It’s nice that people are appreciating you so much more these days and showing how to build on your quiet strengths. But we extroverts are also often misunderstood, and we need champions, too – people who will stand up for us and challenge common perceptions like these:
1. Ready, Fire, Aim
It’s not necessary to take everything we say literally. We think out loud, and we need to put the idea out there in order to look at it. Just because we say something doesn’t mean you should go do it. We get a bad rap for not thinking things through before we take action. OK. Maybe we do jump to action a little too quickly sometimes. But that doesn’t mean you have to follow. If you think we don’t know where we’re going, it would help if you pointed that out. And you must admit that our bias for action keeps things from getting boring.
2. Monopolizing the Conversation
You might think we’re monopolizing the conversation and you can’t get a word in edgewise. But if you look closely, you’ll notice it’s not really a conversation. There’s a lot of talking and not much listening. Just because we’re good talkers, doesn’t mean we have thought through what we’re saying. We need help, not judgment – we need someone to call a “time out” and slow us down so we can build on each other’s ideas and not just toss them around.
3. Bulls in a China Shop
We enjoy people and like to have a good time. We’re really tired of being thought of as “bulls in a china shop.” We’re not insensitive. Please stop getting mad at us when we trample on your feelings. We don’t do it on purpose. We don’t know how you’re feeling because you don’t tell us. (p.s. I’m sorry I asked your friend when her baby was due. It really did look like she was pregnant.)
4. Energizer Bunnies
It’s not that we have more energy than you or that we “just keep going,” but we recharge by engaging with people, and we’re sorry if that wears you out. Also, we’d appreciate your understanding that we really need music, activity and external stimulation to help us think and get our work done. We’re sorry if all the activity and noise bothers you, but it’s really hard to tiptoe around so much.
5. Talk is Not All Write
I’m sorry I haven’t responded to the ten questions in your last email. But my in-box is flooded by people who would rather write than talk. I don’t have time to read it all, let alone write the in-depth response you are looking for. All this email is killing me. Could we just have a quick phone call instead?
6. Shallow Party Animals
When we’re worn out, we seek out others. We need to connect with people to renew our energy. If you’re too tired to join us, that’s not our fault. You’re always welcome to join anytime. Please stop saying we’re excluding you when the truth is you want to be alone when you’re worn out. We’re not shallow. We’re recharging.
So dear introverts, I hope you understand it’s not our intention to be rude, insensitive or monopolizing. We’re simply misunderstood. Please cut us some slack and appreciate our strengths.
A Closet Extrovert