Introversion is a gift.
Honestly…I couldn’t agree with her more. Many of the so-called traits we possess are advantageous to us on so many levels, yet many introverts struggle with some of the traits, as they often times can feel that the traits work against them and not for them (like small talk, for example). We know it’s one of society’s normal conventions and ways of conversing, but to us, it’s an energy drainer & conundrum.
Question for you though…
Have you ever wondered the ‘why’ of some of these most common traits found in so many of us?
Well, I did. And for this discussion, I set out to find answers where I didn’t already know them.
Discovering the answers was both interesting and fun.
Avoiding or Loathing Networking
Most people would think this trait’s ‘why’ is connected to energy zapping. To the introvert, thinking of being forced to talk with many people, maybe even simultaneously we may not know, in an unknown social setting, is unnerving…literally. Just thinking about it makes us feel a bit of arrhythmia. But the actual reason we don’t look forward to it (or perhaps hate it), is because of the awkwardness and rejection we might experience. Here’s what I mean…
Introverts often feel misunderstood by many people (perhaps because they don’t understand many of these ‘why’s’ we’re discussing today). Volunteering to raise their hand and have more people not understand why they seem ‘stand-offish’ or don’t want to socialize or the infamous “she’s being rude”? Yeah, right. We’re not signing up for that voluntarily. Some introverts don’t loathe networking, but the ones who do feel exhausted at the thought of having one more person misunderstand them.
People-watching and observing
Oh, how we LOVE this. We can watch people for hours – with no conversation. I can, personally, go sit at La Madeleine in the mall and watch people while I eat alone – I have absolutely no qualms about doing so, and I don’t need company. I’m perfectly fine eating my meal then watching people for the next 30 minutes to an hour while I eat dessert, think, process, and observe. It’s often said that we watch and observe because we wish we were that outgoing or involved, when the opposite is true. We love that we’re not. Watching other people’s lives in those moments is our fun. We like it because it’s insightful and engaging. And because some introverts are highly sensitive and intuitive, we also discern a lot about things people are going through, sense moods, and intuitively process.
Slow train of thought and deeper processing
Because introverts are so inward, in our thinking, processes, and assimilating, we have deep inner lives. I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to ‘Depth of Life’ because it’s just a part of who I am and the introverted woman, period. I know we’re layered women – things take a while to sink in. This is why introverts have a slower thinking process sometimes. Notice I said thinking, not listening. We listen very well…we hear you. It just might take us longer to assimilate the information or be able to craft, what we would deem to be, an appropriate response we’re comfortable with. Aron’s HSP theory as a facet of introversion took actual brain scans and concluded that some of us take longer to process information because we have more sensitive sensory processing systems.
A lack of assertiveness (or saying ‘yes’ when we really feel ‘no’)
This is a common trait with some introverts. Usually, it happens because they either a) don’t want to feel left out, b) don’t want to miss something or c) are being pressured to feel that “it just won’t be the same without you.” Most of these aren’t true, at least half of the time. This one really boils down to balance. In my opinion, many introverts struggle with assertiveness because they’re trying to find that balance between craving alone time and fitting in. It’s a constant struggle for the ebb and flow of who they are, so it always feels like a huge decision to go many places they honestly really would rather not go. Balance is a good word here – an introvert desires to find a way to go to some things when she doesn’t want to, but mostly honor her initial gut reactions about invitations.
Hating small talk
At this point, everyone pretty much knows this about introverts. But why? Why do we hate it so much? I mean, would it kill us to ask how the weather is? (No, but close). It’s dang near painful. Think of the introvert like you would an investor. An investor finds his investment ‘mix’ and jumps in and invests a great deal. In return, he expects a substantial ROI (return on his investment). Millionaire entrepreneurs invest in startups, hoping for a return there. In the same way, introverts invest in their relationships – deeply. And often times, that means they also expect that level of return (this can be good AND bad). As a result of this quality, “investing” in a conversation that feels surface-y feels way out of our comfort zone. In fact, it drains us. There’s only energy going out (in our mind) – there’s nothing coming back. Even talking about the weather feels depleting, because I’m not getting a return on my investment. Our mantra? Energy in, energy out. This leads me to trait #6…
TMTS – Too much, too soon (or blurting out)
Because introverts are deep thinkers, we tend to divulge way too quickly. We skip the shallow and jump into the deep end about life details, worldview, and hot, emotional issues a bit too quickly. It’s like a wedding cake – we waste no time cutting right to it because we can’t dwell on the surface-level stuff. *Note – this would obviously not be the case for a shy introvert. Not all introverts are shy, and this trait is a perfect example of why that’s true.
Our need and craving for alone time.
You might remember my recent post on being an alone-time-a-holic? The truth is, solitude for the introvert can be our double bind. We have to have it to replenish and process everything from the day, but too much of it isn’t a good thing – we still crave intense connection with the right people when we’re ready to go out and associate.
*Small disclaimer here. These are not exhaustive nor are they meant to apply to every introvert, all the time. We all have extroverted qualities, and we are not all shy. This is meant to be a deep conversation with an interesting and informational slant.
I’d love this list to continue in the comments…any other traits you have noticed or have personally? Any theory on the ‘why’ behind it? Please share.
Thank you always for reading and contributing,
Want more on assertiveness? Check out my signature eCourse, Assurance, here from our Services Exhibit. Also, make sure you’re getting The Art of Modernity, our twice-a-month communique to get more content like this.