We may be quiet more often than not, but introverts are full of surprising energy.
You probably know one (or you are one)
—hanging out around the edges of a social gathering, avoiding the spotlight, and ready to leave about 30 minutes later. It’s also possible you’ll find introverts digging into deep, drawn-out conversations about specific topics with one or maybe two other people in the corner, while your extroverted friends are working the room with charm.
Sure, there are exceptions, and the introvert-ambivert-extrovert spectrum is more complex than a simple yes or no. It’s just fascinating to notice how different people exert and replenish their social energies. (You can take a 10-question quiz to find where you may be on the spectrum.)
For example, author and blogger Glennon Doyle Melton (known as Momastery) is an introvert writer who prefers public speaking to cocktail parties.
Here’s a transcript from an interview she gave on The Robcast:
“Terror Would Be a Cocktail Party”
Glennon Doyle Melton:
“We become writers so we can stay in our pajamas. That’s why I wanted to connect deeply with people but never see them, right? I wanted to, I don’t know, I wanted to know the real people but never have to go to coffee. I’m just a raging introvert.
We could know each other so well over text.
So the first time somebody said, it’s like this weird thing where if your writing resonates at all, well clearly, you’re going to be a public speaker. Which is to me, terrifying…
It turns out that speaking is an excellent thing for an introvert to do. It’s like writing. For me, terror would be a cocktail party. First of all because I don’t drink anymore, but just for an introvert, that kind of—maybe it’s the small talk…”
“A short series of beginning, middle, and end conversations where you launch into it, you discover whether or not you’re even going to talk, and then there’s that ‘how do you get out of it?’ Then on to the next one and the next one, when you would probably just prefer to find one person and actually connect with them.”
“Absolutely, and that’s what I try to do. Usually you can find the introverts in the corners, on the couch, places where they’re stationary. I usually try to find those people. But speaking is not, there is a separation between you and the audience, and it’s sort of a performance.
There’s something that’s safe about it for me. It feels a lot like writing. I’m going to create this thing…it’s just like writing a blog post or writing a book or painting a painting: I’m going to create this thing and I’m going to present it, then I’m going to let it go.”
Using Your Personality to Enhance Your Work
Glennon recognized her introversion and found ways to use it as a strength for her work.
I know a handful of introverts who’ve told me they can communicate much more clearly and eloquently by writing instead of talking. If they’re asked a question in person, they’ll likely try to think for a moment to formulate a fitting response (or stumble over words and ideas, only to later think up the perfect response long after the moment’s gone).
My extroverted friends are quick and eager to verbally process through their ideas and feelings, and their energy gives them a useful ability to connect with acquaintances and make them feel welcome.
We can all channel aspects of our personalities to create better work and relationships.
That’s something I learned on my journey from avoiding change and challenges as a shy introvert to rethinking my faith, ambitions, and relationships to become a confident adult. And it’s one of the reasons I share stories of personal realizations and social awkwardness in my book, The Variable Life—to help people like you know you’re not alone in the process of growing better relationships without losing touch with what’s important to you.
Ever forward, even if it’s just one small step at a time.
Question For You:
- Has your introversion, ambiversion, or extroversion led you toward one kind of work? Has it led you away from other kinds of work?