Thanks to Susan Cain and her brilliant book Quiet we introverts no longer need to feel alone, and we no longer need to hide. It is OK to be an introvert, and almost half of us are. When you think about life coaches an introvert might not be the kind of person that comes to mind. But here I am, out and proud: I am an introverted coach. Most of my coaching clients are introverts too.
If you are unsure then see if you identify with these 5 signs you may be an introvert:
- You are content in your own company. You do not need others around you all the time, and in fact feel perfectly relaxed and occasionally even more at ease on your own. This doesn’t mean you are anti-social: we have plenty of friends. But when on our own we are not bored, and we enjoy our own company and thoughts.
- You like to observe. At parties we may stand on the side-lines and watch everyone else enjoy themselves. We like to sit in cafés or parks and people watch. We do not want to be the centre of attention, but we are great at letting others be the centre of attention. We are not big speakers, perhaps, but we use the time we are in our own company or listening to others to observe. As a result our attention to detail is second to none. We notice body language, tone of voice, external changes such as decorations.
- You are a good listener. Listening is one of the many things we are awesome at. We like talking too, don’t worry, and we do have plenty to say. But we are great at listening to others (although expecting us to make small talk is a bit much to ask!
4.You don’t like big events. We are not anti-social, contrary to popular opinion. But we prefer quiet, more intimate events such as dinners among friends to loud parties. If there are too many people, too much noise, too many distractions we kind of shut down. Being expected to dance, take part in party games, or go to a show with audience participation? Big no-nos. When I was a child and other kids would shout “Pick me! Pick me!” at an event with a clown, I was trying to shrink back and be invisible. After being at a big event we like to retreat to a calm space.
5. You don’t rush. Introverts usually prefer not be rushed. We prefer not to multi-task, and don’t like having plenty of things on the go. Like big events, too much going on is overwhelming. We take our time to listen, and answer. In fact writing is great medium for us as we can type, edit, re-write, think about what we want to say and get our message clear. We are not one of those people who thrive on doing things last minute and claim to love stress.
As with everything there is so much more to it. If you think you too identify with being an introvert I really recommend you watch Susan Cain’s TED talk on the subject – I guarantee you will be nodding along with it, recognising yourself again and again.