One of my April posts, Being an Introvert with Extroverted Tendencies has taken on a life of its own in cyber-land. It is my most viewed post and the analytical side of me has been intrigued by how this came to be.
I’ve been pondering whether I should revisit this topic because it clearly struck a nerve and then I came across this cartoon last week, Your Guide to Interacting with an Introvert which sealed the deal that I must share because it is so well done. When I shared it in a LinkedIn group, the responders liked the content but were split on whether it was amusing or not.
For some being an introvert in a seemingly overwhelmingly gregarious world is no laughing matter. These folks identify strongly with the cell in the cartoon that shows the introvert cowering in the corner of their own personal space while the extrovert psychically overpowers them, unintentionally. I do understand this, but suggest focusing on how positively this message of introvert-extrovert relations is visually expressed in the overall piece.
My last writing on this topic focused on the Jungian based Meyer’s Briggs test and my response to it more so than on the introvert extrovert push me-pull you dynamic. Whenever two or more people occupy the same space there are so many ways that we can slice and dice the dynamic that occurs; race, gender, age, socio-economic, personality type, level of education, hierarchy on an organizational chart, amount of sleep or quality of nutrition… An infinite number of factors can affect the quality of an interaction – so much so that it is hard to figure out exact causes in real world experiences.
We often equate introversion with shyness, but these are two very different traits and may or may not go together in one person. One person that I know who is a self-described solid introvert is one of the best networkers that I know because she isn’t at all shy. She just likes to choose the time, place and length of her interactions with others. She is well aware of her own limits and respects them so that she has positive experiences when she goes into group encounters.
Our highly social world has in some ways branded introversion as an unfortunate trait, one that might hold a person back. Which couldn’t be further from the truth, introverts provide balance to the 24/7 always ‘on’ extrovert. Introverts are looking for a deeper, more meaningful interaction to spend their energy on, where an interaction between two extroverts can be fleeting and not really scratch the surface.
Our mothers taught us that it takes all kinds, and we know that mother was always right.
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