Think about the last time you had an enjoyable conversation. How did you feel afterward? Maybe you felt like you’d just expended some mental effort, but was there a part of you that actually felt excited and energized? We often make the false assumption that all socializing is draining for an introvert, but in reality, some conversations actually energize us. Typically these discussions explore ideas and minimize small talk. In her book, Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength, Laurie Helgoe explains:
So, being an introvert does not mean you’re antisocial, asocial, socially inept, or shy. It does mean that you are oriented to ideas—whether those ideas involve you with people or not. It means that you prefer spacious interactions with fewer people. And it means that, when you converse, you are more interested in sharing thoughts than in talking about people and what they’re doing.
What seems like antisocial behavior is really just the introvert trying to avoid conversation that is draining:
In a conversation with someone sharing gossip, the introvert’s eyes glaze over and his brow furrows as he tries to comprehend how this conversation could interest anyone. This is not because the introvert is morally superior—he just doesn’t get it. As we’ve discussed, introverts are energized and excited by ideas. Simply talking about people, what they do and who they know, is noise for the introvert. He’ll be looking between the lines for some meaning, and this can be hard work! Before long, he’ll be looking for a way out of the conversation.
Talk to an introvert about big ideas, and maybe (just maybe), the introvert will become as animated and enthusiastic as an extrovert!
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