6 Things Introverted Women Do Right

“Let’s go,” he says, taking my hand — more pulling than leading me along. My heels clip-clop on the damp sidewalk, the evening’s storm lingers. But the cool air hits my face, my back, my shoulders as we leave the packed theatre. It’s welcome. The sun has set, the rain has stopped, and I immediately feel free as we shed the crowd.

Months of heart and work and crossed fingers led me onto a stage in front of 500 or so people last week. And when I was done, I was done.

While my friends and my love wanted to raise their filled glasses — beer frothing, wine spilling — I wanted to go home. My husband usually knows when this is the case, but every once in awhile he hedges his bets and pushes — shoves? — me toward a way that’s not my own.

But {almost} four decades in, I know my introverted self well and after spending a short time at the party, fondly observing the cheers I had no desire to join in on, I went home. Where I spent the next four days — blissfully — recovering.

And absolutely everything was right — for me — about that introverted response. I love being an introvert, here are 6 reasons why.

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1. Introverts listen more than they talk. So they know — really know — how their people are doing. They understand what makes people tick, they connect the dots between vignettes that people share and thread them to create a roadmap of the people they love. What introverts are doing right here: In a time when we hide behind screens and share best-case-scenario versions of ourselves, truly seeing someone and wanting to understand their story is a gift.

2. Introverts know when they need to shut down and that’s exactly what they do. They understand self care and dive into it — no excuses, apologies, or no thank yous to be found. What introverts are doing right here: This world moves quickly, finding stillness within it is a skill.

city-streets

3. Introverts know how to be by themselves. They require alone time to refill their energy stores and get back to even, to the point where they have the ability to be with others. Loving people but being content without them is something that people spend their angsty 20s — and 30s, and maybe some of their 40s? — striving for. Unless they’re introverts. What introverts are doing right here: Introverts understand how to be alone without being lonely.

4. Introverts pick the people they surround themselves with carefully. Unsupportive, unkind, take more than they give are traits that that drain and introverts already deplete quickly. They know when to cut their losses with a relationship. Introverts aren’t hasty, but they do understand the “let go of the things — and people — that aren’t serving you” mantra well. What introverts are doing right here: Surrounding yourself with good people is both a lift and a gift that everyone deserves.

walking-trail

5. Introverts are sensitive to how others are feeling. My girl Lindsey Mead calls this being porous — feeling the sting of other people’s hurts. What introverts are doing right here: This world is so peppered with sadness, kids — and adults — being bullied, misunderstood, asked to be who they’re really not, that I have to believe that, while sometimes painful, tricky, and difficult, being sensitive to others is a positive.

6. Introverts do a lot of self talk. A lot of self talk. Their brains are constantly swirling with ideas and thoughts and opinions. And because they process better alone than with others, when they’re ready to share, their words aren’t careless. What introverts are doing right here: They only talk when they actually have something to say.

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Like most personality traits, there’s an introverted-extroverted spectrum that people fall on. How often you do these things — among others — compared with how often you do their opposites tells you whether you lean toward extroversion or introversion.

Either way, it’s so easy to beat yourself up for who and how and what you are, isn’t it?

For introverts, it’s questioning not always — ever? — being the last one at the party, or the first one for that matter, for choosing a book instead of an outing, mismatched jammies instead of a LBD, slippers instead of heels. For needing equal “off” time to balance “on” time.

But our puzzle pieces fit together with room for all of our positives and these are just 6 of the traits that I think introverts can go ahead and {proudly} claim.

Are you more introverted or extroverted? What trait do you love about being either one?

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Comments

  1. Galit,
    I relate to every single word of this (and did even before I saw your generous mention of me!). Yes, yes, and YES. Thank you for calling out what we’re doing right. In a world where I so often feel I’m doing a lot wrong, it’s really helpful to be reminded that some of these traits have benefits
    xox

    • It’s so much more worthwhile — but somehow ridiculously harder? — to focus on what we’re doing right, isn’t it?

      Thank you for your note and for being on Team Introversion with me. I’m always giddy knowing I’m by your side!

      xo

  2. I tend to talk too much and often over-share when I’m out–that’s my extroverted side and it is lacking in almost all social skills ;). But then I go home. Too many days without a break from socializing can shut me down from the inside. I make no apologies for hiding from the world every once in a while. I am not so secretly giddy that the internet (and social media) let’s those of us who need the quiet refueling time still stay in contact should we choose to. These are good times for introverts.

    • You make such a good point about being able to turn the social — media and in person — on and off as (literally) needed. This is a positive and a skill, too!

      And as for no apologies? Amen!

      Thanks for the note, you! love the dialogue, love the shoulder-to-shoulderness of it all!

    • Kelly! I could have written that exact comment. I am for sure chatty and seemingly very extroverted when I am with people. My husband is this way, too. But what happens next is the difference between the two of us. He wants to keep talking long into the night. I am DONE hours earlier. He actually sees me as introverted (cup gets depleted, not shy) and I see myself that way, too. Most people who only know me casually will not believe that for a second but it is true.

      And Kelly, I often talk too much when out and over-share and regret it–deeply–soon after.

      • And Galit! What a thought-provoking piece. I would have been a total wet noodle on the floor after LTYM if I had RUN the thing!

  3. It’s funny. Taking my extroverted daughter to the mall, alone, this weekend. Enjoying her stillness, walking hand in hand through the crowd, while I was free to grasp and enjoy the moment, is exactly what made me realize how introverted I am. I love the support of knowing who you are and finding the good in your traits. It is nice to find that calm in the storm, when you’re an introvert.

    • It is so all about that peace, isn’t it? Rejuvenating, necessary, important.

      Thank you for your note. I take *a lot* of comfort knowing that we tick the same way.

  4. I can very much relate to all of the points you make here. I feel that I tip ever so slightly to the introverted side of the spectrum. Alone time, periods of silence, self talk, and all of the others are all things that recharge me. I do feel that it is a spectrum, though, and that I don’t occupy a fixed point on it. I feel myself slide along it in either direction.

  5. I was nodding my head through this entire piece. This is me exactly. And in a world where extroverts are prized and introversion is sometimes looked at as something “less than”, these little reminders that we are doing it exactly right are so important. Thank you for this.

  6. Is there such thing as an introverted extrovert or an extroverted introvert because I think I may be one of those. I love people and hearing their stories and finding out what makes them tick but they also exhaust me.

  7. I love this. You’ve described how I feel exactly. I used to be an extrovert but over time and mental illness have become introverted. I feel comfort in alone time and after a gathering or outing really need time alone to process.
    Great piece.

  8. I’m very much an introvert and know that feeling exactly – of having gotten my fill and just ready for quiet alone time. Love this list. Introverts have so many beautiful gifts!

  9. I thank my introvert side daily for my ability to enjoy my own company :)

  10. I feel like this is the first time someone has actually effectively described ME! Wow.
    I know I was more extroverted when I was younger, but This…. this is definitely more me now. And you’re right — I don’t apology for it. I instinctively “get it”; even if I could never put it into words as you have.

  11. I am a major introvert and have a very hard time making the ‘party girl’ happen….until I have that one glass of red. I admit they call it liquid courage for a reason. Maybe wrong – but it’s how I cope. Otherwise it’s jammies and couch and my cat 24/7.

  12. I have social anxiety before any public event: Nervous that I won’t be what people expect. Or that they won’t remember that they’ve met me before. Six times. Or that I’ll say something wrong, hurtful, controversial without even knowing it (because I’d never do that on purpose).

    Still. In person, I am loud and talkative and friendly so everyone assumes I’m an extrovert.

    The truth? I have limited amounts of myself to share. I spill it all and then need to leave.
    Afterward, I replay my interactions, wondering if I was kind enough, witty enough, if I made a good impression.

    Then I remind myself to STOP BEING NARCISSISTIC. No one else is thinking about me.
    I’m not that big a deal – ha!

    But gosh it’s hard when you care so much. And I do care. So much. Until I can’t care anymore.

    If that makes sense.

  13. You know me. XO

  14. Wow. You have it and put it right there for us. Thank you so much for speaking these truths.

    I am just finding you and look forward to reading more.
    Thank you again!