Friday, 8 July 2011

Introversion - misunderstood yet common!

I’ve been reading some excellent “introvert” sites lately.  The writers have been very thoughtful and generous in sharing their information and ideas. Here are some examples:
 Now I am an introvert, but not on the far edge of the bell curve. I am also people rather than task orientated which is a bit of a conflict, because I exhaust myself and my ability to socialise as I get my work done. 

I may also drive other introverts crazy because I am highly positive, actively network and lack the cynicism shared by some other introverts.   

I’d not been really aware of my introvertedness because I grew up virtually alone except for animals and my father, I studied alone at school and I almost always worked alone or in roles that required independence and self organisation.

When I went from working on my own or one-to-one with a client to working in an open plan office I started to come home mentally exhausted and wanted just to NOT SEE ANYONE!  My tolerance for all the people around me at home plummeted. This is normal for an introvert.  
The lessons? 

An introvert needs a sanctuary and alone time.  Constant interruptions when they are recharging their batteries after over dosing on social interaction will cause actual pain.  Cheering up etc will not help – give them space!

At work, recognise introverts may not thrive on social events and meetings, but may prefer to concentrate quietly on their work. They may also not emote or smile much. Don’t interpret this as bad will – its just the way they are.  Learn to leverage what they bring to the table, as you would with any other form of diversity.   

Oh …. and in the case of romantic relationships – you may need to get to know the person better before they let you read their emotions and just because they don’t seek out crowds and parties, does not mean they would not be a kind, loving and very affectionate partner! 

Alone yet reaching for heaven - agave inflorescence (Southbank 2011)


  1. Interesting post. I've given a lot of thought to the introvert/extrovert issue over the course of my life. I grew up very, very introverted but over the years I've been gradually becoming more outgoing. I'm capable of being quite friendly, outgoing and sociable these days but I still feel like the major part of my core identity belongs to a deeper, inner self that is difficult to bring forth and share with the world. Not that I don't want to, it's just kindof difficult.

    I do agree that when meeting new people and becoming friends (and possibly lovers) it's important to be patient. Sometimes it can take some time for the other person to unfold and blossom into her/his true self in your presence. It's important to be attentive, but give them some space too, and don't be in a hurry to try to bring everything out into the open right away.

  2. Thank you Eric for your thoughtful comments and good advice. Your views support what I have been reading and my experiences. I have also noted that some successful people I know have developed the ability to be more outgoing, even if they started out with less than perfect people skills. Please feel free to leave comments on other articles - your viewpoint will be most welcome (and valuable). :-) C