Summary: The world is full of extroverts and reflects their extroverted ways. This is hard on introverts. The Dos and Don’ts of working with an introverted child.
My daughter making a pet store in her room. But don't bother her while she's working on it. She'll let you know when it's done and then gladly give you a tour.
If you’re an introvert you’ve heard it all. Extroverts think you’re rude, arrogant and anti-social. They think if you just tried a bit harder you’d really love going to parties and engaging in hours of directionless conversation. They feel sorry for the way you isolate yourself. There’s clearly something wrong with you. Do you hate people? How could you be happy by yourself? Don’t you get bored just sitting in your room reading? Where’s the excitement?
Well this may come as a shock to most extroverts, but we introverts are just not that impressed with you. We also carry our own stereotypes. Your constant need for interaction and social validation comes across as shallow, desperate and needy. Your preference for small talk and your impatience with complex thoughts and feelings makes you look a bit dumb. Don’t you have any in depth opinions about anything? Do you ever reflect? Can’t you focus for two seconds and take a subject to its logical conclusion rather than just bailing as soon as it gets hard? Do actually have any close friends that you share a deep bond with or is everyone just interchangeable. Do you even care who you hang out with or will any warm body do? Do you have any standards at all?
Growing up that was my impression. Extroverts were like little puppies; spastic, needy, directionless and socially indiscriminate.
I know better now, but when you see someone constantly seeking social interaction and validation, when you see them just blab on and on about nothing, when you see them get bored when the conversation becomes more in depth and reflective in nature, it’s easy to dismiss an extrovert as being somewhat of an idiot.
Of course, they’re not idiots, it can just seem that way to an introvert. Especially when you’re young, reactionary and trapped in school.
Fortunately as you get older, you get wiser. You also have more control over your life. You tend to move away from the irritants and gravitate towards what makes you happy. So rather than slamming into each other and driving each other crazy, introverts and extroverts start socializing with each other.
Which brings me to my family.
My partner is introverted and shy but has good social skills. I am introverted but completely uninhibited and somewhat klutzy socially. My daughter is most definitely introverted and so far she she’s shy as well. Socially, unfortunately, she also seems to be a bit klutzy like her dad. I say unfortunately because accidentally offending people or confusing them by not reading or honoring social cues well is not an advantage in life. Fortunately, they are learnable through example and practice.
However, introversion is a character trait. You don’t grow out of it. It may lesson or increase overtime, but the basic predisposition will remain. It’s also unrelated to shyness, which often lessens through life. Introversion doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll also be shy. You can be both introverted and unabashedly confident. A confident introvert simply doesn’t care what you think about them, has no problem taking the lead when they feel it’s necessary, and is self-assured when dealing with other people. They just don’t require a high degree of social interaction to be happy like an extrovert. Continue reading