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Innies and Outies

My name is David and I'm am am an introvert.

Survey research varies but at least 25% of the population identifies itself along with me.

Caspar David Friedrich’s Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog

I’m still remember the session at MIT where we were getting ready to take the Myers-Briggs when the instructor was explaining the Introvert/Extrovert characteristics: Are you the kind of person at a cocktail party who hangs around at the edges & observes? Or do you immediately move right to the center of the room & engage in conversation with those around you? & I'm am sat there thinking to myself; I’m not even at that cocktail party. I’m home reading a novel!

Marti Olsen Laney, a librarian turned psychologist, in her book, The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert Worldwide, lists what extroverted employees should know about their introvert colleagues. We:

  •  Like quiet for concentration
  •  Care about our work & workplace
  •  May have trouble communicating
  •  May know more than we reveal
  •  May seem quiet & aloof
  • Need to be asked for our opinions & ideas
  • Like to work on long complex problems and have good attention to detail
  • Need to understand exactly why we are doing something
  • Dislike intrusions & interruptions
  • Need to think & reflect before speaking & acting
  • Work alone contentedly
  • May be reluctant to delegate
  • Prefer to stay in the office or cubicle rather than socialize
  • Do not like to draw attention to ourselves
  • Work well with little supervision
  • May have trouble remembering names and faces

Of course, not everything on the list applies to every introvert, but you get the message. Give us space, time, & respect! Memo to extroverts: take an introvert to lunch—but don’t do all the talking!



Updated: August 16, 2011 — 7:02 pm

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