This is an excerpt from No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions At Work, by Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy
“I’ll go if I don’t have to talk,” says Elaine when Jerry asks her to join him for coffee on Seinfeld. Some of us need more quiet time than others. If you prefer one-on-one conversation to group discussion, want to think things through before acting, and feel drained after office happy hours, you’re probably an introvert. If none of that makes sense to you, you’re an extrovert.
Introverts and extroverts have different needs. Extroverts tend to react to social interactions more quickly. Introverts have a higher base rate of arousal: put an introvert in a crowded, noisy room and he’ll quickly become overwhelmed. This might explain why introverts perform best in quiet environments while extroverts do better when it’s noisy.
It’s not immediately obvious whether someone is an introvert or an extrovert, especially when you’re just getting to know each other. In the workplace, introverts often try to mask their introverted qualities to fit in. But without talking openly about differences, extroverts and introverts drive each other nuts. Introverts are more sensitive to external stimuli (an introvert will salivate more at the taste of lemon juice than an extrovert, as Susan Cain explained in Quiet) and need quiet time to recharge. When introverts turn down lunch invitations or start to shut down after back-to-back meetings, it can be hard for extroverts to swallow.
How to better communicate:
Tips for introverts:
Tips for extroverts: