Despite the growing conversation surrounding introverts, the group is still commonly misunderstood. As a fellow introvert, I understand the misconceptions that we have to constantly battle. I’m not shy because I’m introverted and I do enjoy socializing, just in a different setting than the standard societal norm.
It can be hard for society to understand things an introvert might naturally be good at, simply because they are introverted. Clearly, most of our societal constructs cater to the outgoing extrovert – our educational system, open-concept office spaces and loud bars for example, are built for them.
While it’s true that introverts can have a vast skill set like anyone else, there are a few everyday situations where we bring key strengths that extroverts will most likely lack.
1. Just because we’re not talking doesn’t mean we’re not engaged.
We like to listen and observe more than anything else, so that usually means we are acutely aware of our environment. Because of this, we are almost always in tune with our surroundings, regardless of how little we interact with them. As a result, we can also synthesize the information that we are constantly taking in, making connections that extroverts may otherwise miss.
2. We don’t like small talk because we prefer deeper conversations.
I can speak from experience on this one – I’m just not good at small talk. It’s forced, flat, and often more painful than anything else. I prefer to say something when there is something important to say. But sometimes, small talk cannot be avoided. As a result, I’ve learned over the years that asking questions to steer the conversation to a deeper level. This direction can help unleash a more emotional connection and lead to some really great conversations.
3. We may not network with everyone at the office mixer but that’s only because we crave authenticity in all of our interactions, business or personal.
Networking can be stressful for introverts, after all, isn’t it just small talk with the end goal of advancing your career? While an extrovert may prioritize knowing everyone on a superficial level by the end of the night, introverts will be happy to have had a few conversations with others based on a more solid, meaningful connection.
4. Even though we tend to avoid confrontation with friends or family, we are actually the best ones to execute it.
Introverts are good listeners, and oftentimes, someone who needs to be confronted is acting out for a reason. Since introverts are skilled at listening and observing, we can understand why the situation is happening and use this insight to help craft a plan that will satisfy everyone involved.
5. While we sometimes screen calls from relatives, we often thrive at the actual family get together.
Introverts tend to avoid chatting on the phone because it distracts us from our current thought or project and we really prefer to catch up in person. Small, intimate groups are the ideal social situations for us, so naturally at family gatherings introverts are at their best.
6. We might dread an invitation to a big party, but we’ll happily accept an invite to dinner with a few, close friends.
Again, since introverts prefer small gatherings, we often excel in this setting and have the ability to draw everyone who’s present in.
7. Even though we don’t do well with chit-chat, we do have great presentation skills.
Introverts have been known to be great public speakers, whether it’s on stage to a crowd of five hundred, a corporate board meeting, or pitching to a potential investor. We play to our strengths and prepare extensively. While we might not look forward to the meet and greet afterwards, we don’t shy away from the spotlight and know how to present ourselves when it counts, and to a crowd of any size.
8. We may be reserved at the office but only because we are quietly trying to think about how the business works and see connections that spark new ideas.
Introverts have the tendency to keep to themselves at the office but that doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking of the entire organization. It’s actually quite the opposite since introverts are led by a different internal compass when it comes to careers: they try to build beyond themselves.
9. Our silent pauses in conversations mean we are taking the time to think before we speak.
This habit alone is the reason introverts have earned their reputation as great listeners. We reflect internally first before speaking, instead of thinking out loud like our extrovert counterparts. So while this may add to the perception of introverts being shy or quiet, it just means that when we do speak, our words can have more thought, and sometimes more impact, behind them.
10. Since we crave solitude and enjoy alone time to recharge, it often means we don’t succumb to the mood of our environment.
We have a lower sensitivity to external rewards than extroverts do, which means we’re pretty comfortable with our own thoughts and maintaining our own moods. This quiet energy is also good for business – if your office is noisy and chaotic, your calming presence can radiate to others in the workplace and ultimately, be a boost to low office morale for example.
11. Just because we aren’t overly assertive, doesn’t mean we don’t have good negotiation skills.
We’ve been conditioned to think that in order to be a great negotiator, we need to be good at intimidation. But our ability to asking probing questions, listen and observe people’s reactions to suggestions makes our negotiation skills great. We tend to empathize a little better than our peers, so we can see both sides well which inevitably helps the process go smoother.
12. While we can be distracted by too much stimuli in our environment, we notice details that may escape others.
Research has shown that introverts exhibit increased brain activity when processing visual information, which gives us an edge in our eye for detail. This is also the reason that many introverts gravitate towards more detail-oriented career choices like financial clerks, video editors and writers.
As an introvert, may not feel like you have a lot of advantages in life but you really do. You are just as well-suited as your extrovert counterparts to handle what life throws at you, but you possess a few more enviable qualities that really help you ace everyday situations.
Featured photo credit: RyanMcGuire via pixabay.com