7 Everyday Situations That Introverts Ace


There's a lot of introvert pride around the Internet these days. As an introvert myself, I've appreciated how articles on introversion have articulated some of the things about me that I find hard to explain to other people — like the fact that I like to observe (I'm not being rude), and the fact that I can be an introvert and not be shy.

The thing is, though, that it's still sometimes hard for people in our extroverted culture to understand things an introvert might be good at. Employers still aren't sure how introverts add to their company, and extroverts don't know what to make of their friend who doesn't mind if a party gets cancelled.

While it's true that introverts can vary widely in their skills, there are a few situations where most introverts will succeed, simply because they are introverted.

1. Intimate Dinners

Introverts are happiest socializing with a smaller group of people (or with a single person), and they place a high value on emotional intimacy. When you put these together, it's easy to see how an introvert would excel at an intimate dinner. Whether the dinner is romantic or for just a few friends, the introvert will be able to draw those present, including themselves, together.

In fact, introverts are often known for their close friendships and for being good romantic partners. Emotional intimacy can be hard to come by, but introverts build it because it's what they value. It's part of what makes their world go 'round.

2. Family Gatherings

For similar reasons, introverts tend to ace family gatherings. Usually, they are comfortable with their family members (or, at least, they know them well and know how they will respond). Add that to their high value on emotional intimacy, and you can see why the introvert is often just the person to pull a family together. This can be especially true for a family facing hard times, because an introvert often has the skills necessary to help people share their feelings and listen to one another.

3. Confronting a Friend

Introverts are good listeners, which often makes them just the person to confront someone about an issue. This sounds counterintuitive at first, but makes more sense when you think about it. Often, people who need to be confronted are behaving the way they are for a reason, and someone skilled at listening can understand that reason and help come up with a plan that will satisfy everyone.

Note that most introverts will have to overcome a deep aversion to confrontation before they can actually use this skill. Because introverts seek out situations that are less stimulating, and confrontation is often very stimulating, an introvert will need to learn how to tolerate this before they can use this gift.

4. Giving Advice

Introverts are natural observers. They watch the world around them carefully. While this can cause them to come across as aloof or shy, it actually means that they usually understand what is going on very well. They see patterns, they understand how the world works, and they step into life from that position.

Because introverts understand their environment, they are often skilled at helping others navigate it, too. They can explain what they see, advising others who want to get through a particular situation or life in general better. And they often aren't forceful about the advice they give, leaving the receiver able to make his or her own choice once they've received more data.

5. Deep Conversations

Many introverts hate small talk. It feels flat, false, and boring to them. While this can make them seem socially awkward, many become skilled at turning small talk into deeper conversation. They naturally ask questions that take things deeper, and they aren't afraid of those waters.

If you need someone to take a conversation deeper, ask an introvert. If you want to have a deep conversation but you aren't sure how to get there or how to share what you feel like you want to share, find an introverted friend. They can help you dive into what you are thinking and feeling, without making you feel like someone has invaded your soul. And they thrive on this kind of thing, so you don't have to worry about unloading on them, either.

6. Negotiations

Several years ago, Susan Cain's book Quiet started the introvert's revolution. One of the first stories Cain tells is about herself as a young lawyer. She was sent into an important negotiation and felt like she just couldn't do it — she wasn't loud enough, wasn't forceful enough, and heard both sides too well. As it turned out, these were all strengths, and Cain became known for her negotiation skills.

We tend to think that good negotiators intimidate the people on the other side of the table. However, coming up with a solution that is amenable to everyone takes listening, observing how people respond to certain suggestions, asking questions that probe, and even building some intimacy between the parties. These are all skills that introverts have, so it's no wonder that most introverts are actually very good at negotiation.

7. Preparing for Anything

Because introverts observe before they act, they are usually very good at preparing for whatever is coming. Whether they are looking at writing a report, making a presentation, getting married, or surviving the zombie apocalypse, introverts are good at getting things ready before an event happens, because they have observed patterns in the past and they understand what is coming.

If you have something coming up that is making you nervous, try asking an introverted friend or coworker for help. Even if the project isn't something they can dive into themselves, they can often steer you in the right direction so that you think of what might come and get ready for it.

Being an introvert can make life more difficult in our culture, but it can also make it better. When introverts and extroverts work together, each valuing the other, things often get done in a manner that is more satisfying to everyone involved.

Do you identify as an introvert? What situations do you ace because of your introversion?

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John Wake

I think it was Susan Cain who said that introverts ace supervising motivated employees. Introverted bosses listen to their people, they delegate and they end up getting the most out of their people. Extroverted bosses are better than introverts when it come to getting the most out of unmotivated employees.