1. If I am not expecting your phone call, I will likely press ignore and wait for a voicemail. It doesn’t mean I am not happy you called…. I am truly thrilled to hear from you! However, impromptu conversations make me uncomfortable. I typically listen to the message to get an idea of what the conversation will entail so that I can mentally prepare before returning the call.
2. I like social events… sometimes. Being in large groups of people is great, but it is also drains my energy. I often spend hours or even days psyching up myself to mingle. After the event I will likely rehash ever brief conversation and interaction that I was involved in. I enjoy socializing, but it can all be quite exhausting.
3. By the time I join a conversation, I have likely rehearsed what I am going to say several times in my head. I have definite opinions, and I truly want to contribute to the conversation. I just want to express myself at the right time in the right way. I arrange sentences several ways mentally before decided on the way that best articulates my message. Often I rehears so long that by the time I am prepared to speak the topic of the conversation has changed. This can become quite frustrating!
4. I am happy… even if I don’t look like it. I spend the majority of my time in deep thought. Sometimes this gives those around me the wrong idea. The blank look on my face does not mean that I am angry, annoyed, or bored. I am simply in my own little world, and it’s a generally happy place. J
5. I get attached to people. I do not open myself up very often. Chances are if you know intimate details of my life, you are one of the few people whom I hold dear to my heart. These few close friends mean the world to me. Once I allow someone into my heart, I will truly treasure their friendship… forever.
6. I don’t want to change. Different cultures value various personality traits. In the United States extroverts are highly valued. I have often found myself in situations where well-intended (yet misinformed) people attempt to give me advice on how to "come out of my shell". I admire the charismatic manner in which extroverts conduct themselves (which is part of what attracted me to my extreemly charming extroverted hubby). However, introverts contribute a great deal to society as well. Being an introvert is a part of me to the very core, and I couldn’t change it even if I wanted to.
7. I am more comfortable speaking in front of a crowd than mingling with peers afterwards. I actually find public presentations quite stimulating and enjoyable. This arena provides me with a great deal of time to prepare and a captive audience. No one is interrupting me before I have a chance to express myself. I willingly took public speaking twice during my undergraduate and relished the experienced. However, I am terrified by the possibility of spontaneous questions or the obligation to greet people afterwards.
8. I express myself better in writing. This makes email and text a powerful tool for me. I can communicate with friends without the pressure of answering immediately. When I am alone with my thoughts, I am able to express myself in a way that I would never be able to otherwise.
9. I alternate between being in solitude and socializing. There are periods when I need to be alone. This allows me to recharge and gain energy. After I have powered up with solitude, I am ready to face the world! I love going out with friends when I have had the opportunity to prepare and boost my energy level. Interestingly, this actually works the opposite for extroverts who gain energy from socializing and find solitude draining.
10. I struggle with small talk. When attempting to chit-chat I often feel as if I sound ridiculous or fake. It isn't that I have anything against discussing the weather or current events, it is simply that I have a difficult time with it. I would much rather jump right into the conversation that it is leading up to. I love connecting with people, and small talk feels like a barrier.
Resources for introverts:
Ted Talk on the Power of Introverts (about 20 minutes long, and worth every minute)
Why Virtual Leaders Need to Learn How to Just be Quiet– past Communiqué
Building Trust Within Virtual Teams – Small Steps Add Up– past Communiqué
An Introvert’s Guide to Networking – HBR blog by Lisa Petrilli
How Introverts Can Become Better Innovators – HBR Blog by Francesca Gino