Introverts living in what is still a predominantly extroverted world don’t always get the recognition they deserve.
Too often mislabeled as anti-social or shy, the truth is their unique wiring offers them plenty of special qualities and talents.
One of these assets is a gift for listening. Let’s take a look at the things they do which make them so damn good at it.
1) They’re genuinely curious to find out more about people
Introverts prefer depth in their connections and conversations.
Whilst that may mean small talk isn’t always their thing, it can be great for drawing out interesting information and allowing others a platform to speak.
It means they listen, but also dig deeper into what someone is saying through plenty of questions.
This habit not only makes them good listeners but may make them more popular too.
Because research has proven that we like people who ask us questions, and better still, follow-up questions.
Probably because they’re showing an interest in us and letting us know that they’re paying attention to what we have to say.
It’s a lot easier to do this when you have a naturally curious personality that wants to get to the heart of others.
2) They practice active listening rather than zoning out
Listening isn’t the same thing as just not saying anything.
It may sound like an obvious point to make. But the truth is that many of us suck at listening.
Research found that although 96 percent of people think they’re good at it, they were shown to only retain about half of what others said to them.
Part of the issue is that we can see it as a passive activity. But our role isn’t just to sit there and keep quiet.
In order to be a great listener, we play an active part.
- Not letting your mind chatter away while someone is speaking
- Showing we’re engaged in the conversation through things like body mirroring, nodding the head, giving eye contact, and affirming vocal cues (like “umms and ahhs)
It becomes a deep practice in paying attention, which isn’t easy. Introverts are more used to processing information internally.
Which also makes them much better at the next thing on our list.
3) They’re more likely to think before speaking
Taking a pause before opening your mouth solves so many bad communication and etiquette issues.
- Cutting people off and interrupting them before they’ve finished
- Mindlessly putting your foot in your mouth
- Saying something that really doesn’t need to be (and shouldn’t be) said
Introverts spend a lot of time in inner contemplation.
Luckily this leads to stronger self-awareness.
They’ve had a lot of time to consider themselves and enjoy reflecting on what makes them tick.
They put this to good use by monitoring themselves in social situations.
4) They’re naturally observant
Being an introvert is more than a personality type.
Although scientists don’t fully understand the differences yet, they’ve discovered that extroverts and introverts are wired differently.
For example, one of these differences is that introverts have a higher blood flow to their frontal lobe.
That’s the part of your brain that helps with memory, problem-solving, planning, and self-monitoring.
It means that some things may simply come more naturally to introverts because of their makeup.
Introverts may well be quieter than their extrovert counterparts. But this can help them to hone their observational powers.
In the words of Beth Buelow, author of ‘The Introvert Entrepreneur: Amplify Your Strengths and Create Success on Your Own Terms’:
“We notice things others might not notice because they’re talking and processing out loud,”
So not only are they more likely to pick up on subtle things, but they can then better respond to the speaker.
5) They’re less likely to throw unsolicited advice your way
Extroverts are usually self-proclaimed “good with people”.
I’m not going to be down on extroverts in any way, as that brings its own set of benefits, including plenty of social skills.
But let’s face it, you’re far more likely to find an extrovert who will throw their two cents in.
Introverts on the other hand are less prone to dishing out advice where it’s not been asked for, because they are usually more considered in their responses.
Even though whenever we offer advice, it is usually well-meant, it’s not always received that way.
Many people when they’re facing a problem or are experiencing a hard time are looking for a sounding board.
They just want to be heard in order to provide an outlet for their experience and release the emotions that have come up for them.
They’re not looking for a lecture on what they should do, they’re looking for someone who will listen.
As explained by talk show host and introvert Oprah Winfrey:
“I’ve talked to nearly 30,000 people on this show, and all 30,000 had one thing in common: They all wanted validation. They want to know: ‘Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything to you?’”
6) They’re considerate of others
Ultimately, to allow someone the time, space, and platform to speak whilst you listen is a form of kindness and respect.
An introvert’s empathy helps them to actually give a damn about what others are saying.
They want to understand people better, and their emotional intelligence allows them to do so.
It’s one of the reasons they tend to build deep and thoughtful relationships.
Again, introverts aren’t just quiet when someone is talking to them, there is an essence of thoughtful quietness to it.
Introverts are good at regulating their responses and employing impulse control to stay focused on what someone is saying.
7) They are naturally introspective
Because introverts crave alone time, people tend to underestimate that extroverts aren’t the only ones who have a talent when it comes to making social connections.
Because an introvert’s power lies in their introspective nature.
All that time for self-reflection not only makes them better at understanding themselves, it also helps them to understand others.
They grasp that the rich inner world that they inhabit, exists within others too.
This creates so much more awareness. They have a tendency to want others to reveal themselves to get a glimpse of their world.
And the best way to do that is to listen.
Introverts practice their listening more
Sure, it may come more naturally to introverts, but they also tend to get a lot more practice in. Because they usually listen more than they speak and don’t seek the limelight.
That may well give them a head start. But we can all take steps to improve our listening skills to create stronger and healthier relationships.