There I was, sitting in a small meeting room sipping my herbal tea while being interrogated by a requiter for a new job opportunity. The interview went really well. It felt as thought we were on the same page and jokes were being made.
“Would you describe yourself as being extravert or introvert?”. Introvert, I said very committedly. She was struck dumb by my answer and my self-confidence for coming out for being an introvert. “But you are so talkative and easy going…?”. Yep, that is correct.
She looked very surprised and I could see somewhat of a disappointment in her eyes. I could see her mentally stoking a red cross through my cv, as if this was a big negative for the job.
“But you will have lots of client contact in this job… won’t that be a problem then?”. Well, of course not, I like building strong and close relationships with people, and therefore also my clients… Why would that have to do anything with being an introvert, I wondered?
Something is going awfully wrong when it comes to the perception of introverts. It seems as though introversion has a negative flavour to it. I’ve read several articles that imply that introverts need to step up their game of becoming more extravert in order to achieve success… As a proud introvert I strongly disagree! So for the sake of all my fellow introverts, I would like to get some misconceptions out of this world. Let’s make introversion a characteristic to be proud of!
Introverts are all Plain Janes
Apparently we are dull, unable to express ourselves and reluctant to connect to other people. Honestly, a room full of people intimidates me, so you won’t voluntarily find me at things like networking events. Introverts are often very sensitive to atmospheres and incredibly conscious of their environment. For introverts nothing really goes unnoticed. So even before stepping into a group of people engaged in a conversation, we have already analysed the entire situation, hierarchy and interpersonal relations between people. Therefore, social events can take a lot of energy processing all those impulses. That doesn’t mean we don’t like connecting to people. In the contrary, building and maintaining deep and meaningful relationships with people is something we are very good at. Just not with a bunch of people at the same time. Personal attention is more our style!
Introverts don’t stand up for themselves
Extensive meetings with a lot of interaction all the while being stacked into a cramped space… ahhh, every introvert’s biggest nightmare! Meetings are an overkill of impulses and often make my brain go haywire trying to process it all. Whenever the round of ideas is due, it feels like all the words ‘conveniently’ turn into scrambled eggs in my head. By the time I made some sort of acceptable sentence for other humans to comprehend, the moment is often already gone. Therefore, it is not that we don’t want to engage and share our ideas during meetings, it is merely that our brain is still trying to connect the dots. However, introverts are excellent listeners and keen observers, like I said before, nothing goes unnoticed. Ask us anything an hour after a meeting, and we’ll have a deliberate answer for you!
Introverts are loners
Indeed, introverts don’t spark in office spaces stacked with 30 people… hence, all those impulses! Most introverts are great at working independently. That’s because introverts are great thinkers. Our brain never stops, it’s build into our hardware, so leave the thinking to us! Even before a project has started, we already thought of every possible outcome. This doesn’t mean we don’t like to brainstorm with others or work on a project in groups. We just like to share our ideas in our own way, preferably not during one of those above mentioned meetings, but in a more intimate manner.
Introverts don’t like making conversation
Smalltalk… Nope I can’t do that, it’s true. The idea of having to talk about nothing particular for the sake of making conversation makes me cringe. However, if you trigger me with a topic that interests me, I will bend your ears about it. Most introverts have broad interests and are experts at accumulating knowledge. We are always excited to learn new things. So tackle me with a topic you are passionate about and I will hang on your every word!
Introverts are hermits and don’t like to party
To be fair, I can intensely enjoy time alone and I am very good at entertaining myself. And if people invite me to go out and about, the thought of staying at home, loitering in my cosies is a serious consideration… However, after a while I can’t wait to dress up, slap on some lipstick and be silly with some friends at a festival!
Is the world really only ruled by extraverts? Well now, don’t be silly! These awesome women are all introverts that rocked this world in their own way:
- Jackie Kennedy
- Audrey Hepburn
- Eleanor Roosevelt
- Rosa Parks
- Meryl Streep
- J.K. Rowling
- Ingrid Bergman
- Ellen Burstyn
- Emily Dickinson
*Being introverted has nothing to do with being shy. Not all introverts are shy. Introverts simply enjoy spending time by themselves, whereas a shy person doesn’t necessarily wants to spend time alone, but is afraid to interact with others.