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20 Things To Remember If You Love An Introvert

20 Things To Remember If You Love An Introvert

I 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 don’t you want to go to this party?” 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 the time to be quiet.

If you’re an extrovert, don’t take it personally when we don’t jump at the chance to be in large groups of people and remember these 20 things if you truly love an introvert.

1.  They enjoy quietly being alone

Yes, we actually enjoy spending time alone. In fact, we thrive off of it. It gives us a chance to gather our thoughts and recharge. It gives us time to do more things that we really like to do such as read, write, or reflect on our day. Extroverts may enjoy alone time too, but our time typically needs to be in a quiet place and for longer periods of time.

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2.  They can be overwhelmed by large crowds

We don’t typically enjoy spending long periods of time in large crowds. While we may endure it for a concert, parade, or special event, we don’t look forward to being around masses of people. After a while, it can be really overwhelming and although we may not cover our ears, scream and freak out in large crowds, we secretly wish we could.

3.  They really do like other people

Introverts aren’t necessarily anti-social. We just don’t get energized by people and sometimes it just takes us a little longer to warm up to someone. Be patient with us. Often, we want to get to know you better before we actually show you that we enjoy your company. We do like you, even if we don’t show it!

4.  They are highly introspective

We seek to find the deeper meaning in life, sometimes to a fault. We tend to analyze situations that really don’t need to be analyzed. If it takes us longer to understand something, it’s not because we don’t get it, it’s because we are thinking about the deeper meaning. In general, we seek to understand the deeper meaning of life.

5.  They prefer to get know fewer people on a deeper level

Many introverts are perfectly happy with a close, small group of friends. It can be overwhelming to keep up with a lot of friends because introverts feel like they need to really know all of them. So, they may prefer to have a select group of really close friends they can get to know on a deeper level.

6.  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, because they want to devote all of their attention to the other person.

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7.  They have a lot of fun!

Introverts are not boring people. They just like to save their best stuff for the right people in the right situation. They can act silly, crazy, be loud, and even sing karaoke! However, even reading a book can be considered fun for an introvert. Reading a book in a crowded room full of people? Not so fun.

8. 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. As a guy, I used to think this was the only way to get the ladies (it’s not). I love myself as an introvert, but sometimes I wish I could live it up as an extrovert.

9.  They enjoy a quiet night in

I actually prefer to stay home on a Friday night. I may go out with friends, a party, or out to dinner, but I actually prefer to stay in and avoid the large crowds. I live in a city so it’s difficult to truly get away and spend time alone. The best place I can do this at is sitting in my living room watching a movie or reading a book.

10.  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.

11.  They don’t necessarily have fun at parties

Even if everyone is having a great time, it doesn’t necessarily mean that an introvert will. A party with a lot of people just isn’t always fun. We know it’s supposed to be fun bu, large numbers of people in small spaces actually make us feel uncomfortable. It doesn’t mean we aren’t fun people or don’t enjoy people, it’s just hard to be ourselves in large groups.

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12.  They don’t like to talk about themselves

Introverts typically don’t like to brag about themselves. They are more interested in getting to know the other person first. They often have a lot to offer to a conversation but sometimes wonder if they add any value to a conversation. Also, they just don’t want to come across as a too much of a know-it-all. In other words, we might not say out loud how “stoked” we are about something.

13.  They want to really get to know you

We like to build honest, authentic, “real” relationships. Sometimes it doesn’t come across that way initially because we can be guarded. However, we are interested in you and what you have to say. It just takes us a little more time to open up. We secretly revel in the excitement of getting to know someone better.

14.  They work better in small groups

Employers should know that we prefer to work in small groups because it’s just easier for us to do it and we actually perform better. It’s also easier to speak up with fewer eyes watching you. We also like to get to know each individual in these small groups, because it’s less overwhelming when we don’t feel as if we have to know everyone in a large group.

15.  They notice things other people might miss

Introverts are valued assets in the workplace because they often notice details that others might miss. Because they are deeply introspective, introverts might be able to come up with a potential solution to a problem that may have been overlooked. They may not speak up about it but doesn’t mean that they aren’t thinking about it. In fact, studies confirm that introverts can be great leaders, too.

16.  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.

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17.  They aren’t necessarily shy

Shyness and introversion get lumped together because many of the traits between the two overlap. Sometimes an introvert isn’t afraid to meet other people, but they just prefer to do it in their own way. In fact, extroverts can be shy! A well-known Stanford researcher points out that many public figures are both extroverted and shy.

18.  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.

19.  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.

20.  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, 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.

One definition certainly doesn’t define who I am, yet it’s helpful to understand that I am not the only one who experiences these personality traits. We aren’t crazy, we aren’t boring, and we aren’t anti-social. We may be some of these at times, but who isn’t?!

In general, introverts are just people who prefer to slow it down a little and re-energize themselves from a quiet place of peace and tranquility.

Featured photo credit: Marco Bond via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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