Why we need introverts

10 Reasons You Need Us Introverts - Wit & Delight

Pretty much since the day I showed up for kindergarten, I’ve noticed that entire swaths of life seem to come easier to a certain type of people—and I wasn’t that type. Years later I learned what those people are called. Extroverts.

From the first bell of recess, extroverts had the advantage. They had the swings, they had the foursquare balls, and they had some sort of magical ability to tackle the chaotic playground scene with ease. As an adult, I understand the value of recess but, as a kid, I was often semi-traumatized and always drained by it (other than that fabulous stretch in third grade when two friends and I played Charlie’s Angels every day).

Let’s face it: Recess, the lunch room, the school bus, class discussions, and (God, help us) group projects are dominated by extroverts, and we introverts have always had to work a little harder to stay in the game. (Even when it’s not a game we particularly care to be in. )

I love extroverts.

This is not a bash against extroverts. Lord knows we need you. You get us out of our heads and help us to lighten up a bit. You break the ice when we’re frozen in silence. You lead our society in great and powerful ways. And you start the wave at the baseball stadium. We have great respect for you.

But if it’s been a while since you stopped to notice the gold mine of interpersonal value that introverts hold—or if you’ve been sitting right next to one and forgot to notice her—we need to talk. Because the thing about introverts is it’s easy to miss us. But when you do, you miss out on a lot.

WHAT ARE introvertS?

First, let’s get clear on what an introvert is—and isn’t. Unfortunately, the dictionary perpetuates unhelpful stereotypes. According to my handy online dictionary, the first definition of an introvert is “a shy person.” And “shy” means “bashful, easily frightened away; timid, suspicious; distrustful. ” I’m here to say that, sure, some introverts are some of those things some of the time. But most aren’t. And none of those things are the main point.

The biggest difference between an introvert and an extrovert is what energizes them (and what drains them).

Many introverts are highly social, verbal, and friendly but, eventually, interacting with other people will drain their energy and they’ll need to retreat to a quiet space to recharge. That’s because introverts get their energy from being alone. Extroverts, on the other hand, gain energy from social settings. They’re generally more assertive, loud, and energetic, and they’ll resist quiet time alone.

Thus, by their very nature, extroverts gravitate to the top of the hill at recess, to the front of the class discussion afterward, and, later, to the top of the agenda at the office meeting.

But the loudest voices are not always the brightest, and when they’re the only voices being heard, things can get really off balance.  

According to Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain (a favorite introvert of mine), one third to one half of the world is introverted. So, if we’re consistently leaving out introvert perspectives and contributions, we’re only about half as good as we could be together.

So here’s why you need us:

1. We listen.

Extroverts like to talk, introverts like to listen—in group settings especially. This means we often hear more of what’s happening. We catch things others miss. This makes us a great asset in meetings and an important addition to negotiations or any important discussion. Just don’t ask us for immediate feedback. We require time to process.

2. We see more and hear more than most.

It’s not just our silence that helps us listen. Most introverts have a heightened sensory awareness—so we literally see, hear, and feel things others don’t. We pick up on interesting details, and we value them. We are more easily moved by beauty, pain, and emotions. Some of us verge on empathic, picking up on intangible truths that others miss completely. This means introverts are often the artists, writers, philosophers, and counselors who help others discover the meaning and beauty in life—or the engineers and scientists who observe, improve, and reinvent life. Introverts make highly insightful colleagues and truly perceptive observers.

3. When we say something, we mean it.

Introverts don’t use words lightly. We are thoughtful and intentional. So, when we do speak up—especially in group settings or meetings—it’s usually worth your time to listen. In a world filled with an over-abundance of words, this can be a valuable and refreshing trait.

4. We’re focused and persistent.

If you’ve got a problem that needs solving, trust it to an introvert. Our favorite way to work is independently and, once we’re on a problem, we don’t give up easily. We are less distracted by new opportunities and possibilities. We can invest the time and energy required. And we can delay gratification in order to produce solid answers and quality results.

“It’s not that I’m so smart. It’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
– Albert Einstein, confirmed introvert

5. We make great friends.

An introvert’s ability to listen, desire for deep relationships, and natural persistence can produce strong, devoted friendships. We often make safe and trusted confidants. Introverts prefer one-on-one interactions vs. group interactions, and we’d rather have a few close friends than a large collection of acquaintances. If you’re looking for a friend who will truly hear you and value you, choose an introvert.

6. We value self-awareness.

Introverts place a high value on knowing and understanding ourselves. We notice our mistakes and reflect on how we can do better. This can make introverts great employees and partners—because we’re aware of our strengths and weaknesses, and we have a built-in drive to improve.

7. We’re careful.

This is one area where the dictionary definition is correct. Introverts tend to think more before taking action. We don’t rush to decisions. We are generally more averse to risk and more slow to warm up. These traits, when balanced with the extrovert’s bend toward risk-taking, can be an important balance for any group or society to have. Both risk and caution are needed to move us all forward productively.


We introverts spend a lot of time in our heads. We are deep thinkers, and our minds are constantly wondering, imagining, remembering, analyzing, planning, and dreaming. This gives us access to expansive creativity and vibrant insights that translate into innovative ideas, solutions, and inventions. When we share our thoughts, we can often provide a fresh, unique perspective that others had not seen. There is also evidence that quiet, independent thought breeds more creativity than group brainstorming sessions or loud collaborations. We introverts have known this all along. Give us some time alone and we’ll be far more creative and productive than we are adding random thoughts onto a conference room whiteboard.

“There is zero correlation between the gift of gab and good ideas.”
– Susan Cain

9. We’re quietly changing the world.

One of the most important things to know is introverts have no less intelligence, passion, or skills than extroverts—and, in some areas, we have more. So if you’re talking so loudly or moving so quickly that you forgot to stop, listen, and include the introverts in your life (or business), you’ve missed out. But be warned: Introverts don’t always sit around waiting for the chance to be heard. Often we just find a quieter, more compatible place to go and do our incredible things.

10.  We let you have your spotlight.

I mean, really. If the whole world was extroverts, you’d have a much harder time finding someone to sit back and let you take the stage. We introverts are happy to fill that role—but don’t forget: We can rock the spotlight too. We just don’t always want to.

Give us a minute.

Some people go for years thinking the quiet people around them must not have anything of value to say. And, yes, we introverts do need to speak a little louder at times. But when an extrovert-heavy group or an extrovert-focused institution (Hello, schools! And many offices!) can adjust just a bit to make room for the introverts, delightful surprises await.

If you really want to see us introverts shine, invite us to coffee. Sit still. Turn down the volume. Ask us for our input. Give us a challenging assignment—and the space to complete it. Give us a heads-up before the brainstorming session so we can come prepared with great ideas. Give us a minute to collect our thoughts. Because once we do, you’re in for a treat.

P.S. Hey, fellow introverts. Did I miss anything? Add your insights in the comments!

Image sources: 1/2/3

Julie Rybarczyk

Julie Rybarczyk is a freelance writer, fair-weather blogger, and empty-nester mama who’s living alone and liking it . She’s perpetually the chilliest person in Minneapolis—so most of the year you’ll find her under layers of wool, behind steaming cups of tea. Or on the socials at @shortsandlongs.

The Surprising Benefits of Being an Introvert

There are a lot of misconceptions about introverts — like that they’re antisocial, unfriendly, shy or lonely. But in many cases, being an introvert can actually be an asset.

Introverts are people who get their energy from spending time alone, according to Dr. Jennifer Kahnweiler, author of The Introverted Leader: Building on Your Quiet Strength. “It’s kind of like a battery they recharge,” she says. “And then they can go out into the world and connect really beautifully with people.”

A 2008 study published in the Journal of Motor Behavior found that introverts take a longer time to process information than extroverts. Kahnweiler says this is actually because they process more thoughtfully than extroverts do — they take extra time to understand ideas before moving on to new ones.

While we’re all often flooded with messages that we need to speak up and stand out in order to be successful, introverts can actually achieve even more if they hone their natural strengths, says Beth Buelow, author of The Introvert Entrepreneur: Amplify Your Strengths and Create Success on Your Own Terms.

“It’s not about becoming a fake extrovert,” Buelow says. “It’s really about acknowledging the valuable traits that introverts bring.”

Here are some of the benefits of being an introvert:

They’re good listeners

Introverts are naturally adept when it comes to actively listening, according to Buelow, who identifies as an introvert herself. “We tend to be the friend or colleague you can call on when you’re upset or you have good news to share,” she says. “We’re going to be able to listen and be with you in that, without turning it around and making it about us.”

Extroverted people are more inclined to jump into a conversation before fully processing what the other person has said. Not because they’re selfish or don’t care, but because they process information interactively, says Dr. Laurie Helgoe, author of Introvert Power: Why Your Hidden Life is Your Hidden Strength.

Conversely, introverts process information internally, Helgoe says. That skill allows them to hear, understand and provide carefully considered insight when they do respond.

They think before they speak

Because introverts typically feel less comfortable speaking than they do listening, they choose their words wisely, according to Buelow. “We only speak when we have something to say, so there is a higher chance that we will have an impact with our words,” she says.

That being said, introverts may take a little too long to formulate their thoughts before sharing them — especially in fast-paced business settings. To combat that tendency, Buelow suggests that introverts should go into meetings prepared to speak first, before there’s time to talk themselves out of it. “Break your own ice,” she says, advising introverts to share a piece of data or an opening remark for the top of the meeting. “Establish your presence early on before the conversation gets thicker and more competitive.”

The skill of choosing your words wisely is just as beneficial online as it is in person. Introverts are more effective on social media because they’re less prone to knee-jerk reactions than extroverts, says Kahnweiler.

“Some people are just throwing thoughts everywhere, randomly posting everything — not introverts,” she says. “There’s a strategy that they take.”

They’re observant

In addition to their superior listening skills, introverts possess what Buelow considers a “superpower”: their observation skills. “We notice things others might not notice because they’re talking and processing out loud,” she says. Although it may look like they’re just sitting quietly during a meeting, introverts are actually soaking in the information that’s being presented and thinking critically.

The typical introvert also uses his or her observant nature to read the room. They’re more likely to notice people’s body language and facial expressions, which makes them better at interpersonal communication, according to Kahnweiler.

Introverts are especially skilled at noticing introvert qualities in others, Kahnweiler says. They can tell when a person is thinking, processing and observing, and then give them the space to do so, which makes people feel much more comfortable, according to Kahnweiler. “They allow time to really connect with people,” she says.

They make quality friends

Since introverts can feel their energy being drained by being around other people — as opposed to extroverts, who gain energy from being with others— introverts choose their friends wisely. They would rather have a few close, trusted friendships to invest their time and energy in, as opposed to a large network of acquaintances, according to Buelow.

“Introverts are pretty picky about who we bring into our lives,” Buelow says. “It requires some energy, and if you do come into our inner circle, that means a lot.”

This quality causes introverts to be loyal, attentive and committed friends, says Buelow.

They make loving romantic partners

Introverts crave personal space to reflect and refuel, and they can sense when their partners need space, too. “Because we have this need for our own privacy, we give that to others as well,” says Buelow. “We won’t be super clingy or high maintenance in relationships.”

And the same qualities that make introverts great listeners also make them great partners, according to Kahnweiler. At the end of a long day, they’re there to listen and support their partner without feeling compelled to talk about themselves.

Introverts also like to get to know someone before sharing intimate details with a prospective partner, and it can make them appear more appealing in the early stages of relationships.

“There can be something attractive about the mystery factor of introverts,” says Helgoe. “That can inspire curiosity and wanting to know the person better.”

They’re thoughtful networkers

Being in a large group where the goal is to meet, talk and make a good first impression can be overwhelming for many — especially for introverts. But Buelow says they can use their natural strengths to create meaningful connections. Extroverts may approach networking events with the goal of talking to as many people as possible, but often, those quick conversations don’t leave lasting impacts, says Buelow.

But Buelow says the strength in networking is not necessarily in numbers. Introverts, she says, should focus on learning about people they meet — even if they only connect with a handful of people.

“I try to make meaningful connections with a couple of people that I can follow up with in some way,” says Buelow. After an event, she’ll send links to articles or speeches that made her think of the person she spoke to. This type of active listening and follow-up can be a lot more beneficial than simply handing out 50 business cards, she says.

They’re compassionate leaders

Helgoe says introverts can make the best leaders — when they channel their natural strengths. For starters, they don’t feel the need to step into the spotlight and take all of the credit for group successes; rather, they are likely to highlight the strengths of their teams, according to Helgoe.

“An extroverted leader may be noticeable, but you may see the leader before you see the team,” Helgoe says. And employees who feel recognized tend to be more motivated, she says.

And since introverts process information more slowly and thoughtfully than their extroverted counterparts, introverted leaders tend to learn more about their subordinates, according to Kahnweiler. They have focused conversations with their team members in order to learn their skills, passions and strengths, according to Kahnweiler. Once they gather all of this information, they can use what they’ve learned to help each team member be more efficient and happier at work.

“People will talk about their favorite managers and they’ll say, ‘They were with me,’” Kahnweiler says. “‘Even if there were more pressing things, I felt like I had their attention. I had their ear.’”

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7 reasons to fall in love with an introvert


Man and womanMan among people


In a world with a fast pace of life and a high degree of social activity, introverts look something unnatural. We misunderstand and underestimate them. It seems to us that an introvert is a reserved and shy person. This is not true.

An introvert really doesn't like wasting energy on superficial conversations and fleeting connections. This does not mean that he has nothing to say. On the contrary, he can tell a lot, but prefers to talk only about what is important.

It's not boring. If he lets you into the soul, you will find yourself in a world that you did not suspect. If he falls in love, the experience will be unforgettable. So, introverts…

1. Know themselves well

They live a rich inner life. They spend a lot of time in the labyrinths of the inner world and get to know themselves deeply. Introspection is a close friend of the introvert.

Such people get to know themselves and find out what their essence is, analyze why they have become the way they are. Thanks to all this, they understand others well. When it comes time to get to know your soulmate, they spare no effort, trying to get to know you and understand you as deeply as possible.

2. Strive for intimacy

Introverts want you to show your true self without shame or embarrassment. They do not accept empty talk and superficial relationships. They want to know what calms you down, what prevents you from falling asleep, where the scar on your knee comes from. What do you hope for, what do you dream about, what are you afraid of, and where did you get these desires, hopes and fears.

3. Constantly watching

They are often quiet, it's true. But when this happens, they observe your actions, mark every word, remember in detail every conversation and moment spent with you.

4. Hear and understand you

When this person gets to know your true self, he does so with attention and understanding. They have developed intuition. They pick up on your emotions and adjust to them without judgment.

5. Attached to a partner

They are selective in relationships, wisely choose loved ones. If an introvert has decided to be with you, he has thought and weighed this decision. This means that next to you he is calm and comfortable. He feels that he can trust you and be himself. You are a special and unique person. He will take care of you and never stop appreciating you.

6. Do not scatter words

Such people are laconic with those they do not know well, they cannot stand small talk. But if they feel comfortable with you, they open up completely. If they want to say something, then it is important.

When an introvert opens up to you, it is a sign of trust and affection. These people do not bare their souls in front of the first comer. When you open up in return, they appreciate the move. If he loves, he loves with all his heart.

Introverts respect your life outside of relationships and value your independence. They know that your world is not limited to them. They also want you to be yourself. They will not force you to choose between love and friendship, family, goals, hobbies and career.

7. Respect personal space

They need to spend time alone to relax, gain strength and clear their heads. When you need to do the same, they will understand your desires and respect them. They won't take your need for solitude as an insult.

Introverts have a developed imagination, many of them are creative people. They make thinkers, writers and artists. Unexplored worlds live inside, oceans rage in their hearts. They are one of the most passionate, understanding and caring lovers.

Shopping bag "Introvert"

We have already learned the advantages of relationships with introverts, it remains only to figure out how to let potential partners know that we belong to this category. For this purpose, a fashionable shopper bag is perfect, which will send a signal to others, and at the same time decorate our image.

Advertising. OOO "Yandex"

Text: Zhanna Omelianenko Photo source: Unsplash

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Why is the world divided into extroverts and introverts?

  • Tom Stafford
  • BBC Future

Image copyright Thinkstock

Why do some people constantly need adventure and the company of others, while others prefer to spend time alone? Scientists believe it's all about how our brains process social rewards.

What's your ideal Saturday night - in a crowded bar or curled up on the couch with a good book? Is the best vacation for you an active leisure in a large company of acquaintances or a relaxing holiday with one or two close friends? Your answer to these questions may be unequivocal (you always choose one of these options and never the other), or your tastes may fluctuate between the two extremes from time to time. One way or another, but your choice primarily depends on how your brain reacts to social rewards.

Pure extroverts and introverts almost do not exist: on the scale between the two extremes, each of us occupies a certain place, and various life circumstances force us to change a little in one direction or another.

It seems that extraverts (this term was popularized by the famous psychoanalyst Carl Jung at the beginning of the 20th century) dominate our world, perhaps because there really are more of them, or because they simply create a lot of noise around themselves.

This fact is so undeniable that there have been many articles lately on how to take care of introverts and how to help develop their special talents.

Image copyright Thinkstock

Image caption,

Are there really more extroverts or are they just too noisy?

Nevertheless, the most important question remains unclear - why does a person become an extrovert or an introvert? Do they differ on a physiological level? And why do we all, to one degree or another, belong to one of the two types? MRI scans of the brain, during which the activity of various regions is recorded, and the creation of a person's genetic profile by analyzing the signaling systems of brain cells, today allow us to find answers to questions that have long been of concern to psychologists.

In the 1960s, psychologist Hans Eysenck theorized that extroverts have a low response rate to a stimulus. Arousal in a physiological sense refers to the degree of readiness of our body and brain to respond to stimulation.

During the day (for example, when we just woke up and after drinking a few cups of coffee) and in different circumstances (cycling during rush hour greatly increases attention, while the monotonous voice of a lecturer in a warm auditorium calms and makes drowsy) this indicator varies.

Image copyright, Thinkstock

Image caption,

The biological structure of the brain determines our character traits

Hans Eysenck suggested that extroverts have a low level of reaction to the pathogen. As a result, they need to put in a little more effort to reach the level that is normal for other people. Hence the constant need of extroverts for company, new experiences, and unusual or risky experiences. Conversely, people who are highly introverted perceive things that others find only pleasantly exciting or interesting as particularly stimulating. That is why they need quiet conversations on important topics, leisure time alone and an environment without surprises.

Recently, this theory has been refined. Scientists have found that the extraverted personality type depends on the production of dopamine - a chemical responsible for the processes of reward, learning and response to novelty in the human brain.

Perhaps extroverts differ from introverts in the activity of the neurotransmitter dopamine? This could explain the behavior of extroverts by relating it to brain function, about which we already know a lot.

image copyrightThinkstock

Photo caption,

Introverts perceive things that others find only pleasantly exciting or interesting, especially stimulating, so they prefer quiet activities

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A group of researchers led by Michael Cohen, who is now at the University of Amsterdam, tested this hypothesis and published the results of their study in 2005. An experiment was conducted in which participants gambled during a brain scan.

Prior to the scan, each participant completed a personality questionnaire and submitted an oral swab for genetic analysis. Analysis of MRI data showed differences in brain activity between extroverts and introverts.

When participants won, the extrovert group showed stronger responses in two critical areas of the brain: the cerebellum and the pleasure center. The findings support the theory that extraverts and introverts process reward stimuli differently.

When the researchers analyzed the participants' genetic profiles, they found another reward-related difference in brain activity. Those participants in the experiment who had a gene that increases the sensitivity of the dopamine system also showed a more emotional reaction to the win.

The results of the experiment provide an answer to the question why we treat different types of personality.

Learn more