Did you know that over 25-40% of the global population identify as introverts? That means that up to 2.8 billion people all over the world are more introverted than extraverted. But if you’re an introvert yourself, then it probably doesn’t feel that way most days because of how highly misunderstood introverts still are in modern society.
And though no personality type is better than the other, there has often been a clear social bias against introverts, who tend to be misjudged as cold, aloof, awkward, or unfriendly by those that don’t understand them. Even introverts themselves feel a lot of pressure to be more extraverted and act against their nature because extraverts of how society perceives extraverts more likable and more likely to succeed. But there are a lot of great qualities and advantages that come with being an introvert that people sadly overlook.
WIth that said, here are 9 things that introverts naturally excel at over extraverts:
1. Active Listening
Because of their quiet and thoughtful nature, introverts are naturally adept at active and attentive listening, especially when the other person is talking about something that really engages them or piques their interest. Unlike extraverts, they listen more than they talk. And they’re more than happy to let you go on for as long as you have something to say without feeling the need to interrupt you with their own thoughts or opinions. This is because introverts tend to shy away from being the center of attention, even in conversations (Laney, 2002).
2. Keeping Secrets
When it comes to keeping secrets and other sensitive information, introverts are far better at it than any extravert could ever be. Why? Because they’re much less talkative and they understand the importance of a person’s privacy. They are always careful to think before they speak and they’re not at all interested in seeking the attention of others, especially not if it comes at the cost of your trust. If it’s not their secret to tell, they’re more likely to take it to their graves than spread it to someone else.
Another area where introverts undoubtedly excel at is introspection and self-reflection. No one can ever know an introvert better than they know themselves because of how much time they spend getting lost in their own rich inner world. They’re more intuitive, insightful, self-aware, and highly in tune with their own emotions (Helgoe, 2013). This is also why introverts tend to gravitate towards hobbies like painting, photography, playing music, writing, gardening, or baking because it allows them to be alone with their own thoughts.
4. Reading Emotions
Not only are introverts good at knowing and understanding their own feelings, they also have a natural talent for reading the emotions of others. Both because of their keen observation skills and boundless empathy, an introvert can easily tell how you’re feeling just from the look on your face, the tone of your voice, or the way that you move (Aron & Aron, 1997). And it’s for this reason that introverts make such good nonverbal communicators, because of how quickly and adeptly they can pick up on things most people wouldn’t even notice – which brings us to our next point!
5. Careful Observations
One of the key differences between extraverts and introverts is the way that they process information. Extraverts are more externally oriented, so they tend to talk as they figure things out and process out loud. But introverts, who are more internally oriented, often keep things to themselves and soak up as much information as they can before sharing it with others. As a result, most of them tend to be critical thinkers and careful observers who take their time analyzing and understanding the people around them.
6. Deep Conversations
While extraverts may be more gifted at socializing, making small talk, and befriending lots of new people, introverts have mastered the art of deep conversations without even trying. They thrive in social situations where they get to discuss and debate about topics that they are truly interested in, especially when talking to people who share the same passion as them. In fact, this is how most introverts make friends with someone, by connecting with them through meaningful and thought-provoking conversations (Walsh, 2012).
7. Strategic Thinking
Because most introverts don’t enjoy talking too much, they often choose their words very carefully and think before they speak. And while it does take them longer to formulate a response than most people, it’s only because they listen so attentively and want to make sure that their meaning is clear and concise. The same goes for their decision making process; most introverts tend to be deep thinkers who are strategic about their choices and take their time pondering on all the different possibilities a situation has to offer (Cain, 2013).
8. Problem Solving
With careful consideration and strategic thinking comes an incredible gift for problem solving that a large majority of introverts are blessed with. So while most extraverts tend to be “doers” who like to run headfirst into adventure and figure everything out as they go, introverts are more comfortable being the “thinkers” and “dreamers” of the world. Imaginative and resourceful, they put their thoughtful nature to good use by looking inwards for ideas and inspiration. Whether it’s a personal problem, an argument in need of a compromise, or something else entirely, introverts won’t stop mulling over a dilemma until they’ve found a solution for it because they have an “all the answers are within me” mindset.
9. Compassionate Leadership
Finally, but perhaps most importantly, while both introverts and extraverts have the potential to be a great leader, it’s in compassionate leadership that introverts truly shine. Because while extraverts are better suited at giving direction and winning people over with their natural charisma, an introverted leader’s greatest advantage is their compassion for the people they are leading. Studies show that introverted leaders are more effective at building relationships, fostering loyalty, and motivating people because their lessened need for attention allows others to feel more seen for their contributions. They are also more open to listening to the ideas and suggestions of others because they tend to have a less dominant leadership style (Nobel, 2010).
So, do you agree with the points we’ve mentioned on this list? Did this article help you to realize some good reasons why you should embrace the quiet strength that comes with being an introvert? And let go of the pressure of pretending to be more extraverted than you really are? While it’s certainly hard for introverts to thrive in a world that seems to reward the commanding presence and outgoing nature that comes so easily for extraverts, we hope this list helped showcase some of the best qualities of an introvert and all the things that they do better.
- Laney, M. O. (2002). The introvert advantage: How to thrive in an extrovert world. Workman Publishing.
- Walsh, B. (2012). The upside of being an introvert (and why extroverts are overrated). Time Magazine.
- Helgoe, L. A. (2013). Introvert power: Why your inner life is your hidden strength. Sourcebooks, Inc..
- Aron, E. N., & Aron, A. (1997). Sensory-processing sensitivity and its relation to introversion and emotionality. Journal of personality and social psychology, 73(2), 345.
- Cain, S. (2013). Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking. Broadway Books.
- Nobel, C. (2010). Introverts: The best leaders for proactive employees. Harvard Business School Working Knowledge, 1-2.