It can feel like a serious disadvantage to be an introvert in an extrovert’s world, but there are many ways “quiet ones” outshine extroverts.
Speaking from personal experience, at times, it can seem like a severe disadvantage to be an introvert. Extroverts appear to have all the fun, and their gregarious, attention-seeking personalities often allow them to reap promotions, popularity, and recognition. Introverts, on the other hand, may get passed over and have their valuable work go unnoticed. Their preference for quiet observation can seem like a detriment to their success in this dog-eat-dog world.
Despite this, there are many areas in which introverts have a leg up on extroverts. Many of today’s most successful people are introverts, such as J.K. Rowling, Steven Spielberg, and even NBA legend Michael Jordan.
Not only do introverts have the ability to rival extroverts professionally, but in my opinion, they also possess a number of distinct advantages over them. Here are seven areas in which introverts tend to outshine their extroverted counterparts.
(Not sure what it means to be an introvert? Check out our complete definition and guide.)
7 Advantages Introverts Have Over Extroverts
1. Introverts are low-maintenance friends and colleagues.
While introverts may be judged for their lack of participation — in work meetings, in the classroom, and even around the family dinner table — they’ll hardly ever be accused of being obnoxious, needy, and disruptive. Because introverts value their space, both physically and energetically, they tend to respect the space of others. Most introverts are largely independent and not clingy, and they’re generally more inclined to be polite and considerate of the impact of their behavior on others. They tend to think before they speak, whereas extroverts may blurt the first things that come to mind.
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2. Introverts have creative, original minds.
While extroverts may adopt the values of the group and what is mainstream and popular — fitting in can be a social boon, after all — introverts tend to have their own preferences that are less influenced by whatever’s trending today on Instagram. They may even gravitate toward things that are obscure, unusual, or downright strange, like niche topics of interest.
Because they spend more of their time on their own, away from the large social places extroverts commonly occupy, introverts may be more apt to develop perspectives, ideas, and insights that are unorthodox and novel. Albert Einstein, the introverted theoretical-physicist, is a perfect example. He’s quoted as saying, “The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.”
3. Introverts are shrewd decision-makers and problem-solvers.
Because of the way they’re wired, introverts are predisposed to exercising caution and deliberating thoughtfully before making a decision — often completely on their own. This propensity for deliberation gives them a greater advantage when it comes to things like critical thinking and problem solving. As psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter writes, the constant motion of day-to-day life “prevents you from engaging in deep thought, which inhibits creativity and lessens productivity,” whereas the solitude that introverts seek “helps you work through problems more effectively.”
Because they spend more time reflecting and observing, introverts are also liable to accrue a deeper understanding of various aspects of life, including human behavior. This may contribute to greater judgment in business or penetrating insight as a psychologist… or at the very least, simply being a good judge of character.
Introverts like to take their time to reflect on and process a decision properly so they can choose the best course of action that they won’t later regret.
4. Introverts are usually better listeners.
The “quiet ones” really do tend to listen and consider the ideas and feelings of others. In conversation, they may take mental notes and focus intently on what the other person is trying to express — as opposed to simply waiting for their chance to speak. Because they process things deeply, introverts are naturally more receptive and interested in taking in information than divulging it. This is why people often confide in introverts, and why they are so good at keeping secrets. Because of their private nature, many introverts inherently understand how difficult it is to open up and trust people, so they may work even harder to be trustworthy themselves.
5. Introverts can focus deeply and block out distractions.
Since introverts give less attention to socializing than extroverts, that naturally leaves more time and attention to devote to other things. They have the ability to cloister themselves away from the rest of the world and bunker down to accomplish a task or objective. Provided there are no disruptions, they can deeply immerse themselves in solitary activities like research or writing for extended periods of time. Often, the temptations that compete for the extrovert’s attention hold no power over the introverted mind. Their ability to concentrate can make them experts in their chosen field of interest.
6. Introverts cultivate deep relationships with others.
Introverts prefer quality of relationships over quantity. Extroverts are more inclined to rack up a bounty of personal connections, but many of them will be casual in nature — they consider almost anyone a “friend.” Because of their limited social energy, introverts are more selective about who they allow into their world, so the relationships they do form will be cherished and nurtured. As Adam McHugh, author of Introverts in the Church, writes, “Introverts treasure the close relationships they have stretched so much to make.”
As a result of cultivating a smaller — but closer — social circle, introverts are better able at surrounding themselves with people who are trustworthy and loyal to them. Often, when you become good friends with an introvert, they will consider you a friend for life (even if the two of you go long periods not talking to each other).
7. Introverts are more independent and need less supervision.
Many extroverts insist on teamwork and being a team player, an attitude common to both modern corporate life and the classroom. Because introverts are more private, they’re inclined to cultivate a lifestyle that maximizes autonomy and self-sufficiency. Whenever possible, they prefer to work independently, and because of this tendency, they usually require less supervision and fewer “check ins” than extroverted employees or students. And of course, managers can usually trust them to carry out a task without being derailed or distracted by socializing. Many introverts loathe being dependent on others, and they feel empowered when they’re able to deal with challenges relying solely on their own merits.
What are some more advantages of being an introvert? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.