The quiet podcast episode 46 featuring Brenda Kowles is also strong.

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Show Notes

Do you struggle with your relationships, either as an introvert or as an extrovert in a relationship with an introvert or highly sensitive individual?  You’re not alone.

In this week’s podcast, we’ll talk to relationship coach and author Brenda Knowles about the complexities and nuances of relationships – especially for introverts.  Brenda also discusses the gifts and needs of highly sensitive individuals and the definitions of being highly sensitive and being an introvert.

Discover your strengths, gifts, and needs as an introvert and how to use this understanding to more successfully navigate relationships.

Brenda is a coach focused on helping sensitive people create emotional resilience, intimate connections, secure relationships, and parenting as well as navigating the challenges of anxiety, depression among highly sensitive individuals and introverts. She is trained in family mediation and child advocacy. She is the author of The Quiet Rise of Introverts: 8 Practices for Living and Loving in a Noisy World.

Guest: Brenda Knowles

Contact Brenda:


Twitter – @space2live 

Instagram – @Brenknowles

Facebook – @Space2live

Get Brenda’s book: 
The Quiet Rise of Introverts: 8 Practices for Living and Loving in a Noisy World

– – –

Contact the Host of the Quiet and Strong Podcast:

David Hall

Author, Speaker, Educator, Podcaster
david [at]

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Timestamped Overview

00:00 In her 40s, the writer discovered introversion, leading to self-understanding and personal growth.

07:52 Society favors extroverts; introverts struggle.

13:20 Believes in strong relationships for energy, drains from overstimulation and multiple people talking at once.

16:45 The speaker discusses enjoying quiet time after work, recharging with personal activities, and theorizes about introverts being drained by lack of free time rather than people or stimulation.

21:24 Short commute lacks quiet time. Misses longer commute, as enjoyed peaceful personal time on train in the past.

23:47 Some people are highly sensitive to chaotic environments, including extroverts. For example, the speaker’s extroverted daughter is sensitive to loud, busy events and needs time to recharge.

25:41 Highly sensitive people have heightened awareness, intuition, and strong drive to achieve, but may feel overwhelmed by their sensitivity. Can use it as a strength in work and intimate situations.

30:02 In relationships, conflicting temperaments can lead to withdrawal and conflict. Introverted partners may need space for self-preservation, not rejecting their partner.

35:00 In marriages, one partner distances while the other pursues due to childhood attachment styles.

41:43 Value introverted children, honor their needs, recognize strengths, and dispel fears.

44:26 Normalize temperament, build confidence, prioritize health, emphasize relationships for introverted clients.

48:19 Experienced coach works with individuals and couples, specializing in relationships and temperament. Conducts sessions through Zoom or Skype, with emphasis on understanding and improving relationships.

51:33 An invitation to connect, share, and embrace introverted strength.

Podcast Transcript

Brenda Knowles [00:00:00]:

This is your temperament, and here is what it entails, and here’s why. It’s how you’re wired. Here’s all the gifts of it. I try to make them see that they’re not limited. They actually have even more opportunities. Close.

David Hall [00:00:26]:

Hello, and welcome to the Quiet and Strong podcast, especially for introverts. I’m your host, David Hall, and the creator of This is a weekly podcast dedicated to understanding the strengths and needs of introverts. Introversion is not something to fix, but to be embraced normally. We’ll air each episode on a Monday. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform, leave a review, share with a friend the word out there. Brendan Knowles is the creator of, the website where sensitive people and their loved ones learn to build emotional and relationship resilience. Brenda is a coach and has written over 500 posts on introversion, relationships, anxiety, depression, and parenting. She’s trained in family mediation and child advocacy. She’s the author of The Quiet Rise of Introverts eight Practices for Living and Loving in a Noisy World. All right, I am very excited to have our guest, Brenda Knowles, welcome, Brenda.

Brenda Knowles [00:01:26]:

Thank you. I’m happy to be here.

David Hall [00:01:29]:

Okay, Brenda. I started blogging about seven years ago, and Brenda was one of the first ones that I started following on Twitter, and I really enjoyed her blogs on introversion and relationships. I got a lot out of that, and we’ve connected a couple of times, and she wrote a great book that I really enjoyed, and she also endorsed my book. And so this is really exciting to have Brenda on to talk about introversion and some other things that she’s expert in. So, again, welcome.

Brenda Knowles [00:02:02]:

All right. Thank you. Yeah, this will be great. I’m really excited to meet you and spend time talking today. Right.

David Hall [00:02:09]:

So, of course, what I ask everybody is, how did you discover you were introvert?

Brenda Knowles [00:02:15]:

That’s interesting. So I was in my 40s when it really kind of became clear. I took a writing class at a place here in Minneapolis, and the teacher at the end of the class said something like, well, I’m starting a newsletter, and it’s for introverts. And I thought, well, what was that about? And she kind of told us a little bit about herself and she was an introvert. And then I started getting her newsletter, and then she wrote a book, and it was all about introversion. And I guess she was kind of the first person that even sort of introduced it to me, the idea. And then after I read the introverted vantage and eventually Quiet, like a few years later, quiet by Susan Kane, I saw myself more and more in that introvert realm or that fit me as a description. And it kind of explained a lot of things. At the time, I was a stay at home mom with three fairly young children, like middle school age and younger, and I was married. It was just a very busy time. Someone once said that children integrate you into your community whether you want to or not. And I think I had zero time to myself with three young kids and just being home all the time with them. I was really kind of struggling and then finding introversion as a description that I really was drawn to and felt like it fit me. Well, finally I felt like I had an explanation, and now I know a lot of people will say, yeah, those years with your kids around, moms and dads will kind of feel like their life narrows down and there’s no free time and not a lot of privacy and that kind of thing. But I think I have even a bigger desire for alone time and time to recharge even than that typical need that most parents have. So that was it when I was in my forty s and then I just read everything about it, talked to my husband about it, kind of explained. I think it was hard for him to fully grasp because I’ve always had a lot of friends and I’ve been pretty social. But it really came to a head when I was just busy all the time with kids stuff and not having a lot of my own time. I grew up out in the country, it was quiet, I had my own room. I would just go into my room even as a seven, eight year old, but then obviously as a teenager spent a lot of time in my room, perfectly happy to be there by myself, listening to music, reading, writing, doing my homework, I would talk to my friends on the phone and things. But I had that time to myself. But obviously getting married, having kids, changed that environment and I really felt it my nervous system really needed a break, needed some time to myself, some understanding of my needs, things. So it was, it was a definite time of transition growth. Ended up getting a divorce at that point or a few years later. And then I did have some time to myself. My kids weren’t with me but I don’t know, actually sometime it was nice to have the house to myself. But I also always wanted to find another partner because I do love relationships and that’s my area that I really love to delve into and I love learning about relationships and how to make them better and I love coaching and writing about relationships. Anyway, it kind of just started my growth period, my arc of evolution, really into knowing myself better and then helping others understand themselves and their partners and work on relationships lots affiliated.

David Hall [00:07:04]:

Thank you. Thank you for sharing that. And yes, when I think of you that’s what I think of is relationships. How can you make better relationships? Understanding your introversion, helping other people understand that. And I mean the story you shared, it’s so common amongst introverts that I probably figured things out about the same time, about the same age that you did. And it’s like, oh, there’s not anything wrong with me. I just have some different needs that I didn’t understand, that I need to embrace and help other people understand. But also a lot I have a lot of strengths that I need to embrace, and maybe some of them I had, but I could definitely do better than.

Brenda Knowles [00:07:52]:

You know, as Susan Cain says quite a few times in her book Quiet, that introverted nature isn’t admired as much as the outgoing, more extroverted person. So I think we often sort of don’t allow that introverted side to be as obvious. We might push ourselves to be more boisterous and outgoing and socialize, maybe even a little more than we would like, take on, have big families and run lots of things and constantly be busy interacting and all that, because that is what is admired in our culture, and that is what is encouraged, expected even. And then when we don’t fit that mold or that expectation, it can be tough. Tough on your ego, tough on your spirit, tough on your energy levels and things. So it’s something to figure out and then figure out how to work with. And that’s what we try to do. Right, David?

David Hall [00:09:13]:

That’s why we’re yeah. You mentioned quiet by Susan Kane. I also read that book. I highly recommend it. There’s many others in the introduction. I mentioned Brenda’s book, which I found really helpful. So there’s a lot of great books out there. And Susan Kane calls it the extroverted ideal. And it’s not that we’ll say that 50% of the population are introverts, right?

Brenda Knowles [00:09:42]:

More and more, yeah.

David Hall [00:09:43]:

Just because we have a different way doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with it.

Brenda Knowles [00:09:48]:

No, it’s not lesser. It’s not lesser than it’s just different.

David Hall [00:09:54]:


Brenda Knowles [00:09:56]:

But like I said, I think there’s been a cultural just expectation or something that the extroversion and outgoing person is somehow a step ahead. But it’s becoming more and more clear. The strengths that both natures have, both temperaments have, and they’re both valuable and both needed.

David Hall [00:10:22]:

We need everybody, and I hope that message comes loud and clear. We’re definitely not saying one is better than another, just different, like you said, and valued. We all have something to contribute. But that’s the message, is we all have something to contribute. Right?

Brenda Knowles [00:10:38]:

Yeah. And just finding that and doing it and being encouraged to do it and not discouraged. Get it out there. Do your thing. Like everyone says. The world needs you. It seems a little cliche, but it’s true.

David Hall [00:10:53]:

Yeah, it is. So as you were telling your story, I definitely picked up on a couple of myths that people might have out there. This show is definitely about embracing your strengths, honoring your needs, and we bust some myths. That’s important. So is there a couple of myths on introversion that you want to Bust Today?

Brenda Knowles [00:11:12]:

Well, they always say that introverts are quiet and shy and maybe lack some charisma. And that’s not true, for one thing. To me, shy means more leaning towards social anxiety to a degree or sort of a fear of judgment. So you’re quieter and you might not speak up, and you stay sort of in the background of things. And being introverted is a sensitivity to stimulation. It’s something we’re born with. I just think it’s different. It’s not all about having a fear of being judged or fear of being humiliated, if we speak. It’s more of it takes a while to process a lot of stimulation. And being around. A lot of stimulation can be draining. And I’m not saying just there are a lot of things that can be stimulating. People can be stimulating. And that’s one of the myths that introverts don’t like people. They’d rather be alone at all times or most of the time. And that is not true. I love people. I know you love people. David we interact all day long and I actually can get energized from great connections and working with different people and spending time with different people. So I think that myth of introverts not being good with people or not liking to be with people is just that a myth. Not True. It is the stimulation that can cause us to pull back and maybe want some alone time. Yeah, that’s the big one, I think. Yes.

David Hall [00:13:15]:

So you’re saying we can get recharged by others?

Brenda Knowles [00:13:20]:

Yes, Absolutely. I’m totally saying that. I’m a big believer in connection, really having secure and positive relationships in your life. And when there is that security and someone is responsive to you, that is fulfilling, that’s energizing. I can come away from a day of work. I work in in high school in a special education department. And I come home lighter. Sometimes it’s hard work too. So sometimes I’m tired. But Energized, I can come home. And I’m telling stories to my kids and my husband about what happened that day. And I feel pretty animated, which kind of I envision myself kind of looking more what people think of as stereotypically extroverted because I’m telling stories and I’m laughing and I’m not quiet about it. I’m telling whoever will listen. At home, it’s different, but, yeah, I think definitely I can get energy from really solid relationships when I hang out with my good friends. Those are, like, some of my happiest times, my most joyful, spirited times. And when I think about they say, go to your happy place. Or think about a time when you felt really good. I’m usually with my you know, think about my friends or my kids or my husband. That’s a high for me, something that’s good. So. Yeah. I will always say we can get drained if it’s a lot of stimulation. One thing I will say that drains me super quickly. And I am highly sensitive. And I would say introverted is several people talking to me at once. There’s a bottleneck in the processing, and I know most people don’t like that either, but I really can’t take that for too long, and then I’m done. I’ll have to take some time away. But if I’m with friends who are respectful and we’re all taking our turns talking and listening to each other, that is very rewarding to me, and I can’t get enough of it.

David Hall [00:15:58]:

Yeah, you said a lot of things right now. No, I’m saying there are a lot of great points. It’s like, of course we love connections, we need connections. I was really looking forward to this conversation today with you. We’ve kind of interacted over social media a little bit, but we’ve never talked like this, and I’m loving this, and I’m being recharged by this. But at the same time, you mentioned sometimes some things that are even recharging, you might need to some things that you’re energizing could also be draining. And you just have to know that. You said if a lot of people are trying to talk to you at the same time and you know that’s coming, it’s probably a good idea to plan some time after that, if you can, to have that downtime.

Brenda Knowles [00:16:45]:

Yes, definitely. I will say when I come home from work at the school, I do really like having like half an hour to 45 minutes kind of to myself. I might read a little bit, I’ll have a snack. My daughter might come home from school and I’ll talk to her. She’s a senior in high school. That’s calm and kind of a quieter time, but that kind of helps me regain I love my job very meaningful, my job at the school, my job when I’m writing or coaching, obviously all that does recharge me. And I was telling you, David, before we recorded or started recording that I have kind of a new theory that maybe we’re not drained as much by stimulation or even people and things as much as they say or whatever. The theory is that introverts are drained by people and stimulation. I’m thinking maybe we’re drained by a lack of free time, a lack of time to ourselves because we are such inwardly focused people. Oftentimes our brains are really busy, our minds are really busy, and we don’t have time to process that, just kind of have that free time to think. You just let our minds wander or do everyone then we do get drained. We get overloaded. We don’t have that time to just think and process things that we really are into that’s theory.

David Hall [00:18:27]:

And I think it depends on what kind of situation you mentioned. One if a lot of people are talking to you. One I always use is if you put me in a room with 50 strangers and I’m supposed to bounce around from one to the next in a networking kind of event. I am going to be very drained after that, and I would much rather find a person or two and have some really deep conversations. But if I do need to go around and talk to lots of different people, I am going to need a break after, for sure. So to me, it’s definitely situational like, what kind of situations don’t allow me to really think or really draining on my thinking and then build in that recharge time where I need to.

Brenda Knowles [00:19:09]:

Right. I feel sometimes people that I feel like I’m expected to caregive or take care of, that can be draining also, if it’s people, even adults who are perfectly fine, but I feel like it’s my duty in a way to make sure they are kept in a good mood or feeling good about themselves. And I know that’s kind of the people pleaser background, but that can be draining even at, like you said, like a networking event where I have to put out a lot of energy to people I don’t know. So I make a good impression, and I have to listen very deeply because I don’t know them. So I can’t assume things and I can’t anticipate things. I just have to really that I know. Like you said, I feel the same way. I would be drained and need a break afterward. Sometimes that’s super easy.

David Hall [00:20:23]:

And you mentioned that you love your work that you’re doing, but afterwards you need a break. And during the Pandemic, I worked from home for the first time, just full time. And I realized, oh, my drive to and from work is a recharge time for me. I kind of knew that I definitely had a lot of good ideas on those drives. I realized when I’m done from work, I need to go sit in my room.

Brenda Knowles [00:20:56]:

It’s a little buffer time.

David Hall [00:21:00]:

Again, in the height of the pandemic, there was five of us here. And I love my family, but I needed to separate. And so I would joke with my wife, okay, I’m driving home now, and I go sit in my room for a little while before I was ready to engage with the family. And again, we had a lot of great times.

Brenda Knowles [00:21:17]:


David Hall [00:21:17]:

Even though I was already home, I needed that space from work.

Brenda Knowles [00:21:21]:


David Hall [00:21:22]:

Kind of before we hung out for the evening.

Brenda Knowles [00:21:24]:

Right. Just kind of the break in the day. I totally agree. I have, like, a five minute commute to work, so there really isn’t much of a quite often I wish there were. Just a little bit longer on the way there. Like I said, 1015 more minutes would be good. Okay. On the way home. Okay. I’m just winding down. Yeah. It would be nice to just have that little time. I used to live in Chicago years ago, and I would take the train to work, and I loved it. I would just sit on the train and I would read or listen to music or paint my nails or anything. I’m surrounded by people, but I could just sort of close off and do my thing. And it was awesome. It was like my warm up time, warm up to get to work and then kind of wind down on the way home. And it was nice. Yeah, the commute thing can be well.

David Hall [00:22:15]:

You’Re better off with the short commute. I mean, mine’s usually half hour or more, but I just definitely had to find a way to replace that, which is good. So I definitely would rather have a shorter commute. I’m still working from home quite a bit, so that’s good. You mentioned being highly sensitive. So are all introverts highly sensitive? And can extroverts be highly sensitive?

Brenda Knowles [00:22:40]:

Yes, extroverts can be highly sensitive. At the last reading, what I saw was that about 70% of highly sensitive people are introverts. So the majority, I would say, are, but definitely extroverts. More extroverted people can be highly sensitive. And highly sensitive is also an innate thing. About 15% to 20% of all species, even animals, are more highly sensitive. And that basically means they’re more reactive to novel stimuli. Their nervous system is just gauged a little bit higher. And I would say I am pretty a highly sensitive person. A lot of times people will be sensitive to noise, to lighting, to textures and clothing. Obviously the basic stimulation, like, just.

David Hall [00:23:47]:


Brenda Knowles [00:23:47]:

Lot going on in a certain environment if there’s a lot of chaotic activity, obviously very stimulating. So, again, it’s it’s something we’re born with, and it’s about 15% to 20% of humans and other species, even some animals and things. So, yeah, there’s a difference. But you don’t have to be introverted and be highly sensitive or vice versa. And extroverts can also be highly sensitive. My daughter is someone who is more extroverted. She loves to talk, loves people and her friends, but definitely sensitive. She would go to parties when she was a kid, like seven or eight years old. She’d go to a sky zone or a trampoline park party and come home and cry because there’s just so much so loud and just so much going on and so many kids and screaming and all that. And she still loves her friends. She’s just recently said she doesn’t like to do sleepovers anymore because it’s just too much. She needs her sleep and needs her rebound time. I was like, yeah, I see that.

David Hall [00:25:05]:

And it’s all about getting to know yourself, because I’m definitely an introvert, I think deeply, but I’m not highly sensitive. I do love loud music, as long as I’m not trying to talk with somebody at the same time. But it’s important to know ourselves and all of these things, whether we’re talking about introversion, extroversion, highly sensitive or not, they’re not good or bad. It’s just what are your strengths and what are your needs? So what would you say are just a big strength of being highly sensitive and what’s a need that you need to honor?

Brenda Knowles [00:25:41]:

I would say a big strength is very heightened awareness of nuances and subtleties pick up on just little tiny facial expressions, things that happen in situations that I find there’s a pretty strong intuition in a lot of highly sensitive people. I read an article not too long ago, it was about sensitive strivers. So being highly sensitive, we’re very sensitive to making a mistake or something going wrong and a boss or someone coming down on us or critiquing us. Therefore the perfection becomes kind of a goal which is I’m not endorsing that and encouraging us to aim for perfection. But it often happens that we’re so fearful of being reprimanded or making a mistake or not doing something right that we really aim pretty high. And so a lot of times there’s a strong drive to achieve and do things can be kind of a people pleaser situation. Again, so you have to be careful. But overall I think it’s a strength because we’re really aware of the environment, other people, ourselves and therefore we can kind of work that all into doing what’s best for our group, our environment, our people and work really hard to do it because we want to. And again, it can be draining if you have a lot coming in at you. But it can also be pretty rewarding because not only are we sensitive to some things that might be more negative, we’re also sensitive to really cool things like art and emotions and nuances and subtleties and expression. So all those things make an interesting person. Not that someone who’s not sensitive isn’t, but I just think it’s a cool thing. It’s an awareness that’s on a different level and a need that comes up with that is being so aware of everything sometimes feels like there’s a lot coming at you or weighing on you. Other people’s moods, a lot of noise or stimulation in the environment can feel like a lot. And then you have to know when to say no. And that’s a need that needs to be honored. And it’s hard to say no to things because again, I don’t know, I think often that we’re interested in so many things or because it catches our eye or we’re aware of it, that it’s hard to say no, just want to experience everything. Because even things I say, sex can be a positive thing when you’re highly sensitive and really even introverted, that inner world so busy and sexual relations that inner world plays a big part that can be very stimulating, very sexy, arousing, all that. So you can use high sensitivity and introversion to your benefit and intimacy.

David Hall [00:29:37]:

Definitely. I love how you describe the strengths. It was beautiful. And again, we all have our own strengths, we just need to understand them. And you need to understand yourself so that you can make strategies to make sure that your needs are met. So you just mentioned intimate relationships. How does introversion affect our intimate relationships or our parenting relationships?

Brenda Knowles [00:30:02]:

Well, in many, many ways that innate temperament definitely interacts with your mate or your partner. So, like in an intimate relationship, if you are more introverted and your partner is more introverted, there could be a tendency for you both to withdraw more when you need time to yourself or you’ve been overstimulated and you need to have a break. So then you’re both withdrawing and doing your own separate things. And that can kind of cause some disconnection and ultimately conflict. And conflict is very stimulating. When you’re in a relationship and there’s conflict and you’re more introverted and sensitive to that, it gets a little harder to comfort each other, be responsive. You might not have that energy for it. You may be like, I’m afraid that kind of conflict, or if they yell or if we fight that is going to push me over the top of my arousal limit. I’m going to feel really uncomfortable because it’ll be a lot. But if you don’t have conflict, you’re not going to get anything resolved. So that’s an issue that a lot of introverts have to work on. That’s just something that’s a little different. And the introvert extrovert relationship, there’s also obviously your different temperaments. One maybe choose more to be together all the time and resolve something. And if something is not going right, they’re more likely to follow the introverted partner around, asking for time to talk about it, let’s work on this. Let’s go. And the introvert might be like, no, I need a little space, let me think about it, and I’ll feel better after I have some time to myself and then we can work on it. Which would make the other partner, the extroverted partner, feel a little left out, a little worried that it’s not being addressed. That’s tough. You both have your own temperaments and that’s how you’re geared and wired. It’s not something that the other partner should take personally, which is something I tell my coaching clients all the time because very often I have clients who are more extroverted and they’re contacting me to learn more about their introverted partner. And one thing I will tell them is not to always take the introverted partner’s request for space or withdrawal. Don’t take it too personally because oftentimes for the introvert, it’s more about their own self preservation than like a rejection or abandonment of their partner. It’s not, I don’t want to be with you, I don’t like you. I need some time to myself or else I’m going to fall down. I’m going to be so tired or crabby that you really won’t like me.

David Hall [00:33:26]:

Yeah. So it’s like, I need this time and it’s for you, so I could be a better person for you.

Brenda Knowles [00:33:34]:

Right, right.

David Hall [00:33:35]:

I was talking to an extroverted introverted couple and she said he doesn’t like to go dancing with me. I love to go dancing. And when talking to him, he’s like, oh, yeah, I love to go dancing, but I’m kind of done at midnight where she wants to keep going to, like, three or four in the morning. And so it’s just really understanding those differences. And I’m married to a fellow introvert, and she’s always been confident in who she is, but I didn’t really understand she was an introvert. Yeah, some people are like that. It definitely didn’t happen that way for us. But as she was helping me edit my blog many years ago, I started to realize, oh, she’s not paying attention to me right now. And it’s because she’s so focused, and she needs that focused time. And right now it kind of works out that I get up early and she stays up late, and we still have to work through things. Yes, we still have to work through it. Like, she may need some time and I might want to be with her, or the opposite. For the most part, we really do enjoy each other’s company, but that’s something that we definitely have to work out. So you phrase it the distancer pursuer dynamic. That’s kind of what you’re talking about right now. Right? So tell us a little bit more about that.

Brenda Knowles [00:35:00]:

Right. And the distancer pursuer dynamic is so common in almost every marriage. One partner takes the distance or title, and one becomes the pursuer. And that’s just yeah, like, we were just talking about where one person in order, so there’s something going on. There’s a challenge in the relationship. One partner, usually the more introverted person, will withdraw. They’ll distance, they’ll kind of push away and keep their partner a little bit at arm’s length. And then the pursuer, often the more extroverted partner, is following along behind this partner, saying, are you ready now to talk? Are you ready now? They’re texting them at work, are we okay? Should we talk after? When should we talk? When should we meet? And the thing that needs to get recognized within the couple is that this is a pattern. When there is something going on, there’s some challenge or obstacle in the relationship. They need to well, you know, Brenda, when she’s in conflict or feels challenged, she needs to have a little time to herself to process and think through what’s going on. But my husband’s name is Mark. When mark is challenged, he wants me to talk to him and work through something. He would rather go do something with me. He thinks that’s a way to resolve whatever’s going on, whatever the issue is, if we just go out together and do something anyway. It’s very common in relationships, and I will say it’s not always due to the introvert extrovert thing either. When we were younger and even infants, we have attachment that we do with our parents, and sometimes we don’t. Have a secure attachment. Our parents maybe weren’t available all the time. They might have been negative or more rejecting when we were little. And then we become kind of more self reliant. We learn how to soothe ourselves as children and infants and babies. And then that self reliance is what we go to. When a problem comes up to us, it feels safe to count on ourselves. So we will just take care of ourselves. And that’s when we distance. We push the partner away a little because we’re like, no, things aren’t going well, I don’t need you. I’ve seen this before, even implicitly. We remember when we were small, like our parents not being there, not being reliable. So we push away and say, I’m good, I can handle this by myself. And then the pursuer is someone who maybe had a parent who was there sometimes and not there other times. So they were inconsistent. So they kind of had to constantly check in with them or kind of stay close to them to keep that contact and connection with the parent. And that’s what they do with their partner as an adult also. They just stay close, keep tabs, check in all the time, make sure with the parent, the partner is still available, still in contact, still connected to them. So it’s just very common and I see it all the time. One partner is not happy because the other one’s withdrawing and one partner is happy because they never get any space or the other partner is attacking in their words or constantly texting them, calling, needing attention. It’s something to work with. But again, starting point is to realize it’s a pattern, to see that pattern and say, oh, here, we’re doing it again.

David Hall [00:39:10]:


Brenda Knowles [00:39:10]:

How can we work with this?

David Hall [00:39:15]:

And you brought up that. Yeah. It’s not just about introversion, extroversion or other aspects of our personality. There’s things that come to us very naturally. I’m always going to be an introvert, I always have been, but there’s other things that could have been part of our development or lack thereof with our natural gifts, like you’re saying. And so it’s really important to understand all those things and understand yourself and where you can continue to develop.

Brenda Knowles [00:39:46]:

Right, right, yeah. Where you came from, what other relationships you had and how they shaped you and then how your temperament is playing a part in your reactions or your level of responsiveness in a relationship. And again, this is more in a romantic relationship. But it works the same way with parent child. I mean, like we mentioned, the parent child thing is really this is very formative. Those first really year and a half, two years are very important in how you are connected to your parent and how you parent your own children. As we’re adults now, how do we raise our kids? How responsive are we to them? And it really is very similar to how we are with our adult romantic partners. How responsive, how secure do they feel? How secure do we feel? There’s a lot to that. So over the years and all my research and writing, I’ve really learned it’s about 50 50 with your temperament, your introversion affecting you, and then 50% of your primary relationships. And those can be ones that you’ve had as an adult, too, if you had a prior marriage or a long term relationship and you had an insecure partner, that’s going to affect your next relationship also.

David Hall [00:41:17]:

Yeah, and I know this topic we could talk about for a very long time.

Brenda Knowles [00:41:22]:

Yeah, this is my.

David Hall [00:41:25]:

No, I just mean in a nutshell. If a parent’s really starting to think about how can I support my introverted or extroverted child better, what kind of advice would you give? Again, I know we could talk about this for hours and maybe we will another time.

Brenda Knowles [00:41:43]:

Yeah. No, it is really important to value their temperament, no matter what it is. If it’s more introverted and you’re an extroverted parent, it’s obviously harder to understand. But to take that time to learn about what a more introverted child needs and how they will express themselves and where they feel the strongest and where they feel they might need some uplifting or some encouragement and support. I have seen extroverted parents push their kids to throw big parties, throw big slumber parties, just really put them out of their comfort zone and then complain when their daughter just wants to be in her room and watch a movie or just wants to read or she just wants to sit in her room. That’s a problem. Well, that is what she needs. And so it’s honoring those that need and really getting to see their strengths. Like what? They might be more introverted, but maybe they’re an awesome listener and a great friend. Maybe they’re a really interesting kid because they are more introverted. They spend a lot of time learning things and reading or listening to grandpa tell stories. They pick up on things and that’s a positive thing and they’re going to be okay. I think there was a fear, it still is, that if a child is more quiet and introverted, then they’re not going to do as well in life. They’re not going to have as many friends, they’re not going to succeed in a career. I feel like we’ve worked hard and it is happening that there’s a realization that that’s not true. There are so many cool jobs and excellent jobs and excellent partnerships that introverts just shine in so that there shouldn’t be that big fear.

David Hall [00:43:59]:

Absolutely. And to me, it starts with the self awareness, whether you’re the parent or just looking at yourself. So what’s a key? How do you help in your coaching work? Help introverts gain that confidence if they don’t have it already. And some introverts have been confident always, but if they don’t have it, how do you help them get that confidence in who they are?

Brenda Knowles [00:44:26]:

Well, kind of start with normalizing their temperament because a lot of times the clients I have, they come in who are looking for validation and information about their introversion and their temperament. They’ve sort of been beaten down or made to feel like they are not as successful as they could be or they’re a disappointment to their parents or their partner or something. They’re not enough, they’re not outgoing enough, they don’t have enough energy to do all the fun stuff or whatever. But I tell them, no, this is your temperament and here is what it entails and here’s why. It’s how you’re wired. Here’s all the gifts of it. I try to make them see that they’re not limited. They actually have even more opportunities in one direction to learn about themselves, to learn about other people. And I do tell them their gifts. You can be great at concentrating, great listener, depending on the different people, but you might be more intuitive. There’s just a depth of processing that is really cool and a bonus to our temperament that you can use. And here’s how, here’s a career path that will work for you or here’s something that you might be interested in that you’re just going to take off in and love. So build their confidence by normalizing their temperament, letting them know they’re not below average, they’re not lesser than, they’re not a disappointment, they will have rich, fulfilling lives and they can have them and they will find amazing relationships, all these things for that client who’s looking for that. And I really emphasize exercising, keeping yourself healthy. You will get some energy from exercising. A lot of times we worry about not having enough energy because the world can be kind of draining. There’s a lot coming at us all day long through our phones, through our laptops, the radio, just our work environments, our home environments. So you have to recharge in. However, you know, I like to build resilience by espousing exercise, really emphasize getting good sleep. We recharge a lot at night. Introverts do. We put things in long term memory while we’re sleeping. And that’s key for us. And I find it really important to emphasize connection in relationships. Having really secure relationships will also build your energy and make you feel secure, make you feel more confident. So those are your health, basically your sleep, your fitness and those relationships. But the relationship thing is something people don’t always think of. Obviously we know relationships are important, but sort of how to craft those and make it work for your temperament.

David Hall [00:48:09]:

Well, you’re definitely talking about the coaching work that you’re doing. What else do you want to tell everyone about your coaching?

Brenda Knowles [00:48:19]:

Let’s see, what else? So I work with both introverts and extroverts. And quite often I do meet with the more extroverted partner first because they will reach out to me and they will want to learn about their partner and they want to improve their relationship. So I do both, and I do couples and people just individually. I’d say most of my coaching is individuals, but I have done quite a few couples. I mostly work through Zoom or Skype, so we get a face to face. I can see facial expressions, and I love it. I really love helping people with their relationships and helping them understand their temperament and if they’re highly sensitive, learning how to work with that. And I’ve lived it myself. I am an introvert. I’m more highly sensitive. I went through a breakdown in a relationship and got divorced. And now I’m remarried, happily remarried. Learned many, many things in the process about improving and maintaining secure relationships. So I love to share it, and I really enjoy meeting people and working with them.

David Hall [00:49:41]:

Awesome. So we’ve had such a great conversation today about introversion, being highly sensitive, relationships, how that might impact those. So tell us how people can get a hold of you for coaching or your book, if you want to remind everybody the name of your book, or I think you’re up to about 500 blog posts.

Brenda Knowles [00:50:05]:

Yeah, over 500 blog posts.

David Hall [00:50:07]:

Over 500. So tell everyone where they can find you.

Brenda Knowles [00:50:11]:

Okay. The best place to go to is, and that’s, and pretty much there are links to everything there. My book is The Quiet Rise of Introverts eight Practices for Living and Loving in a Noisy World. And that’s on Amazon and at other bookstores. So you just ask for it or look for it online. But, yeah, is the place to start. And I have a tab for coaching and a tab for the podcast that I’ve done. And over 500 blog posts on introversion, relationships, parenting, anxiety, depression. Those are kind of the things that I’ve tackled for many years and keep learning more and more about. Yeah, I’d love it. I’d love to contact and connect with as many people as possible.

David Hall [00:51:13]:

Sounds great. Again. Thank you, Brenda. This has been such a wonderful conversation. I know so many people are going to benefit from hearing it. So thank you for all the work you do to support introverts and highly sensitive people, and it’s been wonderful chatting with you.

Brenda Knowles [00:51:30]:

Yeah, thank you for having me. I just really enjoyed it. Thanks, David.

David Hall [00:51:33]:

All right. Thank you. Thank you so much for joining me today. I look forward to further connecting with you. Reach out at Check out the website I’ll add social media channels for me and my guests to the show. Notes. Please comment on social media posts. Send me topics or guests you’d like to see on the show. There’s so many great things about being an introvert, and so we need those to be understood. Get to know your introverted strengths and needs and be strong.

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