Last post I was going through some ways introverts and extroverts can better understand each other. I realized I had enough info for multiple posts. So here’s the second part of the discussion.
Avoid labels. Extroverts can mistake the introverts’ silence for an unfriendly personality. Introverts can mistake the talkative extroverts as being pushy or loud for no reason. That fifth statement – “Even when I’m quiet, I still feel like I’m more open and friendly than most” – is one that I think applies to me. When I’m in a new situation, surrounded by total strangers, I’m painfully uncomfortable. The extroverts might think I’m unfriendly, and what in the world am I doing there. Once I get to know people, I believe I’m very friendly. I just have to get to know people, which is a slower process for introverts.
Practice. A great way to understand the other side of this interaction is to practice being in the opposite situation as what makes you comfortable. We were encouraged in the VA 101 Mastermind to use the Facebook group to do our own Facebook Live sessions to practice. I was on the group’s page, sitting there, for 15 minutes before I finally clicked on the “Go Live” button. An extroverted person can seek out a friend that is going through a hard time, and offer to meet with them and just be present or listen to them, without jumping in and offering 47 solutions or asking a whole bunch of questions, as that is what the extrovert will be tempted to do.
Realistic Expectations. There are so many dynamic and opposite interactions people have with each other – man & woman, carnivores & vegans, older & younger, urban & rural, conservative & liberal, introverts & extroverts – and in just about all of them, the people on one end want the people on the opposite end to change and be more like “my” side. But 99.999999999% of the time, that is not going to happen. Instead of expecting them to become more like you, and dismissing their position as incorrect or less, work to understand them. In this case of where your energy comes from, instead of believing, “I wish you would just be more like me,” spend time understanding how that other method of getting the battery charge works. I’m fortunate enough to have my marriage as a laboratory. My wife could stop and talk to a utility pole and make friends with it. Just boggles my mind. I just watch and learn (if not shaking my head in utter amazement). It’s taken some time, but she’s been able to better understand that when I’m running on empty, the best thing I can do is go to the spare bedroom and put the headphones on for a little while. When we’re meeting a new potential client or attending an event where we don’t know most of the other people, we just have to check our expectations. Don’t assume bad intent if you encounter your opposite. Enter the situation with a clean slate, and give yourself and everyone else a chance to have a productive time.
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