The short answer is…yes they can! But it will need a degree of understanding about the characteristics of the introvert and their needs.
In general extroverts find it very difficult to understand introverts, but introverts find it very easy to understand extroverts. This is because the extrovert generally thinks out loud, so everyone gets to hear and understand what’s going on in their heads, whereas the introvert tends to process everything internally…privately.
Here are some things for you to remember and some tips for those of you extroverts as you interact with the introverts around you…
- We like to be alone sometimes…in our own heads. It doesn’t mean that we don’t like you. Or that we are upset with you.
- We don’t do small talk. Don’t expect us to talk about the weather or about what we had for breakfast just to fill in time. We don’t believe gaps in conversation are a sin.
- We cannot stand repeating ourselves. If we talk, we expect you to listen, not think about the next thing that you are going to say.
- We need you to recognise that these things that you notice about us are not a choice we make. It’s the way our brains are wired. We are not sick or abnormal.
- If we are quiet or appear to be lost in thought, don’t say, “What’s the matter?” or “Are you OK?”. Ninety-nine percent of the time there is nothing wrong, we are just lost in thought, and content in our own head space. Asking us these questions drives us NUTS! 🙂
I want to finish this post by reminding you that neither an extrovert or an introvert are better than the other. There is no hierarchy of personality types. We are just different. Accept it, deal with it.
Introverts…don’t expect your extrovert to fully grasp the way you work…it’s as foreign to them as a desert to a penguin.
Extroverts…don’t expect your introvert to act like you do…occasionally they might try, but ultimately they will burnout and go find a quiet corner to recover in. 🙂
The key, as with all relationships, is grace and acceptance.