In a world that seems made for extroverts, being an introvert can sometimes feel like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
The constant buzz of social interactions, the emphasis on being outgoing, and the seemingly endless small talk – it’s a landscape that can often leave introverts feeling drained and out of place. But what if, as an introvert, you could not only survive this extroverted world but excel in it?
It’s challenging but possible.
I know this because, as an introvert myself, I’ve experienced firsthand the struggle and, more importantly, know introverts who have turned what seems like an inherent disadvantage into a profound strength.
Most, if not all, of them exhibit these seven behaviors. If you can also check most of them off, you are probably an introvert with way above-average social prowess.
Let’s dive in.
1) You can predict when you need time alone
“Introverts, in contrast, may have strong social skills and enjoy parties and business meetings, but after a while wish they were home in their pajamas. They prefer to devote their social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family”.
This quote by Susan Cain, a prominent voice on introversion, compares introverts to extroverts. Sounds familiar, right?
It also lays the foundation for our first point – the ability of introverts to predict when they need time alone.
You probably know that your need for solitude is not just about seeking quiet; it’s a critical skill for maintaining balance and well-being. As introverts, we often find ourselves in environments that can be overwhelming or draining. We find ourselves out of social energy. But we struggle on as if it’s some sort of mark of pride.
Socially skilled introverts do not; they take social breaks before they need to.
This doesn’t mean they shun social interactions. Instead, it means they’ve learned to manage their energy. They understand that to be their best selves in social settings, they must respect their personal need for quiet and introspection.
It’s a powerful skill that allows them to engage with the world on their terms, fully recharged and ready to connect in meaningful ways.
2) You can speak before you’re fully ‘ready’
Picture this: You’re in a meeting room, surrounded by extroverts eagerly sharing their thoughts in rapid succession. As an introvert, you naturally take time to process your thoughts, ensuring clarity and precision in your response. But in this fast-paced exchange, you find your voice getting lost in the flurry of instant reactions.
This scenario is all too common for us introverts.
Our natural inclination to reflect deeply before speaking can be a huge disadvantage in group settings. In these moments, our well-considered ideas so often remain unheard, overshadowed by the swift pace of extroverted communication.
However, introverts with high-level social skills have learned to adapt. They’ve mastered the art of contributing at least some of their thoughts, even before feeling entirely ready.
This doesn’t mean abandoning their preference for thoughtful communication; rather, it’s about striking a balance. This approach ensures their voice is heard and their ideas are considered, even if not fully fleshed out.
This next behavior is perhaps the most underrated and the most crucial.
3) You take full advantage of using body language to communicate
We’ve all heard how powerful body language is.
Many of you, I’m sure, are also familiar with Albert Mehrabian’s research on body language, which suggests that the vast majority of how we communicate has nothing to do with the words we say. And more importantly, our body language is responsible for 55% of our communication.
Body language is an important skill that everyone should learn, but for introverts, in particular, mastering the art of non-verbal communication is a subtle yet powerful way to convey messages and emotions effectively.
Think about the impact of maintaining steady eye contact to express genuine interest or a thoughtful nod to signal agreement. These nuanced gestures enhance communication, building a deeper connection without the need for constant verbal exchange.
Those who are socially adept know this and take full advantage of it.
4) You can make small talk
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where small talk felt like an insurmountable challenge? If you’re an introvert, you probably have.
While it can seem shallow, it isn’t just idle chatter. Research has shown it accounts for a third of what we say and that it’s more beneficial than most of us introverts would like to acknowledge. More importantly, it’s a bridge to deeper, more meaningful conversations (in which we introverts excel).
By learning to engage in light, casual conversations, we can open doors to new relationships and opportunities. It’s about finding common ground, showing genuine interest, and using our innate listening skills to connect with others on a personal level.
Socially skilled introverts know this.
They might not love small talk, but by embracing it as a tool, they are able to lead conversations to more fulfilling interactions that align with our introverted nature.
5) You no longer allow people to talk over you
Reflecting back on my early twenties, when I first ventured into a competitive corporate environment, being talked over in meetings and discussions was a big challenge.
I had always done better one-to-one or in very small groups, but this simply wasn’t an option. Some meetings would have up to twenty people, and everyone was expected to contribute.
My struggle wasn’t just about finding the courage to speak up but about commanding the space to be fully heard. It was a steep learning curve to navigate these dynamics. But with time and experience, I learned the invaluable skill of assertively holding my own in conversations.
It doesn’t mean resorting to aggression; rather, it’s about confidently asserting our right to contribute. It involves mastering non-verbal communication – a steady gaze, a confident posture – and using a clear, firm voice.
Highly socially skilled introverts have mastered this. Are you one of them?
6) You adapt your communication to different audiences
This is one I continue to struggle with.
Another key skill of introverts with high-level social skills is the ability to tailor communication styles to suit different audiences.
Recognizing that not everyone communicates in the same way, they can adjust their approach depending on who they’re speaking with. This might mean being more direct in a business meeting or more reflective in a personal conversation.
By doing so, they ensure that their message is not just heard but also resonates with the listener. This skill of adaptive communication doesn’t mean changing the core message; it’s about ensuring it’s delivered in the most effective way possible.
7) You embrace your introversion in social settings
It took a long time for this to click for me, but when it did, it was a game-changer.
Introverts who are master communicators don’t pretend to be extroverted like I once thought was necessary.
They realize that their natural introverted qualities – depth, thoughtfulness, and unique perspectives – are not weaknesses but strengths in disguise. They confidently share these aspects of themselves, contributing valuable insights that are often overlooked in the usual flurry of extroverted conversation.
This shift in mindset doesn’t just change how they see themselves; it enriches interactions, adding a much-needed introspective dimension to group dynamics.
By truly embracing our introversion, we can all find our authentic voices in social settings.
You may have already. If so, kudos to you.
The bottom line
So there you have it.
If you identify with the above behaviors, well done. Developing these tendencies as an introvert isn’t easy, but if you have, you are almost certainly more socially adept than the majority of us introspective folks.
If you don’t see these in yourself, welcome to the club. We are all a work in progress. I hope this post serves as a guide or at least some inspiration.
Until next time.
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