You probably already have this quality and don’t even realize it’s your best asset.
Growing up as an introvert, I remember often wanting to be what I wasn’t. I looked to the same role models as my classmates, such as popular musicians, professional athletes, and the charismatic “alpha male” men in my community. I put extraordinary effort into attempting perfect musical performances, speeches, or athletic feats.
While I was berating myself for not being able to socially approach and charm others – especially members of the opposite sex – I ignored or overlooked some of my best qualities. I judged myself based on a distorted lens of reality that placed qualities I was weaker at in the forefront of what mattered rather than recognizing my strengths (as well as my weaknesses).
Perhaps this happens often to introverts, since we live in cultures that more often promote extroverted values, cultures where most people aren’t like us, and where being “normal” means conforming to something very different than what is normal for us.
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Learning to Embrace My Best Introvert Qualities Instead of What Others Expect Me to Be
This was my experience. But when I looked more closely at myself and stopped judging myself based on the values of mainstream society, I realized that I didn’t need to be a flawless performer, an impressive athlete, or a charming socialite to have something worth offering to others. I could work on my own strengths instead of wanting to be what I thought others expected me to be.
In this article, I’d like to highlight some qualities of introverts that may be overlooked, even by ourselves, but may actually be our best qualities. And if we develop them, we can contribute more meaningfully to our families, jobs, communities, you name it. Some of these could apply to multiple Myers-Briggs personality types, so I hope you find at least one that is meaningful to you.
The Best Quality of Each Introverted Myers-Briggs Type
INTJ: Learning new concepts
INTJs tend to be drawn to abstract ideas and systems. As an INTJ child, it was difficult for me to understand social cues in my environment. I didn’t catch onto jokes or language conventions. I didn’t even know how to signal to a teammate to pass the ball to me in basketball games.
But when it came to schoolwork, I excelled. I found my speciality in remembering information, putting it together in a coherent framework, and coming to insights about it. (Deep work is an introvert’s strength, after all.)
I often took this ability for granted. What was special, after all, about remembering information we learned in class when I really wanted to be picked first (or at all) for a kickball team or have girls want to converse with me for a purpose other than asking about the homework? But, through the years, I’ve come to appreciate that I have a talent for logic: for learning new concepts and putting ideas into conceptual frameworks. I love learning new abstract ideas, and can talk for hours about concepts I’m coming to understand.
By following my natural passion for learning, I’ve come to understand myself better — I appreciate my ability to integrate diverse ideas into a coherent framework or take the best pieces of many theories to combine into one.
INFJ: Embracing your sensitivity
INFJs are known for empathy, intuition, and interpersonal insight. You might find yourself feeling anxious around conflict or recognizing the precursors to negative situations while others nearby seem oblivious. Others might tell you that you’re too sensitive, and you might wish that you could ignore others’ feelings and just speak your mind or be confident without worrying how it will affect other people. After all, they seem to be fine doing it, so what’s wrong with you?
Instead of being a weakness, this sensitivity can be a great strength. On your quest for discovering your best quality, perhaps you could start by looking at insight in social situations. Sensing conflict early can help you better resolve it. Getting a sense of others’ feelings can help you create a harmonious environment wherever you are. And sensitivity to their feelings can give you the ability to deeply connect with others and find their underlying emotional needs. You can develop the ability to find compromises between those around you, as well as help others advocate for themselves and their own needs when they may not have even realized what they were. In turn, this can help you learn more about who you are and what you need, as well as set the healthy boundaries that you need to thrive.
INTP: Letting go of inhibitions
INTPs tend to be quirky, eccentric, and full of new ideas. On your path of self-discovery, it could be helpful to smile at yourself in the mirror and embrace your quirky nature. I’ve known INTPs over the years who tried hard to conform, be conventional, and do what they thought other people expected of them. This resulted in struggle, disappointment, or rejection. They blossomed when they let go of their inhibitions and acted authentically, like their true selves.
Consider your eccentricity from the mainstream not as a curse to overcome, but a gift. Instead of thinking of your ideas as weird, think of them as original. You may discover that you have a divergent perspective on important issues that others could benefit from. Or it could just be that trying things differently could help you find meaning in life that you couldn’t find otherwise.
INFP: Letting your morals guide you
INFPs tend to be gentle and quiet, yet they have strong preferences and values. You might find yourself gravitating toward a few favorite people, books, interests, or places. People might see this as being too picky — after all, it’s probably not easy to get you the right gifts for birthdays or holidays.
But this strong sense of your values can also provide powerful moral insight. You may become highly attuned to what feels right and wrong in a situation. Maybe you know how to include someone who’s left out or can highlight a principle or practice that is remarkably beautiful. You can aesthetically appreciate the abstract, and find seemingly everyday things — gestures, places, even clothes or flowers — that express your highest ideals.
Consider this not as being too picky, but eclectic: being able to find what you individually prefer, discovering your own unique style, and finding pieces of your authentic self in a variety of places. You might also be able to better avoid going along with the crowd, since you have a strong sense of your own morality, and keep those around you grounded in true principles when they’re tempted to jump on an ill-conceived bandwagon.
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ISTJ: Being highly organized
ISTJs tend to be interested in history and have excellent memories. You may find that you like things to be orderly, planned, and accounted for, and that you aren’t as comfortable with spontaneity and surprises. Others may tell you to lighten up, to “go with the flow,” or be less uptight. These can all be helpful in rounding out the way you approach life, but they can also prevent you from seeing that your need for order can be a gift.
If you are someone who likes things to be orderly, then that often means structuring schedules, systems, operations, or processes energizes you. This is a skill that can benefit families, workplaces, and your own personal life as you plan out and achieve your goals.
You may be more likely to remember facts about people that you can categorize in a list, like birthdays or other important life events, and to connect concrete information between people, like someone’s phone number or mailing address. While your more spontaneous and carefree friends and family members might not notice it, your orderliness and factual memory can help you accomplish things and be a stable, dependable person. Someday, they may even realize how much they rely upon you.
ISFJ: Being approachable, the person anyone can talk to
ISFJs are known for being friendly and unassuming. You might find yourself more interested in working behind-the-scenes and playing supporting roles in your family or organization rather than seeking the limelight or making publicly noticeable contributions. In fact, you may be content to stay in the background, doing little things here and there. This can make you feel like you’re not very important, that other people are the ones doing the “important” work.
But this can obscure the true gift of being someone who doesn’t like being recognized: Not wanting to compete with others can put you in the position of being someone that anyone can talk to, anytime, about anything. You can be the friend that people come to when they have a bad day who can empathize without judgment. You can be the parent who gives unconditional love and support to your children without even knowing you’re doing it.
We all need caring, supportive, nonjudgmental people in our lives who just want to help and not take the credit. Realize that if that’s you, then you are a valuable and beloved part of somebody’s life.
ISTP: Working well alone
ISTPs are known for being quiet, calm, and good with their hands. You might be interested in tinkering with machines, taking on building projects, or figuring out the solution to a puzzle. What’s common with most of these interests is that they are typically solitary; you may prefer to work alone or only with people you know well. It can be difficult not to feel inadequate when you sense that others expect you to be gregarious, to get to know new people in new situations, or to work on a team.
But working alone has its benefits, and they can be easily overlooked if we’re always comparing ourselves to others. Many workplaces have adopted team-centric mindsets and expect participation in the collaborative process to accomplish goals. But when we step outside of these paradigms, we can realize that working alone can generate its own kind of creativity, the originality of personal ideas rather than the consensus of current trends.
And working alone also engenders an attitude of self-reliance and responsibility vs. relying on others to get things done. It’s good to learn how to be collaborative, but don’t forget the value of working by yourself.
ISFP: Being a good listener
ISFPs tend to have a strong sense of aesthetic beauty and enjoy new experiences — you may want to stand back and observe rather than participate in the activities around you. In school, work, or family settings, your associates may find you too quiet or reserved, or too unwilling to spontaneously express yourself. You may feel that you need to be more forthright in order to be noticed.
However, being quiet and focused can be a hidden strength. When others talk, you might be more likely to listen deeply than to try to take over the conversation. You might also be more able to deeply see the other person and find the beauty that is inside them.
Your inner sense of beauty and natural reservedness could also inspire you to create personal, original creative works, such as art or music. (Side note: Many musical artists are introverts!) The key to unlocking your potential might be to accept that you’re quiet and be happy that your energies take you inward rather than outward, not toward shallow external expressions; rather, toward deep understanding.
If you want to read my novels with introvert protagonists, check out the Kaybree versus the Angels series on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more.
You might like:
- 7 Strengths Introverts Should Recognize in Themselves
- What Each Introverted Myers-Briggs Personality Type Is Lying About
- These Are the Ideal Careers for Each Introverted Myers-Briggs Type
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