Monday, July 9, 2012

I'm Putting This on a Card and Handing It Out To People

I was at work searching for a few things when I came across this little gem - Revenge of the Introvert by Laurie Helgoe.  When I was in grad school, we all took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and I scored highly as an introvert (my type was ISFJ.  I was borderline on the last two, if I remember right.  I could have gone either way).  It was kind of a nice moment for me - I finally had someone tell me that it's okay to hate going to social functions and being around obnoxiously huge groups of obnoxious people.  I'm not weird for preferring to spend Friday night at home with a book than schmooze with a bunch of goobers that got thrown together from the local singles' wards (that last one highly applies to the Wasatch Front area.  Good night in heaven, do those people realize how completely ridiculous they can be?)

Then, I got looking into the subject - found articles and books to explain the whole thing to me.  I'm not going to go into a lot of detail about it, but I did like this list that came from the above article (it's on page 4, if you're interested.  The whole article is well-worth your time, especially if you have a friend that you keep giving grief for being "weird" and "anti-social."  Read the article and then tell your friend you're sorry.  They will be even more appreciative of your friendship, I promise).

What Not to Say to an Introvert

Introverts, those quiet creatures that walk among you, are not as mild-mannered as made out to be. They seethe and even will lash out at those who encroach upon or malign their personal comfort zones. Here are a few emotional buttons to avoid with your introverted companions:
- "'Why don't you like parties? Don't you like people?' is a common remark introverts hear," says Marti Laney, a psychologist and the author of The Introvert Advantage. "Usually we like people fine," she insists. "We just like them in small doses." Cocktail parties can be deadly. "We're social but it's a different type of socializing."

- "Surprise, we've decided to bring the family and stay with you for the weekend." Anyone anywhere on the -vert spectrum could find such a declaration objectionable, but it's more likely to bring an introvert to a boil, according to Nancy Ancowitz. Introverts count on their downtime to rejuvenate their resources; an extended presence in their homes robs them of that respite.

- Don't demand immediate feedback from an introvert. "Extraverts think we have answers but just aren't giving them," Laney says. "They don't understand we need time to formulate them" and often won't talk until a thought is suitably polished.

- Don't ask introverts why they're not contributing in meetings. If you're holding a brainstorming session, let the introvert prepare, or encourage him to follow up with his contributions afterward.

- Don't interrupt if an introvert does get to talking. Listen closely. "Being overlooked is a really big issue for introverts," Laney says. Introverts are unlikely to repeat themselves; they will not risk making the same mistake twice.

- Above all, "we hate people telling us how we can be more extraverted, as if that's the desired state," says Beth Buelow, a life and leadership coach for introverts. Many introverts are happy with the way they are. And if you're not, that's your problem.

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