I received a couple of the best compliments over the past few days. And they weren’t even meant to be compliments.
One was at work. The whole team has been in training together this week. I mentioned that as an introvert, I did really need recharge time, and people were genuinely surprised that I’m introverted. Someone even said “You think you’re an introvert?” as if I had it wrong!
I absolutely know I’m an introvert. I spend so much time alone and quite enjoy it. I enjoy people too, but only for a limited time and then I want to read, or nap, or workout. Alone.
I was surprised my coworkers didn’t realize I’m introverted. But it does sort of make sense. I’m not shy at work, which is what people often, and incorrectly, conflate with introversion. I’m very opinionated and vocal on the work and how we do it. I also share sort of personal stories with the whole team. But that’s because certain things I don’t have the common social hangups on.
It’s lovely to not really care what other people think. I care, but only to a certain extent. I don’t let my perception of their opinions determine my feelings of self worth. I think that’s why I feel safe sharing. I don’t have as much social risk of, “oh, no… What will they think?”
I do still value others’ opinions, but it honestly depends on the person and the situation. And I try to use even negative opinions in a constructive way… If multiple people get the same impression, even if they’re wrong, there’s probably a reason for it so it’s useful info and I can change how I interact with them (or not) if I want a different result.
Anyways… Back to compliments. The other was from a good friend of mine on the same topic. She was also surprised I’m introverted! She was referring to the personality tests we took awhile back. I’m INTJ and she’s ESFP. And she was saying that I don’t seem introverted when we’re out!
I do have one difference from my introverted brethren when it comes to going out. I love crowds and lights and noise. But I love it for the anonymity. I can go to a club all by myself, not make friends with anyone either, and still have a great time. I enjoy having the people there and all of us dancing and smashed up on each other and not know or have any desire to know who they are. It is just fun. Pure physical fun.
The reason these extroversion compliments are so great is because I conflate it with NOT being socially awkward. I’m not positive that’s what they mean, but that’s how I see it. And that is the thing that I’ve had as a weakness and have been working on since grade school.
I did read something about compliments for INTJs that said they don’t normally take them well. The things they’re naturally strong at, such as logical planning, they don’t need the praise of others. We’re not looking for praise, we want the plan to be implemented and to see it work. And once it “works,” it then needs to be improved.
Complimenting the plan or the first results is actually a bit scary because I don’t know if that signals complacency and if the complimenter sees the variables I do and what could go wrong and opportunities for further improvement.
But the BEST compliment is on a weakness. Through the power of Google, I found that site and here are the lines that I completely agree with:
With our great strengths comes a long list of weaknesses, especially the social skills mentioned above. Some of us spend years working to improve in these areas, and any praise we get is surprisingly meaningful. A simple, “You’re really great at handling clients,” or “I never would have guessed you think of yourself as a nerd; you’re always so charming” will melt an INTJ’s heart.
That’s what happened this weekend. I was complimented twice on my weakness! And it melted my heart.