Introverts and extroverts have a tendency to be drawn towards each other — in friendship, in business, even in romance (wink wink).
But the differences that attract them to each other also have a tendency to cause conflict and miscommunication. You see, introverts and extroverts react and respond to stimuli in different, and often, opposite ways.
This is partly why introverts may see extroverts as loud and overbearing. And why extroverts may see introverts as passive and unengaged.
If we want to connect with the opposite personality type, we need to make a few concessions. And it will require us, more often than not, to go out of our comfort zones and meet the other person where they are.
Here are 3 ways we can communicate effectively with the opposite personality type.
1. Adapt to their context
A study by Psychologist William Graziano found that introverts like people they meet in friendly contexts while extroverts prefer people they compete with. This is significant!
In an argument, for example, an introvert might retreat and become more passive to maintain peace. To the introvert, he/she is doing the right thing.
The extrovert, however, may assume that the introvert’s passivity means he/she doesn’t care. So the extrovert raises his/her voice and becomes more assertive just to get some kind of response or engagement. Which makes the introvert retreat even more… again, just to keep the peace and calm the other person down.
Do you see the problem? They both want to resolve the issue. But their ideas of how that should happen are completely opposite to each other’s. The extrovert wants an engaging discussion; While the introvert wants a peaceful concession.
If we want to connect with the opposite personality type, someone has to adapt. Effective communication suggests that the person who adjusts ought to be us.
2. Take the opposite role
Most people think that extroverts like to talk and introverts like to listen.
It’s not always true, but for the sake of discussion, let’s say that generally extroverts are talkers and introverts are listeners.
The common scenario is that the extrovert starts talking and the introvert listens. When the introvert doesn’t engage, the extrovert takes it as a signal to keep on talking. And as the extrovert goes on talking, the introvert takes it as a signal that they should listen even more. On and on the cycle goes…
What we can do in these situations is to take on the opposite role. If you’re the more extroverted one, try playing the listener and ask questions. This way, the introvert knows when to engage and how to engage.
If you’re the more introverted one, find ways to build on the other person’s ideas. Maybe share a story of your own. Or squeeze in a quick comment. This will energize the extrovert and the conversation will be more engaging for both of you.
3. Set boundaries
Like in any relationship, boundaries are important.
Extroverts need more stimulation and they derive their energy from being around other people. While introverts, though they can be socially active and engaged, need to retreat and recharge.
Knowing this will help you set appropriate boundaries.
Don’t take it personally when you’re trying to interact with someone and they aren’t responding as enthusiastically as you would like. Don’t also take it personally when all you want to do is rest but everyone else is wanting you to get off your lazy bum.
Instead, have a discussion on what your expectations are of each other, and set boundaries around those expectations.
Here’s the gist…
Introverts and extroverts react and respond to stimuli in different, and often opposite, ways. This has a tendency to cause conflict and miscommunication.
So here are 3 things we can do to connect and communicate effectively with the opposite personality type:
- Adapt to their context
- Take the opposite role
- Set boundaries
Now, I dont mean to oversimplify the introvert-extrovert dynamic. Im not academically trained on this topic. And this also isn’t meant to be an academic piece. But having this basic understanding of the opposite personality type will help us connect and communicate with them better.
Do you know anyone who needs to read this? Share it with them!