introvert is being able to express their creativity and not keep it bottled up. Joining social groups and attaining the skills to engage in conversation effectively with others requires a learning curve. The more you practice on the art of conversation the easier it is to learn with your personality type.
Most introverts come across as very serious people. We tend to think inwardly about problems, no matter how complex. You may find us sitting in a corner during office parties and may line ourselves to the wall. People have to understand introverts must be eased into awkward social situations. It is uncomfortable for us to enter into spaces we do not know. I can speak to a crowd of thousands on my areas of expertise, but the in small groups, it is not possible for me to strike up a conversation with a stranger. It’s hard to figure out, but over time it has become easier to approach others.
Hang out with an introvert for a day. Introverts tend to have more fun with games of analysis such as chess and poker. My brain is always at work, even when I am asleep. For an extrovert fun maybe a huge party with strangers or a big concert. I am 32 years old and have yet to experience my first concert. Instead, I opt for small venues with less people in a more intimate setting. Introverts establish comfort zones for a reason. Noise and people overwhelm us big time. Introverts need space to re-establish their thoughts. If you want to join me in silence cool. Otherwise, do not disturb my zen like setting.
Introverts struggle to overcome shyness so meeting new people can be an obstacle. I tend to do better in meeting a person face-to-face in a one-on-one setting. People learn to approach an introvert in an entirely different way. Since we are always analyzing, getting to know people on a deeper and more intimate level works best for us. I love to learn about people and have a tendency of asking way too many questions. Questioning allows me to learn something new about others. It is not an invasion of your privacy introverts are after; it’s clarity.
Clarity for introverts works in an unusual way. Decision making can be a challenge for an introvert, especially if they do not have enough information. If you supervise an introvert, and a project has a deadline or certain specifications, make sure the introvert gets the information. We hate making decisions on the spur of the moment, so do not ask us to do it! If the wrong decision is made, we have to go back and deduce the reasoning why the project failed.
The world commands us all to be extroverts. The good old folks who update the DMS want to classify us as a “disorder.” It’s not a personality conflict and certainly not a DSM V mental health issue. It’s just a personality type. Everybody cannot be outgoing and talkative. The world has to be subdivided into two groups: Thinkers and Talkers. Thinkers are planners and take complex and difficult task down into individual parts. Introverts have a difficult task of turning off their brains.
People want to get into an introvert’s head. An extrovert could not last very long with our brains. I have a lot of knowledge about a lot of things. Put a quarter in the slot machine and see what comes out is my philosophy. Introverts are fact filled and it’s hard for us to communicate information in a way the rest of the world will understand.
So my simple advice for introverts: Learn who you are as a person. Learn to have conversation with people. You’ll never learn to fully function in a crowded space, but you can learn to let your voice be heard through a crowd. Understand your limitations and boundaries, and most of all continue to be your lovely introverted unique self.