Why Most Advice for Introverts is Dead Wrong

– by Wes Colton, Introvert Unbound

Danger Bad Advice AheadI love everything about being an introvert, from my thoughtfulness, to my preference for deep connection, to my appreciation of solitude. As a writer and musician, introversion is central to my being and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Writing about and working with other introverts, I’ve come across countless introvert books and blogs, videos and podcasts, Facebook pages and groups, and Twitter accounts. I’ve learned so much great stuff from these sources, including the science behind introversion, the need to accept the way our brains work, and of course all the funny cartoons.

However, there’s one rotten thread I’ve found running through most of them: encouragement for introverts NOT to push our comfort zone. Either implicitly or explicitly, the message is all too often that because you’re an introvert it’s okay to avoid socializing. And that if people think you’re weird because you never talk to or hang out with them, it’s up to them to change.

For fifteen long years, I bought into this terrible advice, not realizing how much this mindset contributed to my depression and anxiety. Only when I started to question whether being a virtual hermit was good for my mental health, did my life change for the better.

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Reframing Small Talk

– by Wes Colton, Introvert Unbound

small-talkOne of the biggest introvert pet peeves is “small talk.” That’s usually because deep-delvers such as ourselves don’t want to waste our precious social energy on petty topics like weather or sports scores, but instead connect on issues that matter to us.

This quest for meaning is one of introverts’ most admirable traits. Unfortunately, with most people, it’s not always possible to get into such weighty matters right off the bat. For example, it comes across as a little weird to introduce yourself for the first time to a stranger and then immediately ask, “So, do you think there’s such a thing as pure good and evil?”

When people get together with strangers, they’re sussing one another out. So it’s understandable that a lot of folks are wary about baring their souls to people they don’t know the first thing about. And that’s really what small talk is about.

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