This is a guest post from my friend and fellow introvert Nick at stretchd.com – The Art of Challenge. He writes about using challenge as a personal development tool.
This is part one of a two part series about dealing with the introvert or extrovert in your life.
For the extrovert…
You love going out all the time. You love talking about the latest reality television show. You love to gossip about the popular girl down the hall, you know who I’m talking about, the one with all guys drooling over her.
You just gotta know everyone’s business.
Before you start calling me a bastard behind my back…
I know this is just a generalization and my intention is not to attack you. For the sake of this post I think it’s important to illustrate the contrast of the introvert compared to an extrovert.
That said, how do you deal with the person who does not respond to all of your good-time, free-flowing, high-level energy? Or doesn’t want to get into the National Enquirer type conversations…
How does an extrovert deal with an introvert?
The first things first, recognize that their personalty traits are not abnormal. Just like your outgoing nature isn’t unnatural to you.
If you think you are going to pull them out of their shell and fix them, you are wrong.
They don’t need to be fixed. Would you try to fix a car that was working perfectly fine? I guess you would if you were a crooked auto repair shop.
Don’t be that.
There is nothing more disrespectful than a blatant attempt to change someones personality. By even attempting this, you will just alienate a potential friend. You should know that the introvert probably thinks of you as shallow and not terribly intelligent.
The introvert sees your extrovert personality as a mask, a phoniness, and because of the amount of your extraneous chitter-chatter, probably doesn’t trust you.
If you talk smack about every one else why wouldn’t you do the same about them?
In order to deal with the introvert, you will need to prove them wrong. By lowering your energy level, showing a genuine interest in the introvert (not the obvious fake stuff), and making it very clear that you are not attempting to change them, a level of trust may begin to form.
You must also keep in mind that the introvert simply does not need you. They don’t need your attention, your flattery, or your social connections. They are quite happy in their introverted world. Remember, they don’t get energized by being the life of the party like you do.
As an extrovert, that may seem hard to understand, but it is true. In fact, you may need them more than they need you…imagine that.
Dealing with an introvert takes patience, kindness, and an understanding that people are different. In the words of D.H. Lawrence, “One man isn’t any better than another, not because they are equal, but because they are intrinsically other, that there is no term of comparison.”
What is something that you wish the extroverts in your life knew about introverts?
Forward this post to any extroverts that you think need a little education.
Stay tuned for part 2
-How to deal with an introvert
Photo credit: Ed Yourdon