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7 Positives Only Introverts Would Understand

7 Positives Only Introverts Would Understand

There’s an avalanche of information about introverts on the web. The great thing about it is that it helps a lot of people realize their own introverted tendencies. Many introverts are beginning to understand why situations commonly perceived as problems by many are, well, simply non-problems for them. Here are some of those positives only introverts would understand.

1. They love cancelled parties.

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    Introverts love cancelled parties. Okay, maybe love is too strong a word. But an introvert really wouldn’t mind if a big party he was invited to suddenly got cancelled or postponed.

    Partying with a big group of people for a long period of time zaps an introvert’s energy. To expend less energy, introverts enjoy one-on-one conversations instead of group activities. You may know someone who’s dubbed as a “kill joy” because he wants to leave a party early. Stop the name-calling and consider that maybe that person is just tired and needs to recharge by spending some time by himself. He could be an introvert.

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    2. They’re cool with shutting up.

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      Society has a funny perception of silence. It’s as if something is terribly wrong if someone just wants to sit quietly by himself.

      Remember that there is such a thing as companionable silence. It’s when two people are so relaxed and comfortable with each other that no words need to be spoken. And there’s solitude too, which is the creative’s refuge.

      Introverts like silence and solitude because it’s during quiet times that many people, not just introverts, produce billion-dollar ideas, relax their minds, and recharge their bodies to face another day.

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      3. They get high (with energy) on being alone.

      No invites on a Friday night? No problem!

      While most people would be horrified and perhaps acutely depressed at the thought of spending the weekend minus social activities, your typical introvert is already getting started on his reading or movie list. That, or he’s already out hiking, hanging out at a bookshop, gardening, or writing weird poetry at the cafe.

      But remember that being alone doesn’t equate to loneliness. The thing is, introverts need “alone time” for them to conserve their energy. This doesn’t mean that they’re alone all the time. Balance is key as Marti Olsen Laney explains in her book, The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World, “Introverts need to balance their alone time with outside time, or they can lose other perspectives and connections.”

      4. They’re comfortable with eating alone.

      Dining alone has such a bad reputation, doesn’t it? Heaven forbid you eat a meal without a living human body next to you!

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      For most introverts, solo dining is a relaxing experience and a good opportunity to truly enjoy a meal in peace. Bear in mind that introverts have a low threshold for stimulation and are easily distracted. It’s a good thing people are starting to realize the value of dining in peace, like this restaurant.

      5. They just like to watch.

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        As funny as that may sound, they do.

        Introverts are observant by nature. They’re the quiet ones who prefer to sit at the sidelines and observe those around them. And no, they’re not judging people when they do this. This also doesn’t mean that introverts are wallflowers. They can talk your ear off if the topic is something they’re passionate or know a lot about. They simply don’t feel the need nor have the energy to be social butterflies.

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        As Susan Cain puts it, “We’re not anti-social; we’re just differently social.”

        6. They have few friends.

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          More than anyone else, introverts are masters at prioritizing quality over quantity, especially when it comes to friends. They form  fewer but deeper relationships with people. Amazingly though, many introverts thrive in the online world. Perhaps because online communication and networking gives them more time to think and reflect about how to express their responses as compared to real-world conversations.

          7. They take it slow.

          Most of the time, taking things slow is seen as a weakness and the ability to “think on your feet” is favored over the ability to reflect. But introverts prefer to do things little by little and think carefully before making big decisions. The innate gifts of slowing down and tuning into their inner world and reflecting on experiences and situations allow them to better understand other people and empathize.

          Introverts are good at unsettling extroverts without even trying. They can appear mysterious and don’t show much reaction or facial expression. So take the time to get to know someone and learn what makes them tick. Do this especially when your personality leans toward extroversion. Pretty soon these positives may hold true for you as well.

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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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