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In this episode Joel and Antonia talk with Jenn Granneman of IntrovertDear.com about introvert problems and some of the unique struggles they face.

 

In this podcast you’ll find:

  • We live in the most over-communicated time period in history.
  • There are challenges introverts face.
  • Introverts are unready for conversations because they need to gather their thoughts first.
  • Introverts need to get alone time and recharge after socializing for too long.
  • Introvert, Dear – is a community and blog for introverts and highly sensitive people.
  • What’s the science behind why introverts feel challenges? What are the challenges introverts are experiencing and what’s the science behind those challenges?
  • Word retrieval. Happens when you’re looking for just the right word to communicate your thoughts. Introverts tend to use long-term memory and (using a longer pathway to their brain than extroverts do). Extroverts rely more on working memory (short-term memory).
  • Give yourself permission to collect your thoughts, relax and try to make yourself feel as comfortable as you can (even let you mind wander in the moment).
  • In general, Introverts don’t feel understood by the people around them. There’s a real need for introverts to be understood.
  • A lot of Introverts carry an emotional baggage.
  • Alone time for introverts – how helpful and necessary is alone time for introverts? Alone time gives introverts the energy to face the outside again.
  • Getting enough extraverted time – Have a good balance of alone time and extraverted time, making sure that you don’t shut yourself away from the outside world.
  • Take ownership of your needs. Set proper expectations with the people who you know.
  • It may be challenging especially if there are a lot of people who rely on your presence but remember that before you can help other, you need to help yourself first and attend to your needs.
  • All introverts need something slightly different. The more resistance you get from the outside world, the more you need to fight for your right to do that.
  • Checkout out Introvert, Dear’s Facebook group and website.

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  • Arabella
    Reply

    Hi guys, this podcast episode was particuarly interesting to me as an introvert. I could really see myself in a lot of what was said. However, one thing confuses me and I’d like to hear your opinions about it. I identify as an introvert, and more specifically an INFP, and as mentioned, I can relate to almost all of the introvert “markers”. But one of them does not resonate at all with me and that’s needing to think for a few seconds before I speak. I don’t think I’ve ever really experienced this over the 40 plus years of my life. In fact my way of speaking, at least in situations where I feel comfortable, shows all the markers of an extrovert. What I mean is that I think as I talk and in fact, I usually think best and come up with my most lucid and well-composed thoughts in this way. And, given the right situation and right company, I can talk for literally hours without feeling drained. (The reverse is also true: I become silent in the “wrong” situation or company.)

    I don’t seem to be the only introvert who experiences this either. I’ve had contact with many INFPs and a fair few INTPs who also act this way. So I’m wondering whether Ne is the factor that influences this? Maybe Ne users are more inclined to think as they talk whereas Ni users talk after thinking? Also, INFPs are often mistaken for extroverts, probably more often than INTPs so I’m also wondering whether our Te could also play a part in this? I’ve heard a lot of INFPs say that they think out loud and even talk to themselves, and we seem to be a pretty outwardly verbal bunch. I guess what I’m saying is that maybe there’s a scale in terms of the gap between thinking and talking, with maybe INFJs with their double whammy of Ni and Ti at one end of the scale and INFPs with Ne and Te at the other? You’ll notice that I’m only talking about intuitives, the reason being that I don’t have enough experience with sensors to come up with any theories. But it would be interesting to see whether there’s a similar pattern!

    Hope this makes some kind of sense!

    • Ceceley
      Reply

      I did not discover that I was an INFP until my late 20’s (I am now 32) Initially I tested as an ESFP! Some things resonated with me but I felt it only described the pieces of myself that I show to the world and not the person I am at my core. I’ve worn the gregarious fun lover mask my whole life to cope with my inner conflict of never truely being known. Thanks to Antonia and Joel I’ve learned that I am excellent at what they term blending. A very good friend who intitially and most strenuously tried to convince me that I was in fact an ESFP later read Kersey’s description of the INFP in Please Understand Me II and promptly recanted her previous assumption. When I read the description I cried… This begs the question: “Why the crap did I test as and extrovert?!?!” I developed a voracious appetite for all things typology related. Everything that I have read and my own personal experiences watching my cognitive functions play out in real time makes me agree wholeheartedly. Anything that fleets my Ne fancy I can expound on fluidly for-e-ver… And when I feel backed into a corner and my Te claws are forced to come out and protect me I can be very forcefully argumentative. BUT if I am called on to supply some sort of proof from past experience (Si) that what I feel is right (Fi) is in fact valid….sometimes I freeze up like a deer in headlights. I need to to formulate my response because these are deeply personal things to put out into the universe. So I’d definitely definitely definitely say that which cognitive funtions one extroverts have a bearing on how “extroverted” one appears to the untrained eye.

    • Anthony
      Reply

      Arabella, I’m an INFP and I for sure act that way! And one interesting thing that I thought of while reading your comment is that even when I’m in a situation where I’m chattering away without hesitating to think, I tend to pay more attention to my own reactions than that of the person I’m speaking to. It’s almost like I’m really talking to myself, and then toggling into listening mode when I’m done speaking. I’m still pretty new to Myers-Briggs, so I’m not sure how that sits with the cognitive functions, but it does seem to reframe the behavior as a more introverted one.

      • Charis Branson
        Reply

        Anthony, I would definitely call that Introverted Feeling. You are gauging your own internal reaction as you go along. I practice Extraverted Feeling and I completely engage with my audience. I gauge my words based upon their subconscious cues. This is why I hate talking on the phone.

        • Anthony
          Reply

          Ah! I’ve known it’s an introvert thing to not like the phone so much, but I never would’ve thought about the lack of nonverbal cues short-circuiting an INFJ or ISFJ’s Fe. Interesting!

          • Michelle

            INTJ here. I wonder whether the lack of nonverbal cues is actually short-circuiting Ni (the perceiving function) rather than Fe. I don’t use Fe but also hate speaking on the phone for the exact same reason as Charis. In face to face conversations I am constantly monitoring my conversation partner’s body language and adjusting my responses accordingly. I do this in order to achieve whatever end-goal I have in mind for a given conversation. I guess Fe users would do this primarily to meet the needs of those they are talking to. Communication tends to be so much more efficient if you keep your finger on the pulse of the interaction in order to ensure it’s heading in the right direction, but that’s not as easy to do over the phone- I literally feel like I am missing a sense. It’s, kind of like missing every other word of the other person’s responses and having to blindly guess to fill in the gaps.

          • Randy Caba - INTJ

            I am sooo glad this topic called up. It rings so true to me 🙂 It’s important for me to ‘see’ how much a person really wants to know as I’m typically asked technical questions. If they appear enthusiastic and seem somewhat studied, I can go on and on. But if the reverse is true, I don’t want to overwhelm them or get too bogged down in the basics and it’s very difficult to get those cues quickly over the phone. Oh, and I do love talking with my hands. Now I also admit that a phone conversation with someone that asks good questions or really listens to my concerns and seems a half to a full step ahead are very exciting.

            I really appreciate this thread as so many of my, especially ESFP, friends don’t ‘get’ why I seldom (and I mean really seldom) ever call. Perhaps oddly, one of my INFP friends is truly a minimalist in any conversation though she can become quite loud when she’s ready to be heard. So I think we’re all a diverse cognitive blend even within our type and our upbringing environment may play a big part in this.

          • Charis Branson

            Michelle – It is very possible that is more Ni than Fe. The difference being that I want to make sure my words are being understood and not offending my listener, and Te users are trying to make sure the conversation is reaching the desired conclusion.

            I totally agree with your observation that it is like a sense is missing.

            Thanks for pointing out this distinction. Come to think of it, my INTJ husband doesn’t talk on the phone very much either. 🙂

  • Esther
    Reply

    Oh man! classic extroverted and introverted discussion (Antonia you can talk!! lol) and then Jenn with the exact right words and the exact amount of words 🙂 As an INFJ I loved this podcast and one of my favourite so far as I could so relate to it. It’s interesting what ‘Arabella’ says above. One of my friends is an INFP and doesn’t have much of a process time. I thought it might be that I am Gen X and she is Gen Y but it seems like it may be an INFP thing? Is it a ‘J’ thing? I find introverted SPs don’t seem to have this long processing or the ISTJs but ISFJs seem to as well?

    Had to share this quote from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice “We are each of an unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to speak, unless we expect to say something that will amaze the whole room, and be handed down to posterity with all the eclat of a proverb.” I so feel that if I am answering someone’s question I need to ‘amaze the whole room’ and totally come up with the best answer possible based on every bit of knowledge and feeling and intuition – not so that someone would think ‘wow, she is so amazing’ but ‘wow, what she said is so amazing and has fully answered my question and the whole world needs to hear this and now I feel inspired to conquer the world’. 🙂

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Esther! The prompt response time of IxxPs over IxxJs may be due to the fact that IPs all lead with a decision-making process (Fi or Ti) while IJs lead with a learning process (Ni or Si). Decision-making will often appear faster than learning.

  • Virgílio
    Reply

    For a long time not so long ago I was trying to realize why I’m so slow to think about the things. That is the first time I found something. All the things I found when I was Trying to look for something was like “You are just slow, deal with it”. Off course no one was saying that, but that was what I heard. I was ok with it, but it really hurts when comes from my parents or my friends.

    I don’t know if it will change something since I’m always requested on work and college to make things faster and answer the questions faster, but now I have something to think about.

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Virgilio! Be kind to yourself and don’t ever let anyone make you feel there is something wrong with you. I will sometimes get irritated if people keep plowing over me in conversation. Eventually, I will say, “If you really want to hear what I have to say, you have to pause long enough for me to get a word in!” Once I open up that dialogue, I just keep reminding them to let me participate in my way.

  • Lance Warley INTJ
    Reply

    Here a strategy for interacting with extroverts that I find helpful and may help others:
    I’m in a pristine location in nature (although it could be anywhere) particularly when taking photos, and a pack of Griswolds appears. They destroy the flow and and the also usually get in the way of the photo I’m trying to make. Rather than indulging myself in dysfunctional anger, I try to remind myself they have as much right to be there as I do. Sometimes this works, and stops my volcano from boiling.

    To Arabella’s post above – I think Arabella’s right about the Te playing a big part in it.

    • Anthony
      Reply

      Further to this, I’ll do my best to imagine how I may be making the extroverts uncomfortable! What it must be like to be on a pleasant afternoon hike with a group of friends, chatting and laughing and enjoying the clean air, when all of a sudden everyone’s put on edge when they round a corner to see a thirtysomething bearded weirdo talking to himself and staring off into the trees. “Is he a vagrant?” “Is he mentally stable?” “I wish there were family-only parks…”
      This is silly and (mostly) unlikely, obviously, but the possibility that I could be ruining their experience works pretty well to defuse any animosity.

      • Charis Branson
        Reply

        Lol, Anthony! So, you must be the bearded weirdo talking to himself. I want to go on a hike with you! 🙂

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks Lance! That’s a good strategy. I was actually the person in the podcast who got upset when my peace and tranquility was disturbed by “Griswolds.” Antonia helped me realize this isn’t necessarily Extraverts, but most likely people who are just really myopic.

      For instance, I was in a book store the other day. We had the whole place to ourselves (me and my INTJ hubby), until a couple teens came in. They were loudly discussing every book they encountered. It was so maddening! They may or may not have been Extraverts, but they were definitely myopic. Instead of hefting Encyclopedias at them, I reminded myself that they have just as much right to be there as I do. Did it help? Marginally. 😉

  • Esther
    Reply

    ps… wanted to add that you guys have the most clearest, deep. thorough and engaging information on the MBTI I’ve come across – thank you so much!

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks Esther! We value such feedback. 🙂

  • Dana
    Reply

    Ah, introvert problems. I recently changed locations at work and my new office is shared with another person. Despite both of us being introverts, my colleague is naturally more chatty than me and it is definitely starting to wear me out.

    I think Antonia’s point about “training” people by setting expectations about your personal needs is great advice. Some colleagues may assume that filling a silence is always the preferred choice but others may feel differently.

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Dana! It is hard to tell someone to stop talking. Monosyllabic responses don’t discourage her, huh? Maybe you can start waxing poetic about the beauty of silence. 😉

  • Meredith
    Reply

    Hi Joel and Antonia!
    I listen to all of your podcasts.
    They are great.
    Wow! The things I could
    learn from the two of you!
    Really, thank you for putting
    It out here for me and to enjoy!

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks for the feedback, Meredith! We love hearing from listeners like you. 🙂

  • Randy Caba - INTJ
    Reply

    Thanks for yet another deep dive into our cognitive and thus behavioral differences. I particularly enjoyed the neurological/neurotransmitter variants in extroverts and introverts. Because this introvert can sometimes turn extrovert and talk a mile a minute when someone asks a question about something I’m interested and knowledgeable in.

    But after much time spent studying a wide range of new information (I can’t stop studying and I’ve been out of college for decades), my brain and Intuition need tranquil time to process the data and store the results of that process. Interruptions are difficult while that cognitive operation takes place. Small talk and brain picking are particularly disrupting and sometimes puts me into flash-frustration.

    However, learning to demand my space in a firm yet kind way before frustration rules has helped immensely. So has wearing T-shirts served that say things like ‘It’s Funny How You Think I’m Listening’ or ‘Despite The Look On My Face, You’re Still Talking.’ Then all I have to do is point at the T and thankfully often get a laugh … a laugh accompanied by that shorter nattering session I so need. No offense intended 🙂

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks for the comment Randy! I love your term “Flash-frustration.” I’m married to an INTJ and I have seen him do this when people try and get him to engage when he has no interest in engaging. Or they ask probing questions he’s not interested in exploring.

      I have learned his “I’m Not Listening” face and I just stop talking until he either re-engages or I ask myself if there’s really any need for him to listen to what I’m saying. Sometimes, I can honestly say that I am rambling and there’s no point in my conversation. Strangely enough, after 13 years of marriage I do this completely subjectively, without resentment…most of the time. 😉

  • Emma
    Reply

    Thanks for this interesting interview. If anyone is interested in understanding this topic further, I highly recommend Susan Cain’s “Quiet” and her TED Talk.

    • Randy Caba - INTJ
      Reply

      Thank you, Emma. I love Susan Cain’s The power of introverts TED Talk…

      http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts?language=en#t-671113

    • Charis Branson
      Reply

      Thanks for sharing that TED talk! I just listened to it and it was beautiful. I can’t count how many times I was approached by the hosting parent of a slumber party and told if I didn’t want to join with the rest of the girls they would call my parents to come pick me up. Playing with the animals outside was always preferred to indoor group games. 😉

      • Randy Caba
        Reply

        One for the Introvert Library for sure! It will be a wonderful day when humanity is more aware, understanding and accepting of our differing individual qualities… hopefully and especially more wonderful for children.

  • kristin
    Reply

    word retrieval! definitely one of my biggest struggles as an introvert and hsp. at a parenting book club yesterday, the leader put me on the spot by saying, “Kristin, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this book since you told me it was life-changing for you and you’re hoping to one day go into this field of study.” My fight or flight kicked it, I stared like a deer in headlights, then went on to give a rather bumbling response, complete with stuttering. I was then interrupted by an eloquent extrovert in the group who hadn’t even read the chapter. yet she sounded so confident and secure.

    i was discouraged and semi-obsessive about it for the rest of the day- how can i be so passionate about this book, yet be unable to express my thoughts about it to a group of perfectly nice moms? i even woke up in the middle of the night replaying it over and over.

    this podcast brought me a huge amount of peace. i’m not alone. there are reasons i am the way i am. i have a lot of strengths, but impromptu speaking is just not one of them.

  • Mark Caudill
    Reply

    Hey guy’s, this was a great podcast for a lot of reasons, it is good to hear another introvert talk about the struggles of being an introvert and how they deal with their struggles in their own life. Especially someone like Jenn who has built a successful introvert community here online. Jenn is a good role model for us and to hear her being interviewed and discussing our challenges in life is inspirational. Thanks for what you do and how you do it.

  • Sarah Turco
    Reply

    I liked the part of this podcast where you talked about misunderstandings between introverts and extroverts, or even two different types of introverts. I’ve come to a place in my life where my extroverted friends have pretty accepting of my need to be alone and relax sometimes. In fact, I’m having much more trouble with one of my introverted friends from college that I reconnected with recently. She wants to communicate with me 24/7, and that’s just way too much pressure for me. It just goes to show that extroverts aren’t always the bad guys.

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