The Gifts of Introversion

Ever Heard of Rodney?

If you’re an introvert, you may feel, at times, like Rodney Dangerfield, the comedian who started every gig with the line, “I get no respect.” Let’s face it…you’re not an extrovert…never will be. You’re not the one dancing on top of the tables. 

Now, no one is totally an extrovert or totally an introvert. It’s a scale. A lot of people define themselves as part introvert and part extrovert. 

The Upside

But here’s the cool thing about introverts. First, they’re good listeners. Listening is a skill so important that part of my counseling requirements was to demonstrate “Active Listening”. 

After all, in a normal conversation, how many times are you half listening and half planning what you’re going to say next? That’s not actually listening…that’s conversational sparring. When you find someone who actually listens to what you have to say, you feel heard. You feel acknowledged. That person is a keeper.

Introverts are deep thinkers. Therefore, they’re capable of intimate relationships on a deep level. For this reason, they have fewer friendships, but probably know these friends more intimately. 

Introverts are rarely bored. Their active brains are constantly percolating. 

They’re naturally creative, and are usually full of ideas. 

 I once asked my ninth graders, “How many of you can entertain yourself when there’s no one around?”

I looked at the raised hands in the room. “You are the lucky ones,” I said. “You’ll never be bored.”

More Contributions from the Introverts!

For all the above reasons, introverts also make good CEO’s, and many are heads of companies and corporations. They’re good leaders. They make smart decisions because they listen to the opinions of their employees, and don’t make judgements in haste. They deliberate before deciding. Impulsivity isn’t a part of their toolbox.

If you’re an introvert, you have the power to make changes in the world. If you don’t believe me, here are a few famous introverts, and these are just the ones we know about… Eleanor Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, JK Rowling, Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks, and Steven Spielberg, Steve Jobs may not have been an introvert. This fact is still debatable, but he was smart enough to partner with Steve Wozniak, who definitely fit that bill.

So, claim your gifts and embrace your nature.

You go, introverts!

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Are You An Introvert?

Are You In the Majority or the Minority?

I want to expose a fallacy, at least a fallacy in my own mind. Just because the majority outnumbers the minority doesn’t make the majority better, more superior, or right. It just makes them the majority. No group has a patent on correctness. Ok…maybe Snopes.

 It’s said there’s power in numbers, and I don’t argue with that. But let’s face it, it’s more fun to be in the majority. You have more people who agree with you. You’re in a bigger club. What’s not to like?

Introverts

This is where introverts tend to get the short end of the stick. Nature didn’t make as many. We’re in a smaller gene pool.

In my counseling practice, I rarely met an introvert who was proud of their introversion. In fact, they were almost apologetic, as if it was a personality flaw. 

Introverts are not extroverts. But they’re drawn to each other and often require each other’s company to feel complete. You’ve heard that opposites attract. Just look at married couples. You’ll often find an extrovert married to an introvert. But they have different needs and interests.

Parties

Let’s take parties, for instance. Extroverts love parties. The more people, the better. Extroverts are masters at small talk, and parties offer an endless audience of people.

 I now cherish my introversion, but it wasn’t always that way. I remember taking the Myers Briggs test where your personality type is defined. I was initially tempted to check the “I love parties” box because that’s how I wish I felt.  

So, here’s my take on parties, from an introvert’s perspective. I’m not a fan. I pretty much regard large parties the same way I feel about airplane travel…2 hour flight, ok…3 hour flight, tolerable…4 hour flight…get me out of here! But, before you judge me as a total dud, let me explain.

I have nothing against small gatherings.  But as far as large groups, I find trying to listen to more than one conversation at a time short circuits my brain. At these soirees, I can’t keep up, much less add to the chat. My only salvation is to corner someone and start a one- on- one conversation. Now, that’s fun!

 You know you’re an introvert if people come up to you at parties and ask, “Are you having fun?” That’s a dead give-away. Well, here’s the answer to that question. “If I’m still here, I’m having fun”. My advice to introverts is…  “take your own car”. That’s your ticket to a fun party.

 So, if you’re feeling apologetic about your introvert status in life, my next blog will be about the gifts of introversion. With any luck, it’ll change your world view.