Monday, May 18, 2015

Understanding introversion

          I have always known, to some extent and even before I knew the term "introvert", that I am an introvert and used to be ashamed of being an introvert. I wanted to be someone else. You see, sometimes it’s hard to explain to other people how it actually feels to be an introvert. It’s even harder to accept that it’s a part of who you are and especially difficult to communicate this to someone who is not an introvert.  Questions like, “Why can't you be more social and out going?” or “Why do you look so unhappy around big groups of people?” are sometimes difficult to answer.  After all, it’s not like we don’t enjoy having fun, acting silly, or being around other people. We just want to do it around the right people and more importantly, we need quiet time, before and after.

Here's some things that are true for introverts. 

They are great listeners

           In fact, we love to listen. It gives us a chance to really get to know someone and understand them better. Introverts are typically highly engaged with someone they want to get to know. They are easily distracted by outside stimuli that may interfere with listening, and they usually want to devote all of their attention to the other person.

They sometimes wish they were extroverts

           I sometimes wonder what it would be like to walk into a large group of people and to instantly become energized by the people around me. I always thought it has to be cool to have that infectious energy that draws people to you.

They don’t enjoy being the center of attention

            Most introverts don’t like all eyes to be on them. It can be difficult to speak up at a work meeting, deliver a speech, or answer a question in front of other people. We typically like to listen to other people’s perspective and hear what they have to say. It doesn’t mean we don’t have an opinion, but sometimes it’s hard to articulate what we’re thinking.

They easily see other people’s point of view

            They are typically empathetic to other people and what they have to say  Even if they don’t agree with the other person, they make a good effort to see things from their perspective. They strive to get to know other people in all situations before judging or making the other person feel inadequate.

They are drained by high energy people

             High energy people can be exhausting for introverts. They often feel like they have to match that level of intensity and may feel uncomfortable when they don’t. Introverts may need breaks from these high energy situations because unlike extroverts, they don’t become energized by these people. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

They like to take things slow

            Sometimes it just takes us introverts a little longer to move forward. We like to weigh all of our options and look at all possible outcomes before making a final decision. This can also be detrimental to us because we tend to analyze things too much. So, don’t take it personally if we just aren’t quite ready to take that next step.

They are not just introverts

              Being labeled as an introvert can immediately put someone in a category. Although it is a useful term that people can relate to, although it doesn’t define who they are. There are many types of introverts and many variations within those types. More than anything, introverts are people first. Being an introvert is just one aspect of who a person is. Many people fall into a continuum of traits and exhibit extroverted traits and introverted traits. Just some are more than the other.

Here are some do's and don'ts.

Don't talk down to us or treat us like we're stupid or slow, especially in public.

Do let us say what we want and give us time.  It would be a good idea to wait a few seconds (maybe 4 or 5) before you chime in.

Listen.  We talk quietly and don't fight to be heard.

Don't treat us like we're fragile.

Don't put us on the spot.  Ask us first, beforehand.

Do let us call you. When you call us, it might interrupt our life and frustrate us. If you have something to say....text or email is the best.

If you tell us that your going to do something, do it. 

Be prompt.

Don't change things unexpectedly.   Give as much notice of changes as you can.

Dont ask why we’re so shy

Dont take our need for alone time personally.

Dont ask if we’re mad.

Dont Be clingy.

Dont talk incessantly.  If you do need to talk, say "I'm just thinking out loud..."

Dont tell us we need to learn to speak up.

Dont push us into commitments.

Dont tell us we’re missing out on life.

Be understanding.

(Collections from around the web)

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