It took a lockdown in the form of a virus for introverts to finally speak up (in writing, of course). For way too long, surely since before the terms were invented, extroverts have been giving introverts unsolicited bad advice about surviving in an outgoing world. It’s time now for introverts to repay the debt and help extroverts survive their own home. The following are a few words of advice to extroverts from introverts.

Disclaimer

This article is written by an introvert who didn't feel like reaching out to extroverts to validate any of the findings. My advice to extroverts is based on the following assumptions:

  • All extroverts have a certain minimum number of words per day that they must utter in order to feel motivated and energized. If extroverts do not fill this quota, the deficit will be carried over to the next day. Extroverts may not be aware of this, but this is the reason they feel the need to talk so much.
  • All extroverts need to feel like they are being heard in order to fill their daily word quota. They therefore talk a lot and in a loud voice. They are all aware of it. They don't mean to monopolize conversations, but they don't know how to talk less and in a softer voice.
  • All extroverts feel obligated to accept all social invitations. They are all aware of it. They all want to turn down social invitations so they can rest, but they also subconsciously know that they need to fill their daily word quota. They are torn between the need to talk and the need to rest.

Dear extroverts

We realize that you have to reach a minimum number of words in a day in order to feel motivated and energized. We don't understand it, but we accept it, and we're here to help you reach this goal. The following are some words of wisdom from us introverts written especially for you extroverts.

A thick book next to a thin book
Word quotas: Daily minimum number of words needed to be uttered by extroverts vs daily word limits for introverts

Even though you are alone, we hear you

Why is this a problem?

Extroverts do not feel as though they are being heard when they are isolated in their house. Without feeling heard, their words will not be counted in their daily quota, which will result in lack of motivation and lack of energy.

What is the solution?

Extroverts must realize that they don't have to feel the physical presence of another human in order to be heard. Today's technology helps everyone to get their words across via phone calls, video conferences, emails, messaging apps, etc. Introverts have been using these successfully for years! Extroverts have obviously also been using these systems, but it is now time for them to step up their acceptance game. Our advice to extroverts: Take this to heart. When you send a message, we hear you! Log it in your word count and move on to the next chat.

Talk in a softer voice

Why is this a problem?

You can talk as loud as you want in your own home, but when things finally go back to normal, you'll quickly be reminded how embarrassing it is to have a loud voice. You don't want the strangers having a peaceful dinner at the other side of the restaurant to hear all about your yeast infection, but you don't know how to talk in a voice that only your table will hear.

What is the solution?

Now that you're alone, it's the perfect time to practice talking in a softer voice. Our advice to extroverts: Take advantage of this time and practice talking softly to your plants. You'll be better for it when you can finally go outside to interact with people. From experience we can tell you that everyone will want and will be able to hear what you have to say, even when you say it softly.

Talk less

Why is this a problem?

Where to begin? Once again, we know you have to reach a quota. That's okay. We promise to help you get there. But there's no need to go over the quota. Nobody benefits from that. Not even you.

Here are just three problems that arise from talking too much:

  • Monopolizing conversations. Talking too much makes you feel (correctly) that you're monopolizing the conversation. When the conversation is finally over, you regret having been the only one talking. See the comments in this admittedly-not-so-great article from Psychology Today. Regret sucks.
  • Talking at others. This may be news to you, but when you're the only one talking, it means that you're talking at people instead of talking with people. You can lecture people all day, but that won't get you a meaningful conversation with anyone but yourself. It makes you sound like an introvert whose inner thoughts are heard by everyone. Yuck! Being an introvert sucks!
  • Mindless chatter. Anyone who seems to listen to the things you don't have to say tunes in and out of your "conversation". This mindless chatter is unhelpful. It does not contribute to your daily minimum of words. It's a waste of time and energy for you and for whoever else is in your vicinity. Wasting time and energy sucks!
Open book with lots of words on park table
Extroverts are like Russian authors: They talk as if they get paid by the word

What is the solution?

Your schedule is undoubtedly full of Zoom calls throughout the day, every day. You have business meetings, social hours with colleagues, and after work happy hours with friends, not to mention your collective workout sessions and art projects. Each call is an opportunity to practice talking mindfully.

Unlike Enlightenment-era Russian authors, you are not paid by the word. Remember that your words are only counted in your daily minimum if you believe that they are being heard. In order to believe your words are heard, they must be meaningful.

Our advice for extroverts to practice meaningful conversations:

  • Set an alarm to go off five minutes into your Google Hangout, Skype call, WhatsApp, or whatever it is that you use.
  • When the alarm goes off, place a period at the end of your sentence, even if you don't feel like you've completed your thought.
  • Mute yourself.
  • Stay muted for at least five minutes. Leave the room completely if you feel like you can't control your mouth.
  • Return to the conversation after five minutes. If it is still going, and you have more to contribute, restart the 5-minute alarm cycle.

Of course, you should prepare your friends/colleagues ahead of time that you're going to do this. Tell them the reason for it. Point them to this blog, so they believe you. They will respect you so much more!

Meaningful conversations will work wonders in filling your daily word quota! You just need to learn to do it properly. With your newly found power of the mute button, you could learn to say only what you have to say, and no more.

Flowchart to help extroverts stop talking
You're an extrovert and you're still talking. How do you stop?

Take a break

Why is this a problem?

Everyone, both introverts and extroverts, need some downtime. For some reason, even when all we want to do is rest, we still feel obligated to accept invitations for social gatherings, be it physical or virtual. Once again, this is based on a comment from the Psychology Today article. You, the extrovert, think people are counting on you. You think you're the life of the party. Maybe you have major FOMO*. If you're not there, what will the introverts talk about?

*FOMO = Fear Of Missing Out (oh yeah, introverts know very well what this is)

What is the solution?

Newsflash: The party will go on without you. Don't worry: Your presence will be missed and it will be so much sweeter the next time you show up. So just stay home for once. Or don't sign into the virtual meeting. It's okay.

Our advice to extroverts: If you are torn between the need to talk and the need to rest, you should evaluate your word quota. If you feel nice and energetic, you may have already filled your quota. You can rest. If you feel a bit too depressed, you may want to accept the invitation, or maybe even initiate a chat, preferably with another extrovert. Feel free to text us introverts and we'll answer if we haven't yet reached our daily word limit.

Final takeaway

Think of yourself as a self-checkout grocery store receipt. You only bought three items but the machine keeps printing on and on and on. Neither introverts nor extroverts benefits from all the paper! All we want is a short list of the items, their price, the date and time, and a total. Why is it so long? Just like this receipt can cut out a lot of useless space, you can cut down on the length of your speech while still delivering the necessities. Clearly, the self-checkout receipt-printing process was created by an extrovert.

**Cover photo by Vladimir Fedotov on Unsplash