Do Introverts Lie or Merely Withhold the Truth?

Let’s be clear! Neither introverts nor extroverts are devoid of the compulsion to tell a little white lie when it’s convenient.

We all tell lies by clouding the truth or withholding vital information when it suits our best interest.

And ask a group of people if and why they tell lies and the reasons run the gamut.

Psychologist Paul Ekman listed several reasons people lie, which included:

  • To obtain a reward not otherwise readily obtainable.
  • To win the admiration of others.
  • To get out of an awkward social situation.
  • To maintain privacy without notifying others of that intention.
  • To exercise power over others by controlling the information the target has.

I suspect that there is another motive not identified within Dr. Ekman’s list that applies specifically to introverts.

In this context, introverts are not lying or intentionally withholding information for nefarious reasons.

Introverts withhold information because they either under-communicate or merely fail to explain their intentions. Once they see the action of others and the perceived intent behind these actions, there is no need for further discussion.

Introverts are the least likely to go back and forth with someone over a plan of action.

Some years ago, a graduate school colleague of mine approached me about starting a private investigation firm.

He was a police investigator within a metropolitan police department and thought that my law enforcement background coupled with my business experience would make us a winning team.

I was all in for it.

Do Introverts Lie or Merely Withhold the Truth?

To get things started, I drafted a one-page business plan outlining the architecture of the company, as well as the necessary licensure needed.

As I was moving closer to our goals, my colleague stopped communicating based on some family matters that emerged.

I trekked on, opting to keep the plans on track until his situation improved.

However, he was not updating me about the status of his situation.

Perhaps it had become graver than originally anticipated.

Or maybe the idea of a private investigation company had grown cold.

Nevertheless, I was enthusiastic about the idea and had grown even more committed to its possibilities.

Some months passed and I ran into him at a local mall. We exchanged pleasantries but said nothing about the business venture.

By this time, I had gone through the state licensing mandate to become a licensed private investigator and had begun training under a former police sergeant who had opened his own private investigation company some years ago.

As time elapsed, I lost interest in the idea of spying on people, serving court notices, or completing background checks.

And I never told my colleague how far I had gotten in the process.

I wasn’t lying or withholding information, I was executing on a good idea that someone else brought to my attention. If individuals lack the will or fortitude to see it through, it wasn’t going to stop me.

When the other party does not have the same commitment, I have to go at it alone.

So, why didn’t I just communicate my thoughts to my colleague to see if he was still interested? Or assist in his family matter?

In this context, inquiring about his family status, and revealing my plans didn’t sound logical if he wasn’t on board.

I couldn’t feign interest if the only objective I had was pursuing the deal.

Either you are motivated to execute plans or you aren’t.

Introverts internalize what an imaginary conversation sounds like between parties and it generally comes down to the other party providing excuses for failing to act or providing superficial support from the sidelines.

In short, time, energy, and excuses can be saved if introverts merely execute their plans.

However, once the project is up and running due to the efforts of introverts, the partnering opportunity has passed.

If I started alone. Thrived alone. I’ll finish alone.

And I will not consult with absent parties.

Misconceptions about introverts

Introverts, particularly, strategic thinking ones are just as ambitious as extroverts, but move quietly and surreptitiously.

Success for introverts means something different than that of extroverts.

Introverts want success to have more time to themselves.

Extroverts want success to spend more time with others.

Because introverts spend an inordinate amount of time thinking, planning, and executing, strategies for implementing a good idea can be mapped out within a short period.

By the time an idea has been discussed, introverts have already mentally outlined the entire process from start to finish.

Interested parties may be invited, but they are not needed.

Introverted acts of betrayal

Moralists may suggest that not communicating intentions to concerned parties is an act of betrayal.

After all, if someone brings you an idea, aren’t you obligated to include them if you move forward with the idea? Or at least inform them of your intentions?

It depends on the relationship.

Because of the closeness of the relationship between family and friends, some notifications might be advised to maintain the relationship.

Although they are using your ingenuity and inventiveness to reap the benefits of your skills, the relationship is the impetus for them communicating the idea with you in the first place.

For loose-knit relationships, where a person wants to utilize your skills so that they can prosper, you are not obligated to reveal your intentions.

According to the U.S. Copyright Office, ideas are not legally protected. The U.S. Copyright Office said:

Copyright does not protect ideas, concepts, systems, or methods of doing something. You may express your ideas in writing or drawings and claim copyright in your description, but be aware that copyright will not protect the idea itself as revealed in your written or artistic work.

If you are serious about executing a viable idea, it is best to keep quiet until you have legally sealed the deal through a written partnership agreement. But any legal advice should be addressed by an attorney.

Author David DiSalvo said:

The truth, however, is that there’s nothing inherently virtuous about introversion, nothing predisposing this personality type (or any other) toward more ethical decision-making (para. 3).

DiSalvo outlined a study conducted by researchers from the University of Florida Warrington School of Business, which found that introverts were more likely to give unfavorable performance reviews to extroverts if they deemed extroverts unpleasant or overbearing. Whereas, extroverts were disinclined to judge individuals based on personality traits in similar evaluations.

In this vein, introverts don’t get mad, they get even.

Introverts can be as virtuous or villainous as extroverts. So, shyness and quietness do not mean moral high ground.

And this distinction is important.

Introverts are often taken for granted for their smartness and ability to get things done.

By throwing down the gauntlet and disallowing extroverts to take advantage of them, introverts suggest that using them to execute on a plan that extroverts may be too lazy or unwilling to do themselves is prohibited.

We can disagree on what is morally correct, but legalities rule the day.

Introverts are not more or fewer liars than extroverts. However, they may not communicate all of their actions.

If you want to be a member of a winning team, choose an introvert as an ally.

However, if you take your eye off of the ball, you do so at your peril.

—-Robert W. Hooks

References

DiSalvo, D. (2015, Feb. 10). Introverts lay ‘Corrective’ landmines for extrovert peers, says study. Forbes. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2015/02/10/introverts-lay-corrective-landmines-for-extrovert-peers-says-study.

Ekman, P. (n.d.). 9 motives for telling lies. Paul Ekman Group. Retrieved from: https://www.paulekman.com/blog/why-do-people-lie-motives.

What does copyright protect? (n.d.). U.S. Copyright Office. Retrieved from: https://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-protect.html.

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