Looking Beyond That Outer Layer Can Reap Rewards

Does yours or someone else’s introversion baffle you? As extroversion can be seen as more socially ‘normal’ (whatever that means!), sometimes more introverted behaviours can confuse people who don’t think in the same way. If you’re used to wearing your heart on your sleeve and expressing your emotions as you experience them, you might find it hard to work or spend time with someone who has a much more introverted personality. You can find them hard to read and not understand their more closed off approach to things. Understanding someone’s personality type and looking beyond that outer layer can reap rewards.


Personality Types and Confidence Levels

Introversion and extroversion; they’re just different. Behaviours across the personality types can vary greatly and we’re not just one thing or the other. I like to deliver presentations and training, and access a more extroverted energy to do that but 80% of my time is spent working from home without the radio on, in my wonderful introverted bubble. The silence is blissful and it helps me to think ? Others would find that nightmarish! I remember one networking colleague who said ‘Sky Sports goes on, that’s the first thing I do if I’m working from home!’ and I would find that nightmarish!! It’s just different.

Unless you live and work in a lighthouse, you will come into contact with other people as part of your daily life and particularly over the festive period. By recognising some of the traits of introversion and extroversion you can understand other people’s behaviour and make decisions on how best to approach them. Sometimes we choose to have people in our lives that are like us as we feel comfortable with like-minded people who find their energy in the same way as we do. Other times we can choose to spend time with people who have a different personality type to us as we can see how their energy supports our own. Christmas is one of those times when we may well be brought together with people we wouldn’t typically connect and spend time with, so an understanding of personality types and confidence levels is useful.

A more introverted person is:

  • Energised by their inner world
  • Inward
  • Quiet
  • Thinks and may act
  • Values a depth of experience
  • Thinks to speak

A more extroverted person is:

  • Energised by the outer world
  • Outgoing
  • Talkative
  • Acts first, thinks later
  • Values a breadth of experience
  • Speaks to think

It’s not wrong, it’s just different.


Layers Upon Layers

As unique and delightful individuals we are all made up of different layers of who we are; our personality type, our life experiences and our levels of confidence, amongst other things. There is no one like you in the whole rest of the world which is amazing ? But it also means that other people might struggle to understand you sometimes. Introversion and shyness are not the same thing but they do get bundled in together unfortunately ☹ Equally, extroversion and confidence are not the same thing either but people often assume that more extroverted people are confident. But that’s not the case, not always. Just because a person looks to be outgoing, it doesn’t mean that they are full of confidence and self-belief. So look a bit deeper, see beyond the surface layer and you might feel more of a connection with the true individual you find beneath that apparent shy or outgoing exterior.


Look Beyond That Outer Layer

Anyway! To get back to reading introverts, it really is quite easy. You have to ask them, because if you don’t do that, they won’t tell you anything, they won’t tell you how they are. You might assume, at a party over Christmas for instance that someone is aloof and distant, or wants to be anywhere else but there. They might actually be quite happy to be there but as you’re looking at their thinking face (because there will be a conversation going on in their head for sure) you have no way of knowing that. A confident introvert will stand on their own in a social environment quite happily, whereas a shy introvert might look more anxious and nervous. An introvert might look stand off-ish but they might just be struggling to find the energy to engage and you could help them with that by introducing yourself and asking them a question. Introverts are not fans of small talk and while you have to start with that, you can move onto different things quite quickly. Introverts prefer a depth of conversation and like to be able to make sense of things so you might find them asking lots of questions to understand the thing you’re talking about, which can seem quite intense sometimes but it is just typical introvert behaviour.

Do we need to rescue extroverts at a party? I think sometimes we do and again, that can be about looking beyond that outer layer of apparent confidence and extrovert behaviour. We all need a rest and sometimes people can get stuck in an outgoing, bon viveur role and need help to move into a quieter environment. A less confident extrovert might play the fool because that role works for them but it doesn’t mean they have the energy to stay in that role the whole time. Appearing to be more confident than we are takes a huge amount of energy. If you’re with people who know you well, love and like you then you can be yourself most of the time but work and family events at Christmas can require us to dial up on our usual energy and confidence levels, and the repeated need for that, along with eating and drinking more than we normally would (yum yum!) can take its toll, mentally and physically.

So if you’re at a festive event or with extended family over Christmas, look beyond the surface layer if someone is behaving in a way that you find confusing. It’s just a different way to yours and if you make the first move you might end up getting to know someone much better than if you’d left them standing across the room, looking like they’d rather be anywhere but there, which may or may not be true. They might just be struggling to access a different energy and help from you, to get them talking and more involved in what’s happening, or to remove them from the limelight, just temporarily might be the absolute gift of Christmas they were looking for. And to you more introverted people out there, you have to make the first move as well please, it’s not just for the extroverts to help you!

Reciprocity is the order of the day ?

Take good care please, and have a wonderful Christmas and New Year. See you in 2019!

Best wishes, Karen
Email: kw.innerstrength@outlook.com