Extroverts are often the people you remember. You see them running big businesses, in important political positions, and on popular television shows. They are the ones that stick in our minds because they put themselves out there. They are loud and charismatic.
Introverts, on the other hand, are the ones behind the scenes that we rarely remember. While the extrovert might get all of the recognition, introverts are often the ones putting things together and making them happen. We have a lot we can learn from our introvert friends, so never dismiss them or think of them as irrelevant. They are quite the opposite.
Here are five things you can learn from your introvert friends.
1. You Can Learn How to Spend Time with Yourself
Your introvert friends probably spend a lot of time alone, absorbed in self-reflection. Introverts don’t feel lonely just because they are by themselves. They enjoy exploring their thoughts and feelings, and this contributes to the highly creative side and great problem solving abilities they often possess.
It is always a challenge to allow ourselves to slow down when the world seems as though it is moving so fast. Relaxation, meditation, and self-reflection are rarely on the agenda of busy people. Something else always needs our attention.
Introverts know that downtime is essential to emotional stability and physical health. Solitude has long been considered a portal to healing and mental restoration. We see more clearly and notice more about life when we slow down and spend time by ourselves.
Take your introverted friend’s lead and shut down the outside world for a while. Get back in touch with yourself through meditation and other relaxation techniques. These will help improve your mental and emotional health, and you don’t need anyone else to do them. It doesn’t have to take long. Even ten to fifteen minutes of dedicated relaxation time will help you feel more grounded.
Introverts are great listeners. Think about the people you most enjoy talking to. It is probably your introvert friends, right? It is because they understand the value of listening. They don’t need to be the center of attention all the time. Listening is a critical piece of communication, and introverts practice it well. Meaningful conversation begins and ends with listening.
Introverts don’t just listen to the words spoken either. They pay attention to body language. Most people say more with nonverbal actions than they do with words, and introverts know how to pick up on these.
The next time you are in a conversation, try out your introvert’s communication style. Listen to the person as they talk. Process what they are telling you instead of jumping in or interrupting. Seek to understand before seeking to be understood. You should never be too busy to listen. Recognize how much others have to offer, and you will learn a lot about the world and yourself.
3. You Can Learn How to Think Before You Speak
Extroverts cannot stand silence. They tend to fill the silence with mindless jabber while the introvert is deep in thought. Introverts process information before they speak, and this allows them to have a control over their emotions that extroverts do not naturally have. They may seem quiet or shy, but it just means that once they choose to speak, their words will have much more thought behind them. Introverts seek depth – quality over quantity. They don’t engage in superficial chit chat.
Introverts know that words have power, so they are never careless with them. They also know that the words they choose to speak will soon define them. If they say the first thing that pops into their heads, they could regret it for the rest of their life. If you have a bad habit of popping off at the mouth and regretting it later, take a hint from your introverted friend. Take a moment or two to think about the consequences of your words before you open your mouth.
4. You Can Learn How to Focus Through Self Discipline
Behind the quiet persona, the introvert is using silence to their advantage. They are applying focus to work through their tasks systematically. They are great at tuning out distractions and getting work done quickly and efficiently. Introverted people know the power of focus and practice it every day. They are better able to meet and exceed their goals and make better choices because they have the clarity that comes with focused thought.
Self discipline is something all extroverts can benefit from learning. If you watch your introverted friend, you can pick up on some pretty powerful habits that will help you focus. Pay attention to one thing at a time instead of multitasking. Keep a priority list so that you can stay on task. Set goals for yourself and work towards them every day. Practice gratitude every day. Forgive others and let go of negativity. By practicing these habits, you will gain control of yourself and be able to focus your energy where it makes the most impact.
Introverts make great leaders because they know how to listen and prepare for the unknown. Their creativity, dedication, and innate problem solving skills are all incredibly valuable leadership traits. Introverts never wing it. They are always prepared. They spend time thinking about their goals and working on a plan to achieve them. They spend time alone in reflection which allows them to come up with breakthrough ideas. One of the greatest advantages of an introverted leader is their ability to focus where others are easily distracted. They don’t settle, they keep their cool, and they practice self control.
If you have ever worked for an introverted boss, you know introverts make great leaders. If you want to be a leader yourself, start taking notes. Get in touch with your inner introvert and opportunities will open up for you both professionally and personally.
If you are an extrovert, you can probably learn a lot of valuable life lessons from your introverted friends. Society tends to get seduced by the charisma of the outgoing and loud extrovert while overlooking the charm of the quiet introvert. Don’t make that mistake. Some of the most powerful people in the world are introverts. The introverted people in your life have a lot to offer and teach you if you take the time to learn from them. Instead of writing your introverted friends off as shy underperformers, take the time to get to know them and see how amazing they really are. The chances are that you will want some of their qualities to rub off on yourself!
Melissa Ricker is a nuclear engineer and a professional freelance writer specializing in career growth, technical writing and online entrepreneurship. She writes a blog, Engineered Motherhood, for working mothers who need help balancing career growth and time management.