Screeches to Introverts’ Ears

“Introverts, those quiet creatures that walk among you, are not as mild-mannered as made out to be,” says Matthew Hutson in his story, “What Not to Say to an Introvert,” in the October issue of Psychology Today. He adds in this companion piece to the cover story, “They seethe and even will lash out at those who encroach upon or malign their personal comfort zones.” Lest introverts seem like a bunch of poisonous spiders, Hutson makes some good points about our healthy preferences, which don’t often get recognized. Here are a few more no-no’s you can share to enlighten the extroverts* in your life.

What not to say to an introvert:
Quickly describe your biggest accomplishments over the past year.
Why:
Don’t put an introvert on the spot; she needs time to process her thoughts before sharing them.

What not to say to an introvert:
We’re moving the weekly staff meeting next to your cubicle.
Why:
Introverts don’t like noisy social interactions and interruptions.

What not to say to an introvert:
I used to be an introvert, but now I am comfortable around people.
Why:
It is misinformed. Introversion is not a social phobia. It is completely normal to get more energized more of the time from your quiet time than your social time.


What not to say to an introvert:
The five of us are just popping in to brainstorm with you.
Why:
Introverts do their best when they get to ponder the topic at hand quietly prior to a meeting and prefer one-on-one interactions to larger group meetings.


What not to say to an introvert:
How was I supposed to know you didn’t want me to forward your news to the company e-mail list?
Why:
Introverts tend to be private and avoid the spotlight.

What not to say to an introvert:
Write the client proposal in the next 15 minutes. Don’t get bogged down by the details.
Why:
Introverts are detail oriented and like to research before they propose something.

If you think of more no-no’s, please add them to the list. No rush!

*Also spelled “extraverts” by Carl Jung and the communities of the MBTI® and other personality assessments such as the Five Factor Model.

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4 Responses to “Screeches to Introverts’ Ears”

  1. Priya Florence Shah Says:

    Extrovert spouse to introvert spouse: I thought the house was too quiet so I called all my friends over for dinner tonight.

  2. Patty K Says:

    Why are you so quiet? What's wrong?

  3. Nancy Ancowitz Says:

    Thank you, Priya and Patty!

  4. Bibliophile Says:

    >You all have a pop-quiz. You get 5 minutes for these 10 questions.
    Ususlly, my mind goes blank-like it does when I have to brainsorm.

    >At the start of the school year, when techers want you to describe yourself. And she/he's approaching…and you don't know what to say…

    >When people (usually adults) say to "go make friends!" Why don't you have any friends? (When, actually, we do! I just don't make a big show of it…but I gave great friends…some of whom are introverts too 😉 )

    >What do you want to do? (And I want an answer NOW!)

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