Being an introverted person in an extroverted world

It can be hard for an introverted person to be accepted in many cultures today.

In the worlds of commerce, business, advertising and even traditionally solitary jobs such as writing, the ‘culture of personality’ is king. People are expected to work in open plan offices, brainstorm ideas, market themselves, socialize and be loudly enthusiastic about everything.

This is not great news for an introverted person who, therefore, likes to think things through before speaking, work alone and enjoy one-to-one relationships more than large crowds. It can be more difficult for an introverted person to achieve success because our thoughtful natures can lead to others thinking that we don’t have good ideas or are not confident enough to convey them. Even from school age, introverts are encouraged to ‘come out of our shell’, and in the workplace, we may be told that we are too quiet and reserved to qualify for a promotion.

However, we should not feel the need to apologize for our introverted nature. We don’t need to wear a sign around our necks saying:  ‘introvert: approach with caution’ as if we were a weirdly different species of human. We can embrace our quiet personalities and share our gifts, to make business and society a better place.

Introverts are often deep thinkers who can focus on details rather than taking a broad approach as extroverts often do. This kind of focus can be extremely useful in workplaces, helping us to spot problems or opportunities others miss. When we successfully communicate these ideas to others, we can become a valued member of the team.

Introverts thrive on close relationships rather than crowds

This often means that when others have problems, they turn to us knowing that we can be trusted. We may not be the one dancing on the tables at parties, or the most competitive leader at the team-building exercise, but we can become highly valued colleagues because of our thoughtful advice, discreet natures and ability to listen.

Introverts may not make the most noise at meetings and brainstorming sessions, but when we do speak it is usually because we have something insightful to say. This is because we like to think things through before sharing our ideas. Our ability to listen can be vital in bringing new ideas to fruition because we can listen to opposing views, think through possibilities and work out the best solutions.

Some people believe that an introverted person can’t work well in teams

This is absolutely not true. Introverts are just as good at working with others as extroverts, they are not anti-social or loners, they just work with people in a different way. While large meetings and social gatherings can be difficult for an introverted person because of the sheer volume of information that needs processing, they can thrive in intimate social groups and small teams. The introvert’s ability to listen to opposing points of view, and notice what is good about them, can help teams work together more cohesively and defuse potential disagreements.

Introverts can happily work for hours on a subject, gathering every little detail, where more extroverted people might tend to get by on as little information as possible. Because introverts like to know a lot about a subject before they form opinions about it, they tend to be excellent at in depth studies and ironing out the details, thus making sure work is done thoroughly and important information is not missed.

Introverts need to spend time alone regularly

We do this to recharge our batteries because we can become drained by too much time with others. The plus side of this need is that we often come up with insights during our alone time. Many creative inspirations, new ways of looking at problems and new ways of thinking and acting have come from introverts. Rosa Parks, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates and J. K. Rowling have all shown introvert tendencies but have hugely contributed to society with their works.

Society needs both introverts and extroverts because our different traits and personalities complement one another perfectly. While extroverts have dominated many industries in the past, businesses are wising up to the fact that an introverted person can bring valuable attributes and skills to the workplace. So don’t be ashamed to be an introvert, embrace your temperament and remember that you are following in the footsteps of giants when you refuse to deny your true personality.

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Kirstie Pursey

Kirstie Pursey

Kirstie is a freelance writer and blogger with a Diploma in Creative Writing from the Open University. She lives on the outskirts of London with her family of people, dogs and cats. Kirstie is a lover of reading, writing, being in nature, fairy lights, candles, firesides and afternoon tea. She loves to explore new ideas, particularly those related to psychology, spirituality and storytelling.