Introverts. They’re not always the loudest in the room, and that may be for good reason. It’s not that introverts are all shy—that’s a common misconception—it’s that introverts have a certain amount of social energy to give before they need to break free and recharge.
However, because introverts sometimes fade into the background, it may be tougher for them to make new friends or get considered first for promotions at work. Here are seven ways introverts can make an impact at home and work that doesn’t require them to change who they are…
Stop Comparing Yourself to Extroverts
We all have envisioned ourselves as the life of the party, the one that everyone gathers around as we effortlessly recount stories of our college shenanigans to great applause. While it’s okay to be that guy (or girl) who becomes the entertainment wherever they go, remember that there’s a lot to be thankful about when you’re an introvert.
For example, picture how it would be if you suddenly became famous—would you enjoy being in the spotlight all the time? Probably not, if you’re really an introvert. Accept that you are who you are, someone that may be seeing the bigger picture and reading between the lines better than those around you getting more attention.
Start a Blog
Introverts often like to have time alone to consider their thoughts and write them down, and today’s online world is a perfect forum. While extroverts are often heralded for “putting themselves out there,” introverts can also make a big impact—through social media.
Being reserved can actually help build some credibility, adds CopyBlogger.com. This is because in a world where people are trying to be the loudest to get noticed, introverts have an opportunity to observe and really listen. This can translate to writing that truly reflects the readership, and not just the writer, notes the source.
Tap Into Your Creativity
Introverts tend to spend a lot of time in their own heads, reflecting on what they’ve seen or heard. While this can be great for blog writing, as mentioned before, it can also unlock creativity in a number of different ways.
Lifehack.org states plainly that “introverts are more creative,” and it cites studies that prove they “are able to work on their creative projects more attentively.” The same source notes that introverts work well with others, which means you may not be in the driver’s seat for an artistic undertaking, but you’ll be able to contribute great ideas without drowning out others.
Lead by Example
Forbes magazine also points out that some of the best leaders in business actually value their alone time. These leaders range from Bill Gates, the king of Microsoft, to super-rich investors like Warren Buffett. But how, the Forbes article addresses, can quieter, more reserved people make great business heads?
The reasons are this: introverted leaders “think before they speak,” and actually consider what other people are saying. Introverts also tend to react in a calmer manner to a crisis, which can set the tone for how the employees react as well. Taking time to recharge can help these types of leaders envision multiple scenarios, so they are “responsive” rather than “reactive” according to the magazine.
Be Attentive to Love Interests
Introverts can come across as quiet and disinterested during a romantic encounter (a first date, for example), notes Buzzfeed. To counter this, you can be up front about being an introvert—perhaps your date is one too, and is trying to be what has been coined as a “pseudo extrovert” to fit in. It could set a more relaxed tone to make a connection.
The source also suggests asking questions of your date, such as what they like to read or where they’ve travelled. Return questions you’ve been asked by the other party as well, adds the source. However, keep in mind it’s not all about impressing them. “Remember that you’re looking to see if you are interested in them,” and not the other way around, notes the source.
Skip the Small Talk
When it comes to making new friends (or lovers), not being a big talker can sometimes lead people to think you’re not interesting or not interested in what they have to say. While we assume we have to “break the ice” to get things rolling with someone new, “assume there is no ice,” suggests AgileLeanLife.com.
The source opines that you don’t actually need to improve your small talk skills—you can get right to what you’d like to talk about. You don’t have to talk about the weather or the day’s headlines to break through, you can just simply acknowledge the other person, it adds. “All you have to do is say ‘hi’, and everything else will start following by itself. No need for fear, no need for an enormous amount of effort,” reads the site.
Be the Last Word of Reason
When it comes to company board meetings and presentations, introverts like to be the most prepared rather than “winging it”, according to Forbes magazine. While it’s good to have those “thinking on your feet” skills, having your ideas and thoughts lined up can also be a major advantage.
Forbes notes that preparing in advance can show the bosses that you’ve done your homework and care about the topic, as well as help you deliver your ideas in an organized fashion. This also puts introverts in a good position to sit back and consider the discussion, before weighing in with educated opinions.