Introverts in an Extroverts World


introvertAs a pastor, I was regularly required to preach and teach. I have had a great deal of positive feedback by those I present to and the positive effect in the their lives. However, after each time I taught or preached, as much as I enjoyed it, I felt drained. Yes, I had expended a great deal of energy in thought and presentation but unlike others who seem to gain zip from it - it was not the case for me. I could 'meet and greet' for a short time afterward, and then I needed to escape for some solitude.

I’m not shy; I enjoy people. I like meeting new people and enjoy getting to know people but sometimes struggle with a desire for small talk. I don't always feel the need to say something, and I am comfortable with silence, as such I don’t feel the need to chatter on endlessly. I also don’t feel the need to tell you how great, talented, educated, accomplished I am - it's not that I am not - I just don’t feel the need to self-promote (this frustrates my marketing people ;)). This may lead you to think I am arrogant. There may be some truth in this but not because I tend to be introverted. Introverts input tends to be slower in coming but generally thoughtful, reflective, more independent and sensitive than extroverts - sometimes this can be mistaken as arrogance.

For a long time, I used to believe introverts were shy, quiet, nerdy, insecure and arrogant. Imagine my surprise to find this is just not the case with introverts. About 25% of all people are introverted. Introversion is no more a disability than extroversion is. Introverts are those individuals who get life from quiet, thoughtful refection and meaningful conversation but find, as much as they enjoy being with other people and being social, it to be a drain on them. Where extroverts feed on social interaction - any kind of social interaction and often lots of it. It doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy quiet and solitude rather they get life of being social. The truth is that we are uniquely created, and each is gifted in unique ways. Introversion is in a real sense a part of temperament, and when understood, its strengths can be leveraged and can very effective and successful.

7 Benefits of Being an Introvert:

  • Introverts are great networkers. Networking is simply the development of relationships where there is a mutually beneficial exchange back and forth.   The process is really quite easy - to network we focus on meeting the needs of others in our circles of influence.  Consider that by helping another person get what they need will in time establish a desire on their part to help you in return.  A lifestyle of helping others meet their goals will result in others helping you meet yours and in the long-run this will pay dividends to the nth degree.

   Introverts have an advantage because they tend to focus on fewer key relationships than extroverts which yields a stronger core of relationships. This places an emphasis of quality relationships over a large quantity of not so strong a relationship.

  • Introverts tend to pay attention to details and often subtle ones.  This often positions them for more thoughtful answers to problems.  Naturally, introverts have a tendency to depth and substances over flash and verbosity.
  • Introverts, while aware of what others may think, tend to be less influenced by it than extroverts as extroverts tend to have a greater need to be liked.   The self-sufficiency of introverts tends to make them less driven to be liked thus allowing them to be a  little more detached.
  • In the workplace, in negotiation, planning, conflict resolution - the calm, patient, measured thoughtfulness of the introvert is an asset.  Introverts prefer to consider the thoughts, opinions, situations and impact upon others, then develop their thoughts independently.
  • Introverts have a great ability to focus and are not as easily distracted.  This can produce solid analytic thought as well as creative out of the box thinking.
  • Introverts work well with others and are especially effective with one-on-one relationships.  These relationships tend to be deep and cultivated for mutual benefit and longevity.
  • Extroverts can make great sales people - to pitch a message and develop enthusiasm but sometimes this can be a little much, especially when negotiations are getting down to the short strokes where the emotion of the buy transitions to the details of the buy.  Introverts are also more likely to listen to the customer's needs and concerns and addresses them specifically.  Introverts are effective closers.

Looking for more information? Marti Olsen Laney, Psy. D. author of The Introvert Advantage. How to Thrive in an Extrovert World.

Interested in exploring more of your personality?

The Keirsey Temperament Sorter -II (KTS-II) is widely used throughout the world. It is a 70 question personality assessment tool that helps individuals discover their personality type. Based upon Keirsey Temperament Theory it is published in the best selling book, 'Please Understand Me' and 'Please Understand Me II,' by Dr. David Keirsey.

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