Tag Archives: Sophia Dembling

A Passionate Introvert Speaks Up

Dr. Brian Little’s TedX Talk, Confessions of a Passionate Introvert is great fun and highly relatable. Dr. Little was profiled in Susan Cain’s book Quiet. He also made a few points that resonated with me and a few that I question.

1) Many people don’t believe he is an Introvert. I constantly am told this from Introverted leaders.  This is all because they act “as if” they are confident and expressive. Dr. Little calls it acting “out of character.” Introverts tell me that playing an outgoing role is required in most organizations and so they play the part.

2) Extroverts and Introverts respond to optimal levels of arousal. This has to do with the Neocortex in the brain. E’s often are depleted when there is not enough going on. I’s on the other hand are happy when the stimulation is low.  I learned in my research that there is even a term called “bathroom solitude. ” Introverts will escape to bathrooms as a respite from all the noise they encounter. My introverted husband Bill visibly winces when he is quietly cooking dinner and I enter the room with talk, turned on light switches and music:)

3) Extroverts get personal more quickly. They move close in conversations and get familiar faster. “Charles” becomes “Charlie” in that first meeting. Introverts on the other hand, take their time in getting to know you and “Charles” remains “Charles” until given permission to use a nickname like “Charlie.” I also often encounter Introverts who wonder why Extroverts move into their physical space. Extroverts are frustrated trying to connect with Introverts through eye contact and light touching as they make their points.

4)  Introverts are less direct than Extroverts. He cites the example of his colleague who wasted no time in describing someone as an “___hole” whereas Dr. Little beat around the bush in describing this person. I don’t agree with his view on this difference. I know plenty of Introverts who get to their blunt point quickly! I suspect there are other personality factors at play here.

5) Introverts have less sex than Extroverts. He shows a chart that indicates that both male and female Extroverts have more sex than Introverts. While this is intriguing I wonder about his research. Like most sex research, it was most likely self-reported and we know about the questionable reliability of that data!  Perhaps the Extroverts exaggerated their numbers? Dr. Little did mention that in addition to quantity we need to consider quality.  I will have to ask my friend Sophia Dembling, author of The Introvert’s Way and the upcoming book Introverts In Love  about her opinion on this one.

I give Dr. Little points for his stance as a “Passionate Introvert”. This “Passionate Extrovert” is glad we can bring humor into the discussion of our differences. The Comedian Victor Borge was right when he said, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”

World Domination for Introverts

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I met author and blogger Sophia Dembling online at the start of the wave of introvert attention.  I love her book The Introvert’s Way, a laugh out loud treatise on the inside experience of living as an introvert. She also wrote a great piece called, “Nine Signs You Might Be An Introvert” that might help many of you answer the perennial question about your introvert identity:) Am I one?

We had the chance to meet in person in her adopted home town of Dallas, TX. and it was like we had always known each other. She didn’t “appear” introverted in the stereotypical sense. Outgoing, verbal and funny, we joked that she would go back home and take a nap after our time together.

I found myself returning to Sophia’s quotes when writing Quiet Influence. She is a very wise woman.

Some samples…
“Introversion 3.0 is when we stop arguing with prevailing extroversion, stop justifying our behavior (to ourselves as well as others), stop fitting our introversion in where we can and instead consciously and intentionally act in ways that put our strengths to use. We’re getting a handle on the touchy-feely stuff, now it’s time for some nuts and bolts…………..”

And Sophia continues,

“In all my reading, writing, and talking about introversion, I’ve discovered that the more familiar I become with my own introversion, and the more my choices consciously factor it in, the easier it is to do things that once were odious. Knowing I’m not required to answer the phone makes it easier to answer. Our evolving understanding of introversion shines an entirely new light on our behaviors. And they look a lot better than they used to.

Among the many things I’ve learned through comments on this blog (referring to her popular Psychology Today blog) is that introverts are different as snowflakes. Our thresholds for energy depletion, our motivation to interact with people, certainly our interests and abilities, all vary wildly. But we also have many broad similarities. And what we know about introverts in general provides an interesting framework on which to structure our behavior for maximum effect.

That’s what Quiet Influence is about. It pushes back against the not-so-truism that you have to be an extrovert to succeed, and discusses ways introverts can consciously play to our strengths.

And that, my friends, is the next step towards introvert world domination.”

I love the idea of a quieter, calmer, more thoughtful world. Who knows, Sophia may just be right.