This brilliant infographic—Dr. Carmella’s Guide to Understanding the Introverted by Roman Jones—will help you understand how introverted people “tick”.
We live in a world dominated by extroverts. In What Extroverts Should Know About Introverts—3 Tips for Understanding an Introvert, I explained that introverts make up at least 25% of the World’s population yet are often misunderstood and undervalued.
Quiet people are often found to have profound insights. The shallow water in a brook or river runs fast: the deep water seems calmer. – James Rogers
How to Live With Introverts
As I’ve said before, I’m a right-brained introvert. But I’m neither shy nor aloof. In work, I am calm, self-contained, and notice detail many others don’t see. I listen more than I talk, and I prefer to think before I speak. In other words, I “spend” energy when needed.
Understanding an introvert isn’t rocket science, it’s simply recognizing and valuing differences.
What is introversion?
Introverted people live in a human-sized hamster ball (not really, but you know what we mean.) And, the major trait of a true introvert, in contrast to someone who is withdrawn, is how they gain their energy.
Extroverted people gain energy from their surroundings. They absorb “good vibes” from the people around them and need lots of social interaction.
By contrast, introverts make their energy. Unlike extroverts, they spend their energy during social interaction. This means that most introverts find prolonged social interaction exhausting and need time to “recharge”.
Because this energy is a limited resource, they tend to see extroverts as obnoxious predators out to steal out to steal their sweet, sweet energy juices (Dr. Carmella’s words, not mine.)
That’s why they need their personal space.
How to interact with the introverted
Introverts enjoy company, but they find interacting with people tiring because it consumes lots of energy. So, introverts avoid expending energy on something that they consider wasteful.
Here’s what to do…
Say “Hello”, be polite and relaxed, show that you recognize and approve of their presence. It is important for introverts to feel welcome, as they won’t spend their limited energy on someone who doesn’t want them around.
So, if you have interesting new or information, simply mention it. But don’t press for gossip. Then go back to whatever you were doing.
Now, the introvert knows you’re friendly and open to interaction, but will not push them into spending energy if they have no need to do so.
Ta-dah! That’s all there is to it.
- Respect personal space (hamster ball)
- Energy is limited
- Don’t demand to have energy spent on you when it’s not particularly needed
- Don’t take silence as an insult; it isn’t
- Introverts get lonely too
Be sure to hug an introvert today… with permission, of course!
If you found this useful, please take a few minutes to read What Extroverts Should Know About Introverts — 3 Tips for Understanding an Introvert. It’s about getting the best from teams, which inevitably are made up of introverts and extroverts.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Maybe you’re a bit of both? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.