Are you an introvert or an extrovert? If you’re an extrovert, this is your survival guide to living and working with and understanding introverts. This week, we discuss ways to have better interactions with introverts.
This week’s Inspire Me quote is from Soren Kierkegaard:
“People understand me so poorly that they don’t even understand my complaint about them not understanding me.“
Everyone has some measure of extroversion and/or introversion (or even both). We tend to view others in comparison to where on the extroversion/introversion continuum we ourselves fall. Extroverts have to understand that introverts aren’t what the myths describe them as. Instead, introverts have their own strengths that stand out once they have quiet time to think and process and prepare.
Quotes from the show:
- “An extrovert is someone who is energized by people or social settings, and an introvert is someone who is energized or recharged by solitude.” —Armin
- “Sociologically, we really reinforce extroverted behavior and so introverts have grown up learning how to be extrovert-like in order to fit in.” —Leary
- “Even though [being left alone is] where they recharge, it’s not their preference to be lonesome, […] isolated, and not have people in their lives. They like to have six or [fewer] friends, and they like to have really deep relationships with them. […] They still want to engage with one other person they can ‘introvert’ with.” —Armin
- “When you do forge a relationship with an introvert, it usually does have some meaning because they don’t need a lot of people in their lives. That taxes their energy.” —Leary
- “[Being alone is] where [the introvert’s] creativity comes alive, that’s their inspiration. […] It’s not just their escape from people—it’s their way of dreaming and […] of creating vision […] and coming up with new ideas. […] It’s not to get away from people, but it’s to enter into something. It’s inspirational for them.” —Armin
- “If you want ideas from [introverts], […] give them time. They need time to think about it, and they need time to think about it on their own. […] Once they’re in a group setting, [they get] all [the group’s] ideas into their head where it makes it almost impossible for them to come up with their own thing.” —Armin
- “One of the biggest [helps] is to find a way for them to communicate to you that they’ve had enough [socially]. […] I need [my wife] to […] have a cue when she’s had enough extroversion, and [I need to] respect that.” —Leary
- If you work with an introvert or want to develop a relationship with an introvert, go deep water fishing, not fly fishing, because introverts are like the ocean. You have to ask deeper questions. Ask, “What have you been pondering this week?” and focus on them while they answer. —Leary
Comments? Questions? Stories from your own life? Share them with us in the comments below.
Resources mentioned in or related to this podcast episode:
- Leary’s blog, “What I learned about leadership from an introvert.”
- Keirsey & Bates, Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types.
- Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.
- Marti Olsen Laney, The Introvert Advantage: How Quiet People Can Thrive in an Extrovert World.
- Liz Wiseman, Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter.