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12 Details to Thoroughly Understand Introverts

12 Details to Thoroughly Understand Introverts

Once again, we come back to the topic of introversion versus extroversion, which has been popularized by author Susan Cain in her book: Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. In her work, Cain conducts a large amount of qualitative research, mostly in interview form, of successful people who consider themselves introverts. Combine this with growing thought chains on where people draw their energy (as in the E versus I section of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), and there is more to know about introverts than ever before. For that reason, we’ve compiled some the findings to help you understand us introverts.

1. We don’t dislike people — we dislike group-think.

The first thing to know about introverts is that we actually love people. Small group or one-to-one conversations with an introvert will make this clear very quickly. We truly do enjoy the company of others. The difference is that we have to be in the proper circumstances to appreciate each person’s uniqueness, and when people get into groups they act differently and tend to purposefully blend together in group-think. That’s where introverts struggle.

2. We focus on single-person tasks easily, and aren’t doing it to hide from people.

Introverts typically have very strong hobbies, and what separates them from hobbied extroverts is that we do not give any thought to others before we engage in the hobby. We actually just like reading, painting, writing, video games, computer coding, HAM radios, Magic the Gathering, or whatever else. The fact that other people might like our hobby too never occurs to us.

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3.  We think about mundane entertainment much more than others.

If you ever ask an introvert about their favorite movie, their eyes are likely to light up. We adore certain movies, while commonly thinking that most of pop culture is generally terrible. For example, I hardly ever go to see new movies in theaters, but if you ask me to explain the philosophy of determinism via The Matrix, the historical accuracy of Gangs of New York, or any single line in Fight Club, you should buckle in, because I’ll be talking for way too long.

4. We often misunderstand body language.

For years, and even into present, I have not understood other people’s body language. For me, this manifested most obviously with girls–a hand on my bicep never registered as a suggestive gesture; if the girl never said anything about enjoying my company, I would always miss the signal. When talking to introverts, be sure to be direct, because, for us, the value is often in words and not other signals.

5. We question authority.

Introverts, even when sitting compliantly in the back of class or in a meeting, are always thinking rationally through problems,and, so, when a problem is solved through emotion, we love to pick through the solution logically, often missing the greater good of the group in the process.

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6. We have to rationalize shopping in stores, or else we hate it.

Some people love the arrangements of clothes or the deals to be had in stores, but introverts have to find a way to think about the benefits of actually going to a store for “deals.” Most stores are built to purposefully overwhelm, so introverts would rather shop for everything from cars to underwear on the web.

7. We are the ones who engage in single-player sports.

Tennis, rowing, fishing, biking, golf, and especially competitive running are often populated by introverts. When we don’t have to worry about others, our minds can focus for very long times, so it’s natural that we use that focus to excel in sports where no other people can break our concentration.

8. We mechanize our day.

People are creatures of habit, but introverts even more so. For me, several days a week go exactly the same, down to the same time showering and the same lunch eaten. This simply creates less tangible obstacles to thinking more, so we fall into routines easily.

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9. We are certainly fine being the center of attention — but not for too long.

At parties, I find myself the center of attention often, and I love it, and then, all at once, I don’t. I legitimately have a breaking point, past which I cannot stand being the center of attention, and I can tell when I’m going to reach it, and I adjust accordingly. Similarly, famous actors such as Russell Crowe and Jim Carey — larger than life, charismatic figures — are the same way. They put on the face on camera, but, once they’re done, do not bother them. They can’t stand it.

10. We know ourselves better than others.

As I said above, I know exactly when my “people overload point” is coming, and I know how to deal with that. Further, introverts often spend lots of time in their heads, and therefore have a strong sense of self and the needs that come with that. Extroverts wouldn’t dare think about themselves so much.

11. We are concerned with ideals and like to work to create them.

Introverts love helping people, not because we love people, but because they love the idea of compassion and sympathy. We love when the court system works properly, because we love the idea of justice. We love cheesy movies, not because we like poor dialogue or hastily contrived plots, but because we love the idea of true love. There’s a difference between enjoying the people and enjoying the idea the people represent, and introverts love the latter.

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12. We think more than EXTROVERTS could ever dream of.

Introverts cannot turn of their brains. It doesn’t work like that. Still, could anyone who has read this far imagine an extrovert writing something similar. Further, how many of you still reading considers themselves an extrovert? Not many? That’s what I thought.

Featured photo credit: I Live Inside My Head/Jacqueline Murray via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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