Introverts see social situations differently {Quote of the Week}

If you’re an introvert, you probably see social situations differently than extroverts. You may shudder at the thought of hanging out in large groups, going to big parties, or even making a telephone call. These activities can quickly drain you, because they’re taxing on your sensitive system. Yet for extroverts, these are opportunities to fulfill their social needs and get energized. Sophia Dembling, author of The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World, explains:

In some very essential ways, introverts and extroverts see things differently. The small talk that binds the world together is music to extroverts’ ears but a racket to introverts’. A big party might look like a thousand new friends to an extrovert, but like a waste of time (at best) to an introvert. The ring of a telephone might sound like an opportunity to an extrovert, but like an interruption to an introvert. An evening without plans is bliss to introverts but social failure to extroverts. Introverts might consider a cell phone a ball and chain, but it’s a lifeline for extroverts. Team-building exercises look like arcane torture to introverts, but they look like team-building exercises to extroverts. (I do, of course, speak broadly here. Not all parties look like hell to introverts, nor do all quiet evenings feel like social failure to extroverts.)

What do introverts prefer? Socializing in small groups, or even better, connecting one-on-one. In conversation, we like diving deep, exploring big ideas, and making authentic connections. It’s not that we don’t like socializing, it’s that we do it in a different way.

Jenn Granneman is the founder of IntrovertDear.com and the author of The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World. She also cohosts The Introvert, Dear Podcast and blogs for Psychology Today. For most of her life, Jenn felt weird, different, and out of place because of her quiet ways. She writes about introversion because she doesn’t want other introverts to feel the way she did.