BY BRITTANY M. ORIE LEAK
“Why are you so quiet?” “You’d rather stay home with Netflix and a book than go to a party? What’s wrong with you?” “Why don’t you want to go out tonight? Don’t you want to have some fun?” “Why don’t you get out more and make more friends?” Introverts have been bogged down by these irritating questions all their lives. Being an introvert in an extroverted culture is no easy ride. They are constantly labeled by our extroverted counterparts as “antisocial,” “boring,” or “shy.” They are also expected to live their lives the way others want them to instead of how they want to.
Many introverts have idealized extroverts for a long time and even tried to mimic extroversion in order to thrive socially. Sure, the hyped-up extroverted personality has its great strengths, such as having high energy and effortlessly engaging with people. But introverts also have just as much going on for them! Here are some signature characteristics of introverts and how they can use them to pursue greatness and success.
Given to deep thought. Introverts love to think. Because they are so inwardly focused, their thoughts run very wide and deep, and they often come across great revelations (or “aha!” moments). They love to tinker with thoughts and ideas and are very creative with their observations of the world and people.
Great listeners. These quiet folks would rather listen than speak, so listening comes quite naturally for them. Introverts listen with the intent to deeply understand a person, a concept, or a situation. They process every word you say and gather insight to give back to you! This is why introverts possibly make excellent teachers, counselors, and even detectives. In fact, in a romantic relationship or even a friendship, you can always count on the introvert for a listening ear and thoughtful advice.
Use their solitude wisely. The biggest component of introversion is the need for solitude. Introverts prefer spending time alone—sometimes with very small groups—over being with large crowds. There is a famous quote that says, “Solitude is the catalyst for invention and great ideas.” Try not to impede introverts while they’re escaping away in solitude. They are in their zone! They are busy creating, dreaming, and contemplating how to use their talents, abilities, and ideas to make the world a better place. Also, solitude helps the introverted soul recharge (mentally and emotionally) after socializing for extended periods of time. Introverts become drained by social activity, whereas extroverts are fueled by it. So if your introverted friend, spouse, parent, or sibling wants to be alone, be assured, it is nothing personal; they are simply easing their minds until they are ready to socialize again.
Think before speaking. Introverts are very careful about their words. This is why they come across as so quiet at first glance—they are in their heads a lot! This comes in handy when they need to practice for a speech, lecture, or any public speaking situation. They think and plan out their words carefully, so when they speak, it will come out eloquently and naturally. Unlike extroverts, many introverts cannot speak from the top of their heads too well; they’d rather not think out loud and premeditation works best for them.
Thoughtful about choosing their network. Introverts normally prefer not to have too many people around them. As they mature, having quality friends and connections over a high number of acquaintances becomes more valuable to them. Introverts have a strong sense of who they are and what they want in life, so they choose friends who will help them ascend in certain areas.
Just think, in a time such as now, we have to be more introverted than ever. Even extroverts have to flex their introversion muscles by staying home for the majority of their day and avoiding large gatherings (yes, extroverts are capable of introversion just as introverts are capable of extroversion). Many extroverts have had to see life from the eyes of introverts and how we live our lives, just as introverts have had to learn how to adapt in an extroverted society for years.
Nothing is wrong with being more introverted than extroverted. It’s all about using our innate abilities and tendencies to our advantage.