“Why are you so quiet?”, “Oh, I didn’t see you there.”, or “Are you shy or something?”. Questions I get all the time because you see me before you hear me. In a world filled with “overly friendly people”, I often feel misunderstood, discriminated, and ostracized for being introverted. One of the downsides of this kind of personality trait is that people don’t know that I’m great at a lot of certain tasks and skills. Let’s have a look at some of some of these misconceptions.
Since you’re shy, you can’t carry on a conversation. Actually, not only can I carry on a conversation, I rather participate in thought-provoking conversations. It’s really hard to do that with people who aren’t well-rounded. Not to say that I shut down immediately when people aren’t talking about things I’m interested in, but I end up just observing and waiting for a point to chime in on. Now, if there are no great points, I’m definitely mute. This misconception calls for people to think I lack social skills when really I love interpersonal relationships and hate small-talk. We make great counselors and love analyzing our close friends’ troubles.
It’s hard for you to have business relationships. My profession is marketing and when I tell people that, they get confused. In my profession, I don’t actually have to have a personal relationship with my clients or people I network with, but a familiarity relationship. To me, this skill set is much more professional than smiling in a clients face all the time and it lets them know that I’m a highly cognitive person that is only here to take the time to understand products or services.
You’re too shy to take charge. Introverts can lead just as effectively as outgoing people who use their charisma and energy to move people. For me, of course, the approach is very different. Although I enjoy working or being alone, I know how to put a team together based on what I know from being so observant, paying attention to details, and implementing the best decisions. So long as I’m prepared, humble, and attentive – leadership from an introvert doesn’t have to be so extra.
If you’re an extrovert, then don’t hesitate to befriend introverts. You may run the world, but our subtle uniqueness is required for your existence too.