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10 Things That Introverts Have The Hardest Time With

10 Things That Introverts Have The Hardest Time With

The fact that I’m writing this from the confines of my bedroom with only my cat around to distract me should be enough to convince you that I’m an authority on introversion. This is not to say that I avoid people at all costs, or am some sort of misanthrope. I definitely enjoy the company of good friends and my family. However, there are many conventions of modern society that introverts just don’t buy into, including the following activities listed below.

1. They don’t enjoy always being around people

I never really understood the idea of “happy hour.” I just spent nine hours of my day with a group of people at work, and I’m supposed to want to spend more time with them when we get out? I know, it’s a good time to let it all hang out; but really, all I want to do when that 5 o’clock bell comes around is go home and stare at the wall for ten minutes before having to cook, wash dishes, and clean up before settling in for the night. Social gatherings can definitely be fun, but not when they’re forced upon you.

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2. They don’t enjoy small talk

“How about this weather?” “Looks like someone did some grocery shopping!” “This elevator’s always so slow.” Honestly, there has never been a time when something like this was said to me that ended with a meaningful connection. I get that it’s seen as friendly to chit-chat while waiting for a bus, but unless it’s going to end with a new-found friendship or relationship, it’s really just not worth the effort. Now, if I’m wearing a shirt featuring an obscure band or something, by all means approach me since we obviously have something in common, and might hit it off. However, what connection is ever going to be forged based on the fact that we both absolutely hate rain?

3. They don’t enjoy crowds

I love music, and I love going to shows. However, I absolutely dread being in the middle of a pack of shouting (possibly drunk) twenty-somethings when my favorite band is on stage. I came to hear them, not to hear them be drowned out by a group of slurring college students. The same goes for the crowd before the doors open. Since you’re cramped up with a bunch of strangers, it will inevitably lead to small talk. As an introvert, there’s not much worse than being stuck in the middle of a sweaty group of strangers and having to feign interest in a menial conversation that will end up going nowhere.

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4. They don’t enjoy phone conversations

I’ll admit, I’m the worst at talking on the phone. However, it’s because I enjoy listening to what others have to say, and rarely put my two cents in. In person, at least the other person has physical feedback that I’m listening and understanding what their saying, but on the phone, there’s only silence from my end. Of course, there’s also a fair amount of small talk, but I’m sure you’re getting tired of hearing about how much introverts hate that. Texting and email are great boons to introverts because they allow messages to be sent and received without any extraneous chitchat.

5. They don’t enjoy keeping in touch just to keep in touch

Visiting my hometown is great. I get to see old friends, spend time with my family who I haven’t seen in months, and catch up on everyone’s life. But when someone from my past who I honestly don’t miss all that much finds out I’m home, I feel obligated to meet up with them for an hour of “So how’ve you been?” I hate to say it, but it’s absolutely dreadful. The worst is when it’s obvious the other person wants to be there even less than I do, but of course they put on the false-friend face and carry on as if the fact that we went to the same high school means we have some sort of life-long bond.

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6. They don’t enjoy icebreaker activities

Here’s another situation in which you’re forced into meeting and interacting with people. Icebreaker activities in college or on the job are almost exclusively dreaded, even by the most outgoing people. Yes, you do get the chance to find out more about the people you’ll be spending a lot of your time with, but it’s done in such a falsified way that no real relationships ever come of it. Relationships that grow organically are much more meaningful than ones that are forced through silly games meant for 8-year-olds being played by graduate students.

7. They don’t like people making noise just to break silence

Silence really is golden. Like I said, I’m writing this in my apartment, with no outside interference to interrupt me (except that buzz-saw that erupted the second I started this part of the article). I realize when I was living with my parents, I never got anything done because there was always some noise going on in the background. I don’t mean people talking; that’s not something I would complain about. However, leaving the TV on, or putting on a song and then walking away from the computer: that I can’t stand. Embrace the silence once in a while. You’ll get a lot more done.

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8. They don’t like people talking while they’re trying to focus

Okay, I hate to shout her out, but my mom is guilty of this one for sure. I used to test her out with it. I’d be sitting quietly on the couch, and she wouldn’t say a word. Then I’d pick up a book, and within two pages she’d find something to talk to me about. Now, talking to my mother is definitely more important than reading a book, so I never complained. However, when complete strangers or co-workers interrupt you while you’re very obviously focused on a task, that is inexcusable. I’m not ignoring you, but I’m not stopping what I’m being paid to do to talk to you about the game last night.

9. They don’t like people thinking they’re conceited

This goes along with the last entry. Just because introverts don’t feel the need to talk about every little thing doesn’t mean they think they’re any better than you. In fact, it’s usually quite the opposite. Since introverts don’t love small talk, they often aren’t very good at it, and feel awkward when they get into these situations. I sometimes wish I could thrive off human interaction the way others seem to do, but it’s simply not my personality. It really does amaze me that some people can act with people they just met in the same way that I do with my closest of friends. Just because I’m not incredibly outward about my feelings doesn’t mean I’m devoid of them, either.

10. They don’t enjoy talking about themselves

Introverts love to listen. They want to learn as much about the world as possible. On that same token, they really do not like talking about themselves. During job interviews, my most hated question is, “What’s your best feature?” Even though I know the point of a job interview is to sell myself, I don’t want to come off as conceited (see above), and I certainly know that I’m no better than anyone else. This is because I’ve spent my entire life listening to others and I understand just how much everyone else knows. Perhaps the toughest part of being an introvert is not so much talking about yourself, but rather wishing you were better at talking about yourself.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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