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Sometimes, when introverts take advice from extroverts, that advice can leave us feeling frustrated and lost because it just doesn’t work for us.

If you’re an introvert, you may have been told to “act like an extrovert” in order to be successful. But that strategy doesn’t work for everyone. Sometimes, it’s best for introverts to learn from other introverts who have learned how to leverage introverted strengths, instead of trying to be something they’re not. In this episode, we’ll explore why an extrovert’s advice may not work for introverts, and what you can do instead to thrive as an introvert.

Listen now to learn how you can find success in your own introverted way!

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David Hall
Author, Speaker, Educator, Podcaster
quietandstrong.com
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david@quietandstrong.com

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Podcast Transcript

Why extrovert advice may not work for introverts – Ep85

Hello, and welcome to Episode 85 of the Quiet and Strong Podcast, especially for introverts.  I am your host, David Hall and creator of quietandstrong.com. 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 will air each episode on Monday mornings.  Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform, leave a review, tell a friend, help get the word out there.

When I was younger I did think something was wrong with me.  I would see people who seemed to have the easiest time in conversations and making connections and possessing a high level of charisma.  Why couldn’t I be more like them?  When I was in college I picked up a book on “overcoming shyness.”  And I didn’t find it helpful at all.  Had I known then what I know now, I probably would have realized that this book was written by an extrovert and it didn’t take into account what I needed or how I operated as an introvert.  There was advice like “just do it” and  force yourself out of your comfort zone and talk to different people every day. There could be elements here that might be helpful but not if you don’t understand your underlying introverted needs and also gifts.

I will have to go find that book and investigate it further. And see if it was written by an extrovert. Since then I have discovered that likely introverts probably can learn best on certain topics from other introverts.  

I once attended a webinar at work on introversion.  There was a group gathered in person to watch this webinar.  When the webinar was over we had some conversation in the group around introversion.  The topic of public speaking was brought up by an introvert and immediately she was given advice from some well meaning extroverts.  Just practice, just do it, feel the fear and do it anyway.  What is missing from this advice for introverts?  

If you’re an introvert, keep in mind that some advice is often geared towards extroverts. From school to work to social interactions, So much of the advice out there is based on extroverted behavior – but what works for extroverts doesn’t always work for introverts. We are going to discuss some of the reasons why extrovert advice fails introverts – and what you can do instead.

Introversion is just as it sounds, we turn inward more often than not and we process the world more internally than externally.  In addition to this I am going to review 5 other key areas where introverts differ from extroverts.  In order to improve in various areas of your life it is important to understand yourself in these areas as an introvert.

Introverts naturally spend more time in their inner world of ideas.

Extroverts naturally spend more time in the outer world around them.

Introverts think and then speak.

Extroverts speak to think.

Introverts may prefer to communicate in writing rather than speaking.

Extroverts may prefer to communicate by speaking rather than writing.

Introverts may be drained by social interaction, but energized by time alone.

Extroverts may be energized by social interaction, but may feel restless when experiencing excessive isolation.

Introverts prefer deep conversations over small talk.

Extroverts in general enjoy most types of conversation.

Introverts usually prefer a close circle of friends.

Extroverts enjoy having many friends and acquaintances.

So let’s review some questions.  Also keep in mind that we are all unique individuals.  No introvert (or extrovert) is exactly the same as another. The key is to give your own needs some thought. How could advice differ in this context of the examples of overcoming shyness or giving a public speech?

Do you think and then speak? Or speak to think?

Several years ago I was in a Myers-Briggs workshop and the facilitator said that a major difference between introverts and extroverts, was that introverts think and then speak and extroverts speak in order to think. If you don’t understand that as an introvert you generally think first and then speak you could be made to feel shy.  Also, we need to give ourselves time to think and often prepare for important conversations, meetings, or presentations. Understanding this as an introvert can give you confidence and help you overcome shyness. The way that we prepare for a speech is going to look different than an extrovert.  We likely are not going to be able to just get up and “wing it”.  Introverts can be amazing at public speaking, but need to understand how they can best prepare and deliver using their gifts.

Do you prefer to communicate in writing or speaking?

Introverts may prefer to communicate in writing rather than speaking. Of course, we need to utilize all forms of communication, but when is your strength in writing going to be the best to utilize?  Maybe it would be better in a particular situation to take your time composing a very well written and thorough email. 

Do you find that after a certain amount of social interaction you need a break? Or do you find yourself energized by social interaction?

Introverts may be drained by social interaction, but energized by deep thought and time alone. We need connections, but also need a break from time to time.  This is normal.  Is the book on shyness or public speaking calling this out?

Do you prefer deep conversations over small talk or in general, enjoy most types of conversation?

Introverts prefer deep conversations over small talk. You absolutely can get better at small talk,  And often it is necessary to get to the deeper conversations.  However, getting better at small talk doesn’t change your preference to talk about things such as the meaning of life or how to make the world a better place. The goal is not just to get better at small talk, but to be able to have the meaningful conversations you want to have.

Do you usually prefer a close circle of friends? Or enjoy having many friends and acquaintances?

Introverts usually prefer a close circle of friends. They want that friend or two that they really share everything with and they’re telling everything to, whereas extroverts may have many friends and acquaintances. It is not good or bad to have a small circle of friends, but important to understand.

When it comes to our introvert or extrovert preferences meither is right or wrong, but we do have natural preferences that need to be honored. If you are a shy introvert I believe you can gain confidence!  But a big part of this is understanding your introverted nature.  Same goes for public speaking.  Introverts can be amazing public speakers.  But you can be your very best by approaching your speech with your natural gifts and perhaps some advice from a fellow introvert. This applies to:

•Relationships

•Communications

•Leadership

•Productivity

•Overall Success and Happiness

Find those introverted authors and speakers that can give you advice and strategies for success based on an introvert’s perspective.

On the podcast we have had many guests talking about how introverts gain confidence, overcome shyness, and social anxiety.  How to thrive at work, in networking, sales, marketing. business, leadership. We’ve discussed parenting and relationships.

I have also discussed productivity and time management topics on the podcast.  The same advice applies, if you want to learn about productivity for example, it would be best to learn from someone that has similar strengths and needs as you do and approaches life in an introverted way.  So this is a big part of my story and my journey.  A few years back I was blogging about introversion, and at the same time I was very busy with a full-time job, my wife and I own a business together, and I have three kids.  So while I am studying and writing about introversion I am also studying about productivity and time management.  I found some great books and resources, but was not finding specific items regarding my needs as an introvert, yet these needs were very important and very real for the introvert.  So I wrote my first book, Minding Your Time, Time Management, Productivity, and Success, Especially for the Introvert.

When you are considering your time management strategy, remember, introverts do a lot of thinking, we do best with some preparation, and we need some recharge time. So your strategy should include time to clear your mind, quiet time for certain tasks and projects, time to prepare, to plan, to reflect, to think. And of course time to recharge each day in order to be effective. These areas may not be mentioned in a book on time management and productivity.

In my book, I laid out 7 key areas to consider as you are making your time management strategy. Again, written by an introvert for introverts, written through an introvert lens.

  • Focus on the Important
  • Time To Recharge
  • Balance Of Quiet
  • Avoiding Overwhelm
  • Managing Ideas
  • Getting Organized
  • Planning Your Week

To be your best, you need to know how you operate best. 

If you’re an introvert, you’ve probably been told at some point in your life to “be more extroverted.” Maybe it was in school, at work, or even from well-meaning friends or family. And while there’s nothing wrong with being extroverted, the truth is that introverts are perfectly fine the way they are. In fact, many of the things that make introverts who they are – such as being more thoughtful and reflective – can be huge strengths. And contrary to popular belief, introverts can be very successful in social situations – they just might need to approach them a bit differently than extroverts do.

So if you’re an introvert and someone tells you to “be more extroverted,” don’t worry – there’s nothing wrong with you. You can still be successful and happy exactly as you are and because of who you are.

Introverts are often told that in order to be successful, they need to “act more extroverted.” There are many examples of successful introverts who have maintained their introverted identity and gone on to achieve great things. There are a number of reasons why extrovert-centric advice doesn’t always work for introverts. For one, introverts tend to be more inward-focused and introspective, which means that they’re more likely to process information differently than extroverts.

This can lead to introverts feeling like they’re not doing things “right” when they follow extrovert-centric advice, because it doesn’t feel natural to them. Additionally, many introverts have a strong preference for solitude sometimes and quiet environments, which can make it difficult for them to take the loud and social approach that is often recommended by extroverts.

Ultimately, the best way for an introvert to be successful is to focus on what comes naturally to them and what makes them feel comfortable. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to success, and what works for an extrovert may not work for an introvert. By understanding and embracing their own unique strengths and preferences, introverts can set themselves up for success in whatever area they pursue.

Introverts are often deep thinkers and good at problem solving. They also tend to be very creative and have strong imaginations. Another benefit of being an introvert is that you tend to be very focused and can get things done more quickly than extroverts. This is because you are not Distracted by outside stimuli. This can be helpful when you need to meet a deadline or complete a project quickly.

If you are an introvert, it is important to find an activity that allows you to recharge your batteries. This could be something as simple as reading, listening to music, or spending time in nature. It is important to find time for yourself so that you can stay energized and focused on the task at hand.

For one, introverts are often better at listening and observing. This can be a valuable skill in work settings, as it allows introverts to gather information and make more informed decisions. Introverts are also often more thoughtful and introspective than extroverts. This allows them to better understand their own thoughts and feelings, and to see the world from multiple perspectives. This can make them better at problem-solving and resolving conflicts. Finally, introverts tend to be more independent than extroverts. They are often comfortable working alone and do not need constant stimulation from others. This independence can be a major strength, as it allows introverts to get things done without relying on others.

You might try to be more like the extroverts around you, or follow the advice of well-meaning family and friends who tell you that you need to “come out of your shell” and “be more outgoing.” But the truth is, there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert. In fact, there are many advantages to being introverted. And trying to be something that you’re not is often a recipe for frustration and unhappiness.

Here’s why extrovert advice fails introverts:

Extroverts and introverts are different types of people.

There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert. You are not broken, and you don’t need to be fixed. Extroverts and introverts are just different types of people, and there is value in both ways of being. Trying to be something that you’re not is often a recipe for frustration and unhappiness.

Extrovert advice often doesn’t make sense for introverts.

Introverts often find extrovert advice confusing or frustrating because it doesn’t make sense for them. For example, an extrovert might tell an introvert to “just go up and talk to people,” but this doesn’t take into account the fact that introverts may not feel comfortable doing this. Similarly, an extrovert might say “you need to get out more,” but this ignores the fact that introverts may not want to get out more and prefer other activities such as reading or spending time with close friends.

Extrovert advice can make introverts feel like they’re not good enough.

Because our culture values extroversion, it’s easy for introverts to feel like they’re not good enough if they don’t meet extroverted standards. This can lead to low self-esteem and a feeling of inadequacy.

Extrovert advice can make Introverts feel isolated and alone . When you feel that you don’t fit into the world around you, it’s easy to feel isolated and alone . This can lead to feelings of depression and loneliness. Being an Introvert is a beautiful thing. It can be amazing to be an Introvert. You are perfectly normal , And there is nothing wrong with you. You are brilliant.

Here are some tips for introverts on how to be successful:

Know yourself and Know your strengths. Introverts are often good at things like listening, observing, and thinking things through before acting. Use these strengths to your advantage!

Figure out where you would like to improve. If you are shy, for example, you may want to focus on developing your networking skills as an introvert so that you can make connections without feeling overwhelmed by social situations. Learn from an introvert who has mastered networking with an introverted approach.

Find a balance. Recognize that you don’t have to be constantly on the go or always socializing in order to be successful. Find a balance that works for you between alone time and socializing.

Advocate for yourself. Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself and let others know what you need in order to be successful. Introverts often have great ideas, but they won’t do any good if you don’t share them!

Make a plan: Once you know where you want to focus your energies, it’s important to make a plan for how you’ll achieve your goals. This doesn’t have to be a rigid plan, but it should give you a general idea of what steps you need to take and when you need to take them.

Don’t compare yourself to others: It’s easy to look at successful people and feel like we can never measure up, but it’s important to remember that everyone has their own unique path to follow. You don’t have to do things the way someone else does in order to be successful.

Seek out support: If you’re feeling overwhelmed or like you’re not sure where to start, seek out support from friends, family, or professionals who can help you create a plan or offer guidance along the way.

And remember, there are many introvert authors and speakers that you can learn from.  You can learn from challenges they have overcome and successes they have experienced.  I will continue to have great guests on the podcast.Thank you so much for joining me.  I look forward to further connecting with you.  Reach out at david@quietandstrong.com. Or check out the quietandstrong.com website which includes blog posts and links to social media channels.  Send me topics or guests you would like to see on the show. If you’re interested in getting to know yourself better, there is now a Free Typefinder Personality Assessment on the Quiet and Strong website. This free assessment will give you a brief report including the 4-letter Myers-Briggs code. I will add a link in the show notes. 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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