The benefits of having a naturally outgoing personality are obvious. Introverts know how much our culture values people who seem to feed off of the adoration of others, and they can feel inadequate at meeting that standard. The realization that it’s not a lack of self-esteem that stops introverts from doing so can be powerful. For many, it is simply a matter of temperament.
If you’re reading this and silently nodding your head, or if you have an introverted loved one that you wish would be more social, don’t worry! Increasingly, we are learning that many introvert characteristics can be powerful advantages.
Here’s why being an introvert is the best:
Introverts are self-motivated, independent people.
According to psychologist and writer Scott Kaufman, extroverts may experience greater rewards from social recognition. Their brains are more sensitive to the dopamine triggers that accompany these experiences, and they are more excited by the prospect of rewards related to social status. Since introverted people are not as susceptible to these reward triggers, many have learned to be motivated by more personal, intellectual, or creative rewards. Accordingly, they rely on self-affirming goals and benefit from more consistent motivations rooted in stable values, rather than in inconsistent social pressures.
If you’re a good listener with keen observation skills, you might be an introvert.
Extroverts are often practiced speakers; introverts are often practiced listeners. Both listening and speaking are skills that take effort to learn. Because introverts are less rewarded by being at the center of social situations, they’re usually better at observing complex relationships in a group and reading people’s motivations. If you’re unsure about a new person you just met, ask your introverted friend who you dragged along to the party. You might be surprised by their insight!
Introverts have more time and energy to pursue intellectual pursuits.
A recent study published in the Journal of Personality reveals that, although extroverts feel a stronger initial sense of wellness, social activity is draining to everyone. Because of their tendency to engage in social activity due to those increased rewards, extroverts are far more likely to feel drained of creativity and energy in their personal space. Many introverts use this unspent energy to pursue intellectual and creative pursuits that can benefit them professionally and add to a sense of accomplishment.
Emerging technologies favor introverts.
As technology becomes increasingly intertwined with our lives, introverts benefit from social platforms that keep us connected yet impose distance between us. Social media gives us the freedom to engage socially in limited formats while still enjoying their personal space. This makes introverts, who are typically more comfortable alone than extroverts, thrive in an emerging culture that may leave many extroverts feeling unfulfilled.
Less can be more. People listen when introverts speak.
We have all encountered extroverts who seem to have an emotional need to dominate the center of social events. They seem less concerned with what they are saying, than that they continue to speak. Although this kind of person often attracts a lot of attention, their words may earn diminishing returns. Eventually, everyone knows they are full of it! We’ve all probably witnessed the power of a confident introvert who suddenly speaks up to correct an important detail of the extrovert’s extemporaneous diatribe. When an introvert speaks up, people tend to listen.
Mystery is sexy: How introverts intrigue.
When confident introverts have learned the power of selectively expressing their thoughts, they can seem mysterious. Who was that introvert who spoke up with authority, yet seemed to be satisfied with returning to the quiet conversation they were having with their small circle of trusted friends? I don’t know, but everyone is talking about it! Mystery can be powerfully appealing.
Introverts tend to form deeper, longer lasting relationships.
Because they are less prone to seek new exciting social situations, introverts tend to focus their efforts on a small number of trusted friends. While the friendships of extroverts can be many and varied, introverts tend to form strong, long-lasting bonds that can be intensely rewarding.
Remember, most people are a blend of personality types. Few are fully introverted or extroverted. Understanding your personality type is like having a map on your life’s journey. If you’re an introvert, don’t be afraid to occasionally take a left turn onto Extrovert Street. You might find the detour to be worth it.
Be comfortable with who you are, and never feel the need to change to meet societies expectations. There are benefits and setbacks to every personality. Take strength from the many introvert characteristics that can help you to live an amazing life!