Six Things Extroverts Want Introverts To Know
We live in an extrovert’s world. We know that workplaces celebrate the louder, dominant personalities who have no trouble speaking up. Even in our private lives, individuals who keep up appearances – attending social events regularly and keeping in contact with friends – are more often in the good books.
In Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking she discusses how society has created the “Extrovert Ideal”: a dominant personality who enjoys socialising and all the interaction that comes with it.
Furthermore, Susan explains that, “Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings but after a while wish they were home in their pyjamas… They listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation.”
She also makes the point that “Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we’ve turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform.”
You may not know whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, but the simplest breakdown of these terms is that extroverts tend to re-energise around people, introverts tend to draw energy from alone time. You can do a quick test to find out over at 16 personalities. They’ll give you your whole Myers Briggs breakdown, too.
I identify as an extrovert, but that’s a change after testing as an introvert for many years of my life. When life is tough, I withdraw and try to preserve my energy, and when life is dandy, I am more outgoing. Of course, this is pretty much guesswork, but it does mean I feel I can empathise with both introverts and extroverts.
Here are some things I’d like to share – things extroverts want introverts to know:
#1. Extroverts want introverts to accept their own introversion
Probably much to introverts’ dismay, getting to know you is a joy. Extroverts appreciate introverts’ well-thought-out points of view and carefully considered responses to life’s problems. We fully recognise that introverts offer an alternative perspective to our own and have a lot of respect for what these can bring to the table.
#2. You do not have to attend every social event
We get it. Everyone – both introverts and extroverts – need alone time. Finding ways to understand your needs better and recognise when you are signing up to too much is important. If you know you’ve got a full working week and limited time alone in that week, make sure you don’t overcommit yourself: whatever your introverted self can handle. It’s fine for you to say you have too much on – not so cool to pull out last minute.
#3. You are not expected to talk
Sure, we get that sometimes it feels like you are not contributing through conversation, but rest assured we are probably thinking, “Sweet, this person’s a great listener!” Introverts are expert listeners, and extroverts love talking. It’s a match made in heaven.
#4. Small talk sucks for everyone
If you don’t want to engage in small talk, you don’t have to. That said, please know that not all extroverts want to talk about the weather and the traffic. Small talk is pretty average for everyone, but it can be a means to more interesting conversation, too, so if you are up for chatting, please don’t put us in a small talk box.
#5. Find alternative ways to nail it at work
Introverts are often good at planning. Extroverts can be pretty good at showing up to a meeting and winging it with words. Given public speaking can be terrifying for introverts, one way of tackling the work environment is to spend extra time planning.
#6. Don’t apologise for being introverted
Extroverts are rarely challenged on their extroversion, so why should introverts be? It may come naturally to introverts to shy away and not force their viewpoints on others, fair enough. But you can still live it, breathe it, be proud of it and understand that you should never apologise for it. Hell, extroverts don’t! And we don’t expect you to, either.
If you think you might be introverted, know that extroverts probably think you’re great just as you are. Susan explains it best. If you think you might be introverted, “Stay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don’t let others make you feel as if you have to race.”
Basically guys, you do you. We’re down. And remember that your personality type could help you find your perfect job.
Alexandra Longstaff is a writer, editor and stylist in Sydney. She is a yoga and nutrition enthusiast, passionate about sustainability, and she really likes her cats.