Introverts – common questions

Introverts – common questions

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There are many misunderstandings and myths about being introverted. These are the most common questions about introverts that have been asked in my research so far, as well as the answers! if you have more of them, please let me know.

 

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Is there a difference between shy and introverted?

Shy and being introverted are not the same thing, although to many people they may appear to be the same. Introverts are normally happy to spend time alone and may get (emotionally) drained after spending a lot of time with others (sp. work or non-close friends). A shy person doesn’t necessarily want to be alone but is anxious/ afraid to interact with others. An introvert may be shy; but not all introverts are, many introverts have excellent social skills, when they choose to use them and be with people. Introverts often develop strategies to help them deal with social situations, but they will always be introverts. The difference between being shy and introverted may be as simple as whether you can choose to be social without anxiety. Read more about introvert v shy, click here. A common issue identified in my survey (have you taken the survey?) is that even many extroverts feel less comfortable networking in large groups where they didn’t know many people.

What is an introvert personality?

The introvert personality type is something that’s often identified in many personality theories. An introvert tends to be:

  • happy to spend time on their own
  • (emotionally) drained after spending a lot of time with others (sp. work or non-close friends).
  • somebody who will process their thoughts internally not externally
  • focus on internal thoughts and feelings, rather than wanting external stimulation

You may also like to read “What is an introvert” for more details.

Please help.

I would really appreciate three minutes of your time to understand your views of extroversion, introversion and how (if?) they affect performance in business. 

What are your views? Take the 3 minute survey.

Are introverts asocial?

No.  People with an introvert personality are often more sensitive to social cues than extroverts. Introverts are typically more empathic and interpersonally connected than more extroverted people. Introverts tend to prefer more intimate relationships than being in larger groups and conforming group norms. Groups will normally leave introverts feeling tired or emotionally drained.

I don’t like public speaking, does that make me an introvert?

No it doesn’t glossophobia is something else altogether. Many introverts love being on stage and some of the best public speakers I know are introverts. In fact, because introverts tend to focus on preparation and thinking things through, they may make better speakers. Being fearful of public speaking is a behaviour, so you can learn to deal with it. Taking it a step further many well-known actors identify as introverts, yet they love being on stage.

Do introverts dislike being around people?

No. They enjoy (and possibly need) solitude more than more extroverted people, they enjoy being around people in a different way. If your  dislike of being around people is based in fear or anxiety that’s something other than being introverted. 

Are introverts more aloof?

No, although many people think they are. This assumption is because introverts prefer communicating with few people in greater depth, and their (stereotypically) dislike of small talk with a group of people. This can make networking in groups harder for introverts, but they can learn coping strategies. Some introverts may come across as aloof as they know their preferences and are not bothered by what others think of them.

What’s all this about energy levels and introversion?

Most introverts relate to being drained of energy by interaction with groups of people and regain that energy by being on their own. This is different to most extroverts who are energised by interaction with others. Jungian psychology views extroverts as oriented to the outside world, and introverts more focused on their inner world. Not many people are one extreme, or the other, and the situation can make a difference as well (family or private groups, v public open groups).

I’m an introvert, so I can’t present to others

Actually, you may make a better presenter than many extroverts. Introverts are often more meticulous in their preparation, research and thinking things through than extroverts. That could give you a great advantage when presenting. Writing something the audience want and appreciate is a large part of being a great presenter.

Are introverts more negative than extroverts?

No. Introverts may gain energy and motivation by being on their own, this is different to being negative. An extrovert typically doesn’t like being on their own, so we don’t tend to see them when they are less energised/ negative. The myth about introverts being negative is strengthened by the extroverts who don’t like being on their own, assuming that when other people are on their own they must be unhappy.

Are introverts more likely to be depressed?

There’s no direct link between introversion and depression. This belief may be caused by extroverts who don’t like being on their own, feeling sad when alone, assuming that when people are on their own they must feel the same – and that on your own more must be more than sad. Introverts do tend to spend more time thinking things through and if this is done to excess it could lead towards depression. As an introvert it’s wise to note when you’re being on your own and thinking inwardly too much and having a strategy to do something more positive.

It’s easy to spot if somebody is introverted, or extroverted.

It’s a lot harder than most people think. A preference for spending time alone to recharge the batteries, is not the same as saying one can’t talk the hind legs off a donkey in a social situation. The difference comes after the social event, with the way the introvert acts when they leave that social situation. Introverts do like socialising, but differently to extroverts.

Introverts are timid.

Like the term shyness, there is a difference between timid and introverted. Because a person is willing to sit quietly, and listen doesn’t mean they are timid. In fact, being good at sitting and listening is often a strength for a business leader. Timid means easily frightened, or lacking courage. Most introverts are not fearful of situations, they simply know what motivates them and what doesn’t. They may choose, or not, to be involved in social situations.

Introversion, extroverts and narcissism

A extravert is energised when spending time with people, where the introvert bleeds energy and is happy on their own. Extraverts don’t understand introversion. An extravert will assume that company (especially theirs) is always better than no company.

There is a scale of introvert/ extraversion, few people are one extreme or the other. The more extravert somebody is the less they can imagine why someone would need to be alone. In (rare) moments of self-reflection most extraverts I’ve asked think the very idea is invented, even after explanation!

That’s before discussing a trait, often linked with high extraversion, narcissism!

An extravert is no more a narcissist than all introverts are shy. However, many people assume they’re linked as narcissists crave recognition and admiration, which some see as part of extraversion. Narcissists also tend to assertive (bordering on aggressive?) in promoting their own interests (note: their interests, often not the same as the business interests).

Read more

 

Please help.

I would really appreciate three minutes of your time to understand your views of extroversion, introversion and how (if?) they affect performance in business. 

What are your views? Take the 3 minute survey.

If you want a copy of the text, please contact me