What is an introvert?
What is an introvert?
On a site full of advice for introverts and those that want to manage introverts more effectively as valued members of their teams, it seems an obvious what is an introvert? The answer isn’t always as simple, as different strengths of introversion can combine with other issues (e.g. Shyness). Here’s my version….
3 key points.
Typically an introvert will feel as if they lose energy in a group. The larger the group, or the less they know people in the group, the faster the energy loss. This will often mean that introverts want to “leave the party” earlier, or find large meetings far more tiring than extroverts.
Introverts typically process their thoughts internally (more likely to think quietly before they talk). An extrovert is more likely to be the other way round (may talk before they think). This can cause misunderstanding or tension between people in a business (or at home).
Introverts are more sensitive to stimulation and may get tired, earlier than a less sensitive extrovert, as sensory inputs (noise, people, lights) lead them to being overstimulated. Read the paper by Fishman, Ng and Bellugi “Do extraverts process social stimuli differently from introverts?”
What introvert does NOT mean
- Shy: Being shy is not the same thing as being an introvert. An introvert may have a preference for not speaking / interacting in a group of people (they’ll lose energy in doing so). A shy person will lack confidence, feel fearful or worse when asked to interact in the group of people. It is possible to be a shy extrovert!
- It’s not an absolute: There is a scale of strongly introvert, to strongly extrovert, so it’s not an absolute label. Some people will be more strongly introverted than others. This may lead to the statement that some people (presumably in between the two) are introvert extroverts, or ambiverts.
- Introverts are not anti-social: Introverts will, typically, prefer small groups to larger and closer friends to people they don’t really know. That doesn’t mean they’re anti-social, they have a preference for socialising differently to extroverts.
Now you know the answer to “what is an introvert”, what next?
The trick in life is to act differently to make use of information and get better results. What will you do with the information?
Some articles you may like to read:
- How to be more confident joining in conversations, as an introvert
- Surviving networking meetings, as an introvert
- The problems of being an introvert in business
I would really appreciate three minutes of your time to understand your views of extroversion, introversion and how (if?) they affect performance in business.
Introvert and extrovert
If you wonder about some of the terms, like introvert and extrovert, you may find the common questions page interesting.