If you were to call someone an introvert twenty years ago, you may have ended up wearing an elaborate cocktail on your face. Such was the stigma associated with this innocent personality adjective that it was considered nearly an insult. Fast forward a couple of decades later, introverts are being given a lot more limelight in pop culture, even romanticized, thanks to hit TV shows such as the Big Bang Theory and Sherlock. Even so, a lot of what is portrayed out there is merely the tip of the iceberg; there’s a whole lot more depth to introverts bubbling beneath the surface awaiting the discovery of the bustling, extroverted world that defines society today.
Introverts love to talk too
All you need to do is find the correct topic. Beware though; once you do hit the right spot with them, you may have to muzzle them back to quietness. Don’t be deceived by their shy demeanor; introverts only speak when they have something to say, or when the subject interests them. Otherwise, they keep silent rather than participate in a conversation where they have nothing to contribute. They prefer listening (which makes them good agony aunts), especially when surrounded by people they don’t comfortably know yet. In fact, they make superb hosts, as hosting bounces the attention off themselves, to making those around them feel comfortable. David Letterman is a perfect example of this – not many people would guess that this A-list TV host is an introvert. (Image via people.com)
Introverts like to go out
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…. sometimes. Introverts typically prefer staying indoors with a good book or movie, rather than going out clubbing. But that doesn’t mean they’re agoraphobic. They too, need to blow off steam once in a way. Try suggesting a stroll in a park or an activity that does not involve too much interaction – you’ll get more results that way.
Introverts don’t mean to appear stuck-up
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Remember Mark Darcy from Bridget Jone’s Diary whom we first thought had a stick up you-know-where? Well, that was because Mark was an introvert. Introverts live in their internal world and would rarely pass a live version of Spot the Difference; they can be blissfully unaware of their surroundings. When deep in thought, they may seem aloof and even creepy but really, all they’re doing is working out some complex logic in their head. If you’re lucky, you might even catch them in mid-gape with unfocused eyes. This is the “concentration” look. When this happens, do NOT snap a photo.
Introverts need a lot of space
Not physically though. Introverts need to retreat within the self regularly to recollect themselves as opposed to extroverts who get stimulated when being around people. You can see how this can be misinterpreted as being a loner. Think of them as a rechargeable battery; they can get along fine with fellow devices, but when their power runs out, they need to be secluded from the rest to recharge in their power pod. So when an introvert turns you down for a dinner date, don’t take it personally (yet). It may just be that they need their alone time for no
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Introverts are more accepting than you think
Behind that facade of what is often perceived as silent judgment, is in reality quiet perception. Because introverts are such space-needing creatures, their understanding of others’ personal lives can be quite tactful, and you’ll find that you won’t have to drop heavy hints for them to get ‘it’. Imagine how different life would be without having to tell anyone that dinner with your pet iguana is a private affair…
Introverts overthink. A lot. No, really. Wait, do they?
“What exactly do you mean by ‘I think too much’?”
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Yep. You can trust an introvert to twist a compliment directed at them into a negative remark, even an insult. Because their thoughts are constantly ticking inertly (as opposed to extroverts who are talking machines), they are less likely to get validation for their alternate interpretations, and tend to build their self-doubt till they land themselves in a confused rut. So if you plan to dish out the praises to a suspected introvert, be clear. Spell it out on a notepad or alphabet soup if you have to.
Introverts can appear eccentric
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But really, they’re just clueless. Their lone-ranger persona reprieves them of the need to conform; hence they may seem strange or detached. They are individualists who’d try new ways of getting things done, even if the existing method works fine. If it’s not broken, they might not hesitate to break it. Just look at Albert Einstein, one of history’s greatest eccentrics and introverts – he would collect used cigarette butts from streets to outsmart the doctor that banned him from purchasing tobacco for his pipe. Of course, that may just be desperation, but you get the picture…
Introverts make good leaders too
In fact, some studies show that introverts might make better leaders than extroverts. In a world where confidence and leadership is measured by outspokenness, introverts easily get overlooked for leadership roles. Barrack Obama, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela – all these transformational leaders prove otherwise. Introverts tend to lead in a very different style. They prefer letting others function independently as opposed to assigning roles to each person and then breathing down their necks. Being reserved with their words, they are more likely to listen, and listen to what is being said rather than how it is being said. (Image via usnews.com)
Introverts cannot become extroverts
They can train themselves to be more socially adept, but no, introverts are unable to become complete extroverts. A situation may arise where they may need to step in to fit the role of an extrovert, and most well-adjusted introverts will be able to do this just fine. However at the end of the day, they would still need to go back to their solitary power pods void of human presence for a couple of hours.
Nothing more to do here……
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Introverts are pretty comfortable being quiet
“Are you ok?” and “Why so quiet?” are probably two phrases that drive introverts batty. Just because they are silent for a while doesn’t mean that they are feeling left out. They might prefer listening than talking at the moment, or there is a possibility that have retreated to their usual wonderland in the tiny spot at the back of their minds where they are sorting a million hyperactive thoughts like a game of Solitaire. So while you’re being polite to include them in the talk, try questions like “What are you thinking?” and you might just score a visitor pass to this happy place of theirs.