On many online discussion forums, questions often arise about introverts’ communication and interaction skills.
These questions often come from introverts requesting responses for:
How do introverts engage in small talk?
How can introverts overcome their introversion?
How do introverts attain the social skills necessary to get along with coworkers?
Such questions reflect introspection and concern by introverts.
And closer scrutiny reveals a profound desire for introverts to reconcile themselves with extroverts.
From this reasoning, it is logical to inquire whether introverts need to be fixed.
“Fixed” is a code word for acquiring the necessary skills to fit into a society dominated by extroverts.
Fixed would also imply that introverts are broken or dysfunctional.
Ultimately, introverts don’t need to be fixed but should align their personality and perspectives with revising scripts written by extroverts.
In politics, candidates often win when candidates create the narrative for their opponents.
Introverts must assert themselves in determining the direction and values of society or be reduced to the lackluster intellectualism of shortsighted extroverts.
Many extroverted commentators believe they are helping introverts fit into society by giving unsolicited advice.
These extroverts view introversion as a disease to overcome.
SmallBusinessify.com, a business development website, listed the benefits of overcoming introversion, which include:
- Capable of forming associations with people in less time.
- You will be able to lead a team of people.
- Communication with people becomes easy and clear.
- Feeling comfortable in social settings.
- Helps to improve your social strength.
- Easily share your thoughts, feelings, and ideas.
Such advice can be insulting, although well-intended.
Indeed, advanced social skills that assist introverts in communicating and getting along better are valuable. But so also are active listening and self-reflective skills helpful for extroverts to exercise civility and comportment.
SmallBusinessify.com’s benefits for overcoming introversion underestimate the value of introversion.
Blogger, podcaster, and teacher Bo Miller in his article, “Why People Underestimate Introverts and What to Do About It,” said:
Another reason introverts get overlooked is that they do their best work in their heads. They’re thinkers. Whereas extroverts typically act, think, and then act, introverts think, act, and then think. This means that extroverts engage in twice as much observable activity, which puts introverts at a disadvantage when it comes to getting noticed.
Cindy Wahler, a leadership consultant, specializing in executive coaching and talent management, said:
…Introverts have always been advised they require greater energy: greater energy to connect, to paint their vision, to communicate their ask, and to sell their strategic plan.
Greater energy suggests introverts have a deficit. There is an inherent bias that there is something wrong with how we tell our story or convince others of the merit of our ideas….
The takeaway from Miller and Wahler’s assessments is that introverts are overlooked and underestimated because introversion is viewed as a sign of weakness by the dominant culture.
If introverts are to succeed under the weight of narrow-mindedness, they will have to become more strategic to reverse the narrative lodged against them.
There are five ways introverts can get away from needing to be fixed by:
Becoming more action-oriented.
If Bo Millers’ assessment is correct that extroverts outperform introverts, then introverts need to work harder.
To win any war, introverts must use extensive reading and research to synthesize information. Working harder means producing intellectual property that tips the scale of academic progress. If extroverts reign through self-promotion and marketing, introverts will have to build practical products that solve critical problems.
Using social media to become a one-person marketing machine.
When introverts lead with ideas, they can change minds and perspectives because they are not the focal point. Unlike extroverts who use social media to become celebrities, introverts should use social media to showcase their ideas. In many instances, introverts can use pseudonyms and stock photos to ensure anonymity.
Extroverted celebrities are often criticized for their presentation and appearances, which can be emotionally debilitating. If anonymous introverts are criticized for their ideas, they can merely strengthen their case with more data and research. Facts win in the end.
Networking and aligning with like-minded introverts.
For introverts, networking is different. Instead of small talk at cocktail mixers, introverts can use emails, texts, and blog commentaries to communicate with each other.
A battle for the minds of the disheartened should be fought under the radar and off the grid. To fight in another way is antithetical to introverts’ strengths.
Playing within your comfort zone.
This sounds contrary to the notion of getting out of your comfort zone or thinking out of the box, which is an extroverted construct.
Introverts create innovation in the field of ideas. The new media that extroverts enjoy so much are inventions from the minds of introverts.
Introverts should not surrender to activities enjoyed by extroverts. They should carve out domains based on their interests.
If introverts seek self-improvement advice on discussion forums to excel, that is great. However, if they are looking for ways to join the extroversion club for approval, they are working against themselves.
Don’t accept the notion, “If you can’t beat them, join them.”
Reinvent this saying to suggest, “If I can’t run it, I’ll recreate it.”
The world only respects power and influence.
Ultimately, Introverts must change the game and the narrative by becoming forces to reckon with.
Introverts needn’t be fixed; they need to become fixated on winning.
Winning changes everything.
How to overcome being an introvert. (n.d.). SmallBusinessify.com. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3bUVeTy.
Miller, B. (n.d.). Why people underestimate introverts and what to do about it. I Speak People. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3Qh4wIp.
Wahler, C. (2018, Oct. 31). Why you should never underestimate the power of an introvert. Forbes. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3pjsV46.