June 13, 2012

It's Just My Personality - Part 3: Being An Introvert

It's 7:00 AM. Your boss calls you at home and tells you to take the day off - everything is covered. What will you do with your unanticipated free day?

If you said, "Chill out at home alone, read a book, go for a solitary stroll," you are likely an introvert.

Being an introvert isn’t so much about being shy or not outgoing. It’s more about where you get your energy from.

As an introvert, you are energized:
  • By the internal world of reflection & contemplation 
  • When taking in information or ideas 
  • By quiet time alone
  • By thinking things through
This means that you are recharged and invigorated by time alone and prefer to have time to reflect and think things over before acting. Therefore, it is extremely important to carve out time for yourself during the week to get away. Introverts who don’t make time for reflection and solitude usually pay the price – they crash (either physically or mentally). Being with others drains an Introvert's energy level, so it is very important to set aside time to recharge!

At work and play, the Introvert:
  • Seeks quiet time for concentration & needs time to be alone 
  • Prefers interests that have depth 
  • Fore-thinkers 
  • Sometimes hesitates to act
One trap that Introverts fall into (aside from overscheduling) is that they spend too much time in reflection, become paralyzed, and find it difficult to get into action. They begin to think “too much” and get stuck. To avoid this trap, it can be helpful to set out a time limit for your reflection period (e.g. “I’ll make a decision on this by Friday.”).

Here’s an interesting article on how the workplace has changed over the last century in a way that puts Introverts at a disadvantage in many ways.

Finally, when it comes to communication, Introverts:
  • Pause before responding 
  • Process information internally 
  • Prefer written over verbal communication 
  • Prefer to work independently
Understanding your communication style is extremely helpful – especially when you are communicating with an Extrovert, who will prefer to talk things out, which can leave an Introvert feeling drained and overwhelmed.

Introverts can come across as distant or unengaged. So, developing the skill of being clear that you have heard the communication and then asking for time to reflect can be a real life saver for Introverts. Avoid the pitfall of trying to respond too quickly. You will usually regret your answer and have to do more work in the long run.

When it comes to E’s and I’s getting along, these two graphics sum it up nicely!

If you are an I interacting with an E:
  • Allow E’s to process with you
  • Understand that everything said isn’t acted upon
  • Offer outlets for stimulation and connection
 If you are an E interacting with an I:
  • Allow I’s time to think alone 
  • Don’t assume I’s aren’t thinking just because they aren’t talking 
  • Offer outlets for solitude and rejuvenation
Next week, we’ll be talking about the next personality type, Sensing (S) and then, after that, the S counterpart, Intuition (N).

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