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5 Things You Should Know About Introverts

5 Things You Should Know About Introverts

The word ‘introvert’ has a lot of negative connotations today, particularly when we look at the Western culture that deifies extroversion as the social norm. In every aspects of our lives, the idea of being a hugely social, lively, chatty person who feeds off the energies of others and spends huge amounts of their free time and energy socialising.

Obviously this isn’t the case for everyone but there seems to be a bit stigma around introverts, moving from childhood ‘shyness’ into the adult moniker of being a ‘loner’ and all the connotations that come with it of being friendless, hating people, being the buzzkills of the party… and on and on it goes.

However, being an introvert is just the flipside to being an extrovert and while the modern world might not be built around us, we’ve got plenty to offer. Here are the key five things you need to know about introverts and being friends with them.

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1. Silence around an introvert is okay.

When an introvert is being silent, this is totally alright. We’re not upset, we’re not distressed, believe or not we’re kind of processing everything. Kind of like when a laptop is doing a virus and systems check, we might dip out of proceedings for a while, but then we’re fine again.

Point in fact, when we’re alone, we’re pretty silent anyway, so believe us when we say that it isn’t you. Introverts will dip into the conversation as and when we like but if you try pushing us, you’e just going to make us uncomfortable.

2. The ‘grumpy resting face’ isn’t a bad thing.

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resting face

    The famous resting face which makes people think you’re not having fun. “What’s wrong?” is the most common example of the reaction to an introvert’s expression. Believe it or not, nothing’s actually wrong, it’s just the way our faces are hanging.

    It sounds really silly, but chances are if you know a friend is a bit of an introvert, then they’re going to listen more and take in more than they put out. Therefore, while they’re dealing with processing everything, we really are listening and we’re not upset. Being quiet and having a bit of a moody expression – or if not moody, then just sort of expressionless in itself – doesn’t mean we want to be left alone or hate the party. We’re just taking it all in in our own way.

    3. Introverts do not hate people.

    We don’t hate people. Simple as that. Theres this common misconception portrayed by a lot of the media that if you’re not out every night with a new date on your arm or a drink in your hand, that somehow you hate people and hate socialising and all that jazz. Rubbish. Introverts do enjoy having fun with people and we do like actually going out to places.

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    The only difference is that we like to be in control of what’s going on. Going to the cinema? Give me at least a few hours notice so that I can mentally schedule some relaxation time with the TV in when I get home. I love people, I really do, as I suspect do most people, but the idea that introverts are these big misanthropes is a bit of a negative cloud that affects the perceptions of introverts.

    4. Taking a break is sometimes needed in social situations.

    take a break

      If an introvert is at a party or a social gathering or whatever, chances are that we’ll need to take a break every so often just so all of our social mojo doesn’t get drained througout the evening. We’re not talking a big fifteen-minute excursion away from the party but even five minutes outside can be enough to get us already to get going back into the swing of things.

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      Why do we need this, you might ask? Well, it ensures that us introverts don’t get so overwhelmed that we stop having fun, because we do enjoy having fun at parties. We just need a little break every so often just for a breath of fresh air, both physically and mentally, and if it gets us back on the dancefloor quickly, then surely that’s no bad thing?

      5. Introverts are all about the recharging.

      The key thing you need to remember about introverts and extroverts is this: we just recharge in different ways. Think about two different types of battery: a solar-powered battery and a regular phone battery.

      The solar-powered battery thrives from being out in the sun all day and being out doing things. It builds up its energy and keeps it going all night. The phone battery gets slowly drained out and about on a daily basis and so needs charging when you get home and you leave it alone.

      Extroverts recharge their energy by being around other people and social interactions while being alone drains them. Introverts are simply the opposite. Social interactions, however fun and awesome which they are, drain our battery limit and so we need alone time or relaxation time to charge ourselves up again.

      In short: introverts love people and parties and going out just as much as extroverts do. We just need some alone time to recharge ourselves back up to full and optimum working order. That way, we can be right alongside you when the party’s in full good-time-mood and that’s the way  I like it.

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      The Gentle Art of Saying No

      The Gentle Art of Saying No

      No!

      It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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      But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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      What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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      But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

      1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
      2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
      3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
      4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
      5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
      6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
      7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
      8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
      9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
      10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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