Let’s face it: Parties, work discussions and group projects are dominated by extroverts, and we introverts have always had to work a little harder to stay in the game (even when it’s not a game we particularly care to be in)…
I’ve not always been particularly proud of being an introvert but I’ve come to terms with that rather easily. I mean, what else is there to do? It’s just how I feel most comfortable. Just a heads up, I believe everyone has extroverted and introverted traits, the terms are just used to describe the dominant one – and this post is in no way intended to be a bash against extroverts, either.
I mean, lord knows we need you. You guys rock, you get us out of our heads and you’re good at breaking the ice when it’s frozen in silence. I have great respect for you, in fact, I love hanging out with you. I used to feel somewhat ashamed for being so introverted and quiet and maybe a tad rude because I always need time to myself to recharge after hanging with friends for a long time… but I’ve started to embrace introversion. Here’s why.
I don’t rush to decisions – and I really like that about myself. I’m more averse to risk and more slow to really warm up. Next to extroverts who are known to be riskier, introverts can serve as an important balance for any group or society.
The art of listening
Extroverts like to talk, introverts like to listen—in group settings especially. That’s what I’m used to seeing, at least, and it appears to be true to me. It’s astounding how often I realise that I’ve caught a lot more information from a conversation than other people. I’m pretty sure I easily catch things others miss, like a wallflower. Being quiet and assertive isn’t a bad thing at all, it can be great in meetings or any important discussion or conflict.
Notice how introverts are often the artists, writers, philosophers or the engineers and scientists? Introverts spend a lot of time in their heads. They’re deep thinkers and their minds are constantly wondering, imagining, remembering, analyzing, planning, and dreaming.
There is evidence that quiet, independent thought breeds more creativity than group brainstorming sessions or loud collaborations. I know that I tend to be more creative with solutions and arguments when I sit by myself drafting it all up instead of shouting them into group discussions. That setting kind of takes away my straw of creativity, if that makes sense.
Most introverts are very thoughtful and intentional. When they do speak up—especially in group settings or meetings—it’s usually worth the time to listen (probably). In a world filled with an over-abundance of words, this can be quite the valuable trait.
Valuable friendships and relationships
An introvert’s ability to listen, desire for deep relationships, and natural persistence can produce strong, devoted friendships – and boy, that’s what I really value. We often make safe and trusted confidants. Introverts prefer one-on-one interactions vs. group interactions, and we’d rather have a few close friends than a large collection of acquaintances. Most of my friends are quite introverted too, and I know I can count on them if I want to be listened to.
Many introverts like myself place a high value on knowing and understanding ourselves, our feelings and behaviors. I sure as hell notice my own mistakes and reflect on how I can do better. I believe this can make introverts both great employees and partners—because we’re aware of our strengths and weaknesses, and we kind of must have a built-in drive to improve.