It is no secret that introverts have it difficult when it comes to communicating their thoughts and ideas.
The problem happens in the brain, where information travels a longer neural pathway to process events and interactions compared to non-introverts, according to Martin Olsen Laney, author of ‘The Introvert Advantage’. The length of their neural pathway takes into account their feelings and thoughts while processing information, which further complicates their ability to share clearly what they are thinking.
While communication is not something that most introverts thrive in, it is still possible for some to have the capacity to say what is precisely on their minds without a shred of doubt or hesitation.
If you are such a rare case of an introvert, then below are signs that prove your effective communication prowess, that you may not be conscious of.
1. You make quick and effective decisions
As mentioned, introverts take time in processing information in their brain that there is a tendency for them to overthink things, which can lead to a slow response from them.
Worse, because they spend more time thinking and analyzing the situation, they end up not doing anything at all.
While a swift and decisive action isn’t something that introverts are known for, making decisions on the fly is an important aspect of communication. If you feel the need to say “no” as the spur-of-the-moment, then do so. Justifying your choices based on long-term memory and planning, both of which are part of an introvert’s neural pathway, will prevent you from making snap decisions.
This is not to say that introverts who can make things happen, to forego their neural pathway. It has more to do with your ability to make a firm decision without being paralyzed by your thought process.
2. You do not feel sorry. At all
My apologies if you were offended by this, for not feeling and saying sorry for who you are is a very good thing.
Saying sorry too much can have its own consequences. For some, like Audrey S. Lee of The New York Times in this article, saying sorry was developed at an early age by her father to show humility. Over time, saying sorry become more of a reflex than a reaction to something she did wrong.
Audrey soon found out that saying sorry, especially in the workplace, will rub people the wrong way. It is not because they feel it is false humility, but it has more to do with the perception of people about her confidence and self-worth. By saying sorry, even if you did not do anything wrong, you devalue your worth to the people around you.
“As I examined my background and core values, I discovered that having a perpetually apologetic stance didn’t necessarily represent true humility,” says Audrey having kicked the Apology Reflex out the curb.” I found that I could offer an honest self-portrait without being arrogant, so others would see how I could make a difference. This was a style of confidence that felt congruent and authentic to me.”
By learning how to say sorry with discretion, you can communicate your value and self-worth as an introvert.
3. You take risks
The pleasure and reward system in the brain is triggered by dopamine neurotransmitters. Extroverts are usually big risk-takers because they feel the rush of adrenaline (which are the neurotransmitters) from doing something dangerous, if not exciting.
This is in stark contrast with how introverts normally spend their free time, which is by reading books, daydreaming, and spending time alone, to name few riveting things they do.
In other words, introverts are not big fans of risks and surprises, simply because they find little to no reward from doing them. Activities outside their comfort zones are red flags, thus preventing them from doing something out of the ordinary.
Moreover, the nervous system of introverts encourages them to conserve energy, which explains the kinds of inert activities they do when compared to non-introverts.
But you find a way to go out nonetheless, and break free from the norm. Instead of staying cooped up inside your room, you go out and socialize and create new experiences, which is normally outside your jurisdiction.
4. You talk about yourself freely
It is rare for an introvert to share things about themselves. Their nature is to give way normally for others to speak their minds and dictate the discussion.
Based on the findings of marriage therapists Ruth G. Sherman and Jane Hardy Jones in their book Intimacy and Type: Building Enduring Relationships by Embracing Personality Differences, introverts tend to get overstimulated easily. To mitigate the stimulation, they avoid engaging with the outside world as much as possible, and keep to themselves to regain their energies and clear their heads.
By disconnecting from the outside world, there is less risk for them to be drained by people they do not like and conversations that do not interest them. Without communication, there will be fewer chances for them to share who they are.
But, lo and behold, you are not one of these introverts!
While you may not actively seek conversation, you do not shy away from sharing things about yourself only from your close friends and family members, but also with strangers. You are willing to leave yourself exposed to others, which normally causes distress to introverts. But for some reason, you don’t seem to mind.
5. You can focus on the conversation
Going back to the neural pathway of an introvert, they tend to compare experiences from their long-term memory to the ones they are experiencing at the moment. The process could lead to internal monologues with their thoughts and ideas. Voices in their head, as they say.
However, this prevents you from staying in the now, especially when you are talking to someone or in a meeting with a group of people. Since your brain bombards your senses with different experiences drawn from your memory, your consciousness tends to fly away with them, leaving you disengaged from what’s happening at the moment.
Introverts with great communication skills have the ability to drown out the noise from their heads so they can stay attentive with the conversation and avoid missing details. They can keep up with the conversation, without their minds wandering off somewhere.
6. You know how to pace the conversation
As an introvert, there is no escaping the fact that your brain will process information much slower than others. Instead of trying to fundamentally change how your brain is wired, you need to embrace your introspection to communicate your thoughts clearly.
Since you find it difficult to make conversation at a normal pace, you know how to politely excuse yourself for a moment to think about what has been talked about. You can request to go to the restroom or go outside to have some fresh air, so that you can gather energy for another round of discussion after you get back inside.
You can also run through the dialogue with them just so you and the others are thinking of the same thing. For example, if you find that the conversation has gotten convoluted, you can say, “Excuse me, but are you saying that…” or “So let me get this straight…” before repeating what has been discussed based on how you understood it.
So, how can you be like these introverts?
Effective communication does not come naturally to introverts. But if they want to expand their social circles and undertake more experiences in life, then these are the things that they should do:
- Know what you want – Find out your non-negotiables in life to help you determine your priorities, dreams, hopes, and aspirations. By understanding what you want, you can make firmer decisions on the fly.
- Be confident – You know you have value and self-worth; just make sure that others see it too.
- Stick your neck out a little – Effective communication happens with practice, not by talking to yourself and shutting yourself in a room. Believe me, striking up conversations with people won’t hurt.
- Focus – What matters in a discussion is, you and the people you are talking to. Nothing more.
- Give yourself room to breath – When the conversation is getting too much for you, step out, breath a little, take a break, and step back inside when you’re ready.
Featured photo credit: Isolate top mountain alone cliff, Thinking work man face at Pixabay
Featured photo credit: Korney Violin via unsplash.com