this post was originally written as a blog post for All The Buzz

Do you prefer hanging out with smaller groups of people, or even just one-to-one conversations? Do you find going to parties, or interacting with large groups of people overwhelming and exhausting? Then chances are you are introverted. Many people think that being introverted means you’re shy, or don’t like to be around people; but this isn’t the case at all! Being introverted versus extroverted is not about how outgoing you are, it’s a personality trait that defines where you get your energy.

People who are extroverted feel energised when they are surrounded by larger groups of people, and find being on their own very tiring. They focus on the outer world of people and activities. However, someone who is introverted would find being on their own or in smaller groups energising, and being in large groups of people exhausting; while focus on the inner world of ideas and impressions.

Today’s world is set up to favour the extroverts. Classrooms are now dominated by group work, and children are set up in little pods of desks instead of sitting in rows. Most offices are now open plan, preventing private working spaces. What’s interesting is that about one third to one half of the population is introverted; which means we are alienating quite a large portion of our own society. This can leave introverts thinking that it’s wrong for them to want to curl up and read a book or watch a movie on a Friday evening instead going to a crowded bar; that there is something wrong with them because they want to sit in a quiet office instead of being surrounded by all their co-workers.

A downside of alienating this population is that people who are introverted tend to make the best leaders, but are, unfortunately, often overlooked. Studies have shown that in the workplace, when introverted leaders manage proactive employees, they are more likely than extroverted leaders to let those employees run with their ideas without micromanaging them. It also found that when extroverted leaders managed these same types of employees, they tended to get so excited that they would start to put their own stamp onto these ideas and projects, reducing the likelihood that the employee would step forward with these ideas in the future.

So remember, it’s okay to be introverted; our society needs you! Want to find out if you’re introverted? Click here!

Nicole Paulie is a Counselling Psychologist, and co-author of “How to be Happy and Healthy – The seven natural elements of mental health.” She provides therapy in the Dublin city area. Contact us to learn more or to book an appointment.

Why it’s okay to be introverted

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