How to Be Introverted: A Guide for Extroverts | INFJ Forum

How to Be Introverted: A Guide for Extroverts

Holden On

Community Member
Jun 9, 2010
I found this today while randomly browsing... I thought it was interesting, since usually you see more articles and "self-help" books teaching introverts how to be extroverts!

The original is here, but I'll paste it below for ease of access.

So, thoughts? Is it good advice? Would it work? Should extroverts try to cultivate the kinds of skills tat are intrinsic in introverts?

How to Be More Introverted if You're an Extrovert

It is very important to note that extroversion is a natural and healthy personality trait. However, it can be worthwhile for the extrovert to cultivate a few contemplative practices. If you're an extrovert, perhaps you've never considered how a rich inner life can bring positive benefits for both you and the people you care about. This article seeks to help an interested, extroverted reader learn how time spent in social relationships and quiet solitude can both be fulfilling.

1. Be patient.
Sometimes solitude and looking inward can seem "boring" to an extrovert, since you're used to drawing energy from external stimuli. But if you give it time and follow these steps, you'll discover that the world of ideas, observations, and imagination in your head is just as animated and dynamic as the world outside of you. It's just like starting a new sport, one that you're not already naturally talented in. At first it's awkward and repetitive, but once you get the hang of it, you'll start having fun.

2. Don't associate being an introvert with being shy.
There is a difference: A person who is shy usually wants to socialize but can't, because he or she is anxious in some way. An introvert chooses not to socialize sometimes because he or she acquires psychological energy (or "recharges) from time spent alone.

3. Keep a journal.
While extroverts are primarily concerned with what's going on outside themselves, introverts are often preoccupied with their inner world. One way to shift focus is by keeping a journal; commit to a daily writing practice. Some questions you can ask yourself are:

What did I feel? Why?
What did I learn today? Who did I learn from?
What ideas arrived? Who did I think about today?
How was today different than yesterday? Than last week? Than last year?
What can I be grateful for? Who in my world seems lonely? Why?

4. Nurture your individual creativity.
Imagination and ideas develop from observation of the exterior world. The more you observe outside you, the more you take notice, the more connections you can make from concepts that may not naturally fit together. When you're by yourself, what do you notice? What impressions does the world make on you? This is all 'grist for the mill'. Creativity might be seen as 'self-absorbed', but a tremendous external focus is involved. The more you are in the flow of creating, the less you are aware of yourself.

Write fictional short stories
Create works of art - painting, sculpture, sketching, etc.
Consider using an art journal
Write songs
Write poetry

5. Enjoy solitary tasks.
Such activities will cultivate patience and possibly relieve stress (as well as boredom during those times when you have to be alone). Here are some ideas:

Knitting, crochet
Listening to music by yourself
Practicing an instrument
Taking a solitary walk or hike

6. Increase your awareness.
Whether that means relating to a higher power, meditating or just taking time out of your day to learn something new, any shift or increase in perspective will nurture your introverted side. Practicing mindfulness and things like Zen driving will also help. Contemplating the mysteries of science (the universe, quantum theory) can be an intensely introspective experience.

7. Balance.
When all is said and done, the person most likely to display all the qualities of emotional, mental, physical and spiritual well being, are those that have a well-rounded balance between the introverted and extroverted sides of their personality. We as individuals each have a unique personality and therefore will lean towards one or the other, of either being more introverted, or more predominately extroverted. The challenge for most of us in the identification of where we could be imbalanced. For instance, if we prefer a life of solitude and are aware of our introverted nature, it is possible that taking some new risks and adventures that directly involves interaction with groups of people could very well enrich our lives in ways we never dreamed possible. This could include anything from learning how to ball-room dance to joining a local church or activities group. Similarly for extroverts,if we are "the life of the party," we may equally grow by taking the risk of adding into our daily tasks something involving "time-out" for us -- a time for reflection, such as previously suggested, a daily walk around the neighborhood or perhaps commitment to reading a book 15 minutes a day. It is not uncommon for extroverts to lead lives allotting little time for self-nurturing, such as treating oneself to a massage or other healing spa services.

8. Take Small Steps.
Introversion is not like a mountain waiting to be climbed. The more you try to "do" introversion, the more you're missing the point. Real introverts use 'alone time' to recharge themselves. The whole point of being alone is not for creativity or introspection but replenishing after giving a lot of energy to an extrovert or two.
Extroverts dont do any of that?
I don't think that's what the article is implying. Anyway I didn't write it, I just thought it was interesting and wanted to hear others' thoughts.
Just like the Introvert can learn to be more outgoing and sociable, the extrovert can learn to be more reserved and introspective. It does not state that extroverts don't engage in any of this activities, but this traits are usually associated with introversion and it would be nice for an extrovert to know.