Recently there was a Twitter trend on questions introvert get asked, some of them were (as can happen on Twitter) just silly although there was a general theme. My favourites from that day, and what’s been said to me were:
- Are you always this quiet? The answer I feel like giving is “No, only when there’s nothing worth saying”. Introverts don’t feel the need to be talking all of the time and are more comfortable with silence than some people. Sometimes smiling and countering with another question is fun.
- Why are looking so serious? I was recently talking about an Aunt, and it reminded me I’ve been asked this since the age of 10! Introverts can easily get caught up in their own thoughts which can make them look overly serious. We’re not, but being aware of this perception could allow you to change it.
- Are you leaving so early? I’ll normally tell a white lie at this point as I don’t have the energy left for a full discussion, “yes, it’s been a great evening, but I have an early start”. Socialising can be tiring for introverts and many deal with it by leaving early. If you’re worried about answering this one, set the evening up in advance so you can go early, or just slip out without saying all the goodbyes.
- Are you bored? Introverts tend to only add to conversations when they feel strongly about something that’s not being said. Maybe that comes across as being bored when we’re not. If you’re worried about this perception, asking some relevant questions, or summarising the points that are being made can help the conversation and prevent you looking bored. Or, maybe you’re bored with the inane smalltalk.
- Have you always been this shy? Being introverted and being shy are different things. Even more annoying that the question is when somebody speaks on your behalf “as you’re shy”. Introverts enjoy socialising, although need quiet time to recharge. Helping others to understand this can you and introverts everywhere.
- Don’t you like going out? The answer is yes; however, introverts also need to protect their energy and tend to value time on their own more than extroverts. If you’re worried about being asked this too often, arrange smaller quieter, gatherings with people you’re closer to. It can dispel the “rumour” that you don’t like going out.,
- Are you okay? Yep, I saved the most common till last! Introverts get focus on their own thoughts, that thoughtfulness can be seen by others as upset or angry and lead to questioning about whether or not they are okay. It’s nice to be noticed and for people to be concerned but repeats of the question can get frustrating. Explaining a little about the nature of introverts can help the other person understand AND get to know you better as well.
How do you deal with frustrating “stupid” questions?
I would really appreciate three minutes of your time to understand your views of extroversion, introversion and how (if?) they affect performance in business.