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The extravert’s guide to communicating with introverts

Polar opposites can get along

Society and culture generally prefer and uphold extraverted tendencies. Being outgoing, comfortable in large groups and able to make small talk with just about anyone. However, at least a third (or maybe even half) of the population is introverted.

Introverts are just as capable as extraverts at socializing, but more often than not introverts prefer a quiet evening at home to a large party. This difference is just a function of different wiring in the brain. Here are a few things more extraverted people should keep in mind when interacting and communicating with introverts in their lives.

1. Introverts need time to think

Introverts prefer to think through their responses before they speak. If you ask them a complicated or important question, it may take them a few moments or minutes to compose their response. Introverts aren't quite as skilled or comfortable as extraverts in speaking off the cuff. They need a little more time to process the question before giving their answer. But this isn't always a bad thing. Because of this tendency, introverts generally give more thoughtful answers.

2. Don't expect too much in large social gatherings

Extraverts thrive in large groups. They love talking to multiple people at once and are usually right in the middle of the action. Introverts prefer to hang back and examine the situation before diving in. This might make them appear more socially awkward or shy, but most aren't. Introverts often find large social gatherings overwhelming because of the vast amount of external stimulus. Introverts are much more sensitive to this than extraverts and need a little more time to adjust.

3. Strike up conversations about subjects of mutual interest

Most extraverts love small talk. Introverts actually prefer deeper and more thoughtful conversations. There's only so much you can say about the weather. To really engage an introvert, strike up a conversation with them about a topic you both enjoy. It could be anything from sports to a movie to a recent news event. Introverts love discussing the nitty gritty detail rather than just skimming the surface.

4. Give them space to recharge

Extraverts thrive in social situations. Introverts thrive in quiet, subdued spaces. Introverts can hold a conversation just as well as anyone. However, being around others for too long causes mental tiredness. To recharge, introverts will take some time to themselves. It is important that you allow them this space. Try not to talk it personally. This doesn't mean they are trying to hurt you or ignore you. Introverts just need some space away from others to fully relax and recharge.