Tag Archives: Personality type

6 reasons why introverts prefer to write

Lately I’ve been receiving voice-mails from one of my clients asking me to call him back to answer his questions. Not to ignore him, I have primarily responded to his calls with e-mails. This is preferable to getting caught in lengthy phone conversations during a busy time of the day.

Hands on Keyboard

Trying to make the best use of my time at work makes me think of six reasons why introverts—I’m included among them, in case you’re wondering—sometimes prefer to write rather than converse over the phone or in person.

Conversations can have no limit. Have you been involved in one-sided conversations, where you’re the one doing most of the listening? Although introverts are said to be good listeners, being treated as a sounding board is not their idea of fun.

When communication is conducted with the buffer of e-mail, it is two-way and the introvert feels engaged in the conversation.

Self-promotion is easier in writing. Some people call self-promotion bragging because it means speaking highly of themselves, but I tell them it’s not bragging if 1) it’s true and 2) you’re asked about your accomplishments.

Nonetheless, self-promotion can be uncomfortable for introverts, particularly if they have to deliver it verbally. When I want to make my manager aware of an accomplishment, I shoot her an e-mail.

Writing is less exhausting. An introvert feels like he’s on stage when he has to talk at extended lengths of time. An extravert doesn’t want to leave the stage.

The act of speaking is not problematic for the introvert, it’s sustaining the conversations over a long period of time that drains their batteries. Writing gives introverts a welcome break from hours of speaking.

Writing gives introverts time to think. Introverts prefer to think before speaking, while extraverts sometimes speak before thinking. We tolerate the chatty extraverts—it’s their nature. But an introvert doesn’t want to be misunderstood and writing prevents this.

One strength I admire about the extravert is her propensity for small talk, because I struggle with it. But when it comes to writing, I can write my thoughts in my own sweet time.

Writing is required to conduct a successful job search and succeed in business. That’s only part of it, though. Great verbal communication skills are necessary in networking, telephone communications, and of course the interview.

But when it comes to writing a résumé , cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and other correspondences, an introvert is at his best. At work the introvert feels most creative when he writes. He’d rather have time to reflect; leave the brainstorming to the extravert.

Writing is fun. I know I don’t speak for all introverts, but some consider writing as a release of creativity and a way to express their thoughts to a larger audience.

Because you blog, write novels or poems, or simply keep a diary; does that mean you’re an introvert? Of course not. There are plenty of extraverts who love to write. I just happen to be one who enjoys writing every day. Call me nuts.


I remember a time in college when a schoolmate asked me what I thought was more important, verbal or written communications. I immediately said “written communications,” and he argued for verbal communications.

His argument was sound and he spoke compassionately about being able to address audiences real-time. I was taken off-guard and was unprepared to make my remarks. As I was leaving the room, he seemed to be talking unaware of my absence.

Advertisements

The introvert extra and extravert ham

One thing I hate about a party is a loudmouth who demands the attention of the whole room. That’s why when my wife said we were invited to a good friend’s party last week, my jaw clenched and I told her I’m not staying past 10:00 pm, and oh yeah, we’re traveling in two cars.

I really dig our friends and the majority of cast of characters who comprise the group, but there’s one woman who exhibits one trait of an extravert–the propensity to speak. Except, in her case she dominates a group with her incessant talking.

On the flip side is a male member of the group who is as quiet as a mouse, but when the time is right, he’ll tell a story that will make you laugh until it hurts. Like the story about going camping with a bunch of his buddies. How they had one match between them to light a fire and how they relied on their  Boy Scout experience to light that fire.

Other than a story like this, he rarely says much, preferring to stand among the men in the group and stare into the glow of the fire. I attempt to prompt him with talk of sports and our children, but there’s little in return.

After my friend and the rest of the fathers have it with warming our hands by the fire that night it’s time to go inside where the wives and children are gathered around the woman who is talking about nothing in particular and, it seems to me, literally sucking the air out of the room.

A reader commented on one of my blog posts saying that an extravert who exerts herself excessively can be a ham, whereas an introvert who stays in the background too much runs the risk of being an extra. I see the woman of whom I speak the ham and the man who delivers the hilarious story, albeit infrequently, the extra. I also ponder the question of how introverts and extraverts can better communicate with each other.

  1. First, each type needs to be cognizant of the need for the other to be heard.
  2. Second, active listening must be involved, not merely the appearance of listening.
  3. Lastly, each type must be willing to contribute to the conversation. As I think about the times my male companion and I stand by the fire in silence, I wonder if both of us are doing our part in building a conversation.

My good friend and champion of introverts, Pat Weber, adds about the need for extraverts to be considerate of introverts, “Often times as introverts we aren’t going to share much personal information in a conversation. Extroverts who are aware of this will fare better by giving us some space, with silence, to let us have a moment or so to think! Silent space is one of the most appreciated gifts of better communications with us. Then we can keep our end of things up.”

Introverts have an obligation to contribute to the conversation and not be content with listening to a one-way dialog. Although it may require more energy and adaptability, the introvert doesn’t have to sustain the effort forever. A lack of effort indicates to others aloofness and disinterest–it’s insulting. When all the words are distinguished like the fire in London’s short story, it’s perfectly fine to leave the party…in the second car.