A little over a week ago, the Intensas team and some good friends had the opportunity to attend Sophia Amoruso’s #Girlbus tour and book signing, among 400 other San Diego girls. Just in case you don’t keep up with #basics or the retail business world, she is the creator and former CEO of Nasty Gal, a fashion company started less than 10 years ago now worth over $100 million. She started from the bottom… now she’s here (sorry, could not help myself). You may have seen the cover of her #Girlboss book before, she is standing there with an all-mighty look, fierce black bob haircut, chin slightly tilted, and staring directly into your eyes. I had not read the book before, but it was hard to imagine that such a strong figure for female success, who must be around people all day, had something in common with me: she is an INTROVERT.
Some of you who might not be fully familiar with introversion might say “What? You are always uploading pictures with friends, going out, and you are not antisocial”. That is all true. I don’t ‘hate’ people and I like going out, having friends, and doing ‘social’ activities. Yet, being a Industrial/Organizational Psych major, I have taken multiple personality tests that have all helped to explain to me why it is that I am so selfish about my personal time and space, why I may sometimes drag going to social events even though I have a good time once there 99% of the time, or why I don’t like talking on the phone unless I know the specific purpose of the call and have nothing else going on around.
People may feel alienated, or take it personal when dealing with an introverted person. If you are one of the ‘energy-suckers’ (I mean, extroverts) who don’t get ‘my people’ then you need to keep reading. If you are always trying to ‘recharge’ before and after hanging out with people then you need to keep reading as well so you realize that you are not alone in this world.
Here are some facts about introverts:
- Introverts are drained by social encounters and energized by solitary, often creative pursuits
- We like to think before we speak, and listening more than talking
- We tend to avoid conflict and confrontation
- We might enjoy parties and social events as long as we can go home and be in our pijamas afterwards (afterparties? Not a big fan if you ask me, I need to program my time and day beforehand)
- We don’t like small talk- but enjoy deeper conversations
- Shyness is not the same as introversion
- We may not be very enthusiastic
- We like working alone and being independent. I can tell you that a good work team will be a mix of introverts and extroverts, so don’t panic thinking that if you are introverted you are not good at ‘teamwork’
- Keep in mind introversion/extroversion is a spectrum, so you may fall in the middle of these two or just be slightly leaning towards one or the other… psychology is not black and white
- Our written communication is stronger and we prefer it to verbal communication (I guess that is why I love the blog and would much rather send you a text or an e-mail)
To translate into real world experience, here are some things that hit home personally: I would rather live by myself than with a roommate, I rarely feel bored when being by myself (I have a hard time understanding why someone would not enjoy their own company), I can talk on the phone for hours just with a handful of very close people; if I don’t know why someone is calling and I am doing something else that requires my energy, I don’t answer and just call back until I can fully direct my energy to that person (therefore why I am a good listener). I like hosting parties and big cities, but I may feel overwhelmed if I am with new people or in social settings for an extended period of time (Vegas kills me even though I have a lot of fun). I like knowing my plans ahead- not a big fan of spontaneity even though I am adaptable and flexible. Going out two days in a row? Might be too much for me.
That being said, don’t think I will be rolling my eyes if I have to go somewhere where I will be interacting with lots of people, I always have a good time and enjoy being social and talking to friends … it just means that I will probably have to recharge my energy afterwards, unlike an extrovert who feels energized by socializing.
So now that I know that Sophia Amoruso can run a multimillion business and still live in her introversion bubble, let me remind you that by knowing yourself and your strenghts and weakenesses you can focus your energy and efforts into things that will work best for you.
PS. I guess the ‘Psychology’ background in me wanted to make a bit of a debut in the blog today