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Why Being an Introvert Can Make You More Likable

Updated: Dec 13, 2022

(And How to Use This to Make Every Conversation Easier)

“I like you.”

Clue: Listening is Key!

These are the words I desperately wanted to hear growing up as an introvert.

Little did I know, being an introvert during a conversation could actually help people like me more. (It only took me multiple decades to figure this out.)

Today, as a Communication Coach, this topic is one of my favorite things to share with my introverted clients. After I explain it, they usually say something along the lines of “Oh, that makes sense,” or “What a relief,” or “THANK GOODNESS.”

Now, let’s dive in.

Please join me in welcoming Ty Hoesgen as our Beyond Introversion guest blogger. Ty is a perfect example of an introvert who struggled until discovering his true strengths and how to use them to succeed socially and in the workplace by exerting his authentic self. Ty's story is insightful and inspirational. Dive in...

Survival Instincts

Deep down, we all want to be liked on some level. It’s part of our human nature. In our caveman/cavewoman days, if we weren’t liked by our fellow tribe members, there was a chance we would be separated from the group. And back then, being separated from the group meant a much lower chance of survival.

In today’s world, we know that we won’t die if we’re not part of a group (even if it might have felt that way when I was a kid). However, these instincts are so deeply ingrained in us that our subconscious minds still associate isolation with a lower chance of survival. That’s right ⁠— the modern-day desire to be liked and part of a group still comes from prehistoric survival instincts.

If our instincts could talk, they might say: “We’re just helping you stay alive. We care about you!”

I Was VERY Wrong About This

Can you remember a time when you met an outgoing extrovert? Not just any extrovert, but a particularly loud, enthusiastic, life-of-the-party type of person?

When I was younger, that was always the person I wanted to be. I wanted to bounce around the room, have a ton of energy, and talk to every person I meet. Oh, and I wanted to say smart things and impress everyone with my stories.

This sounds likable, right? What do you think?

Without getting too deep into my past ⁠— I’ll save that for another blog post ⁠— I’ve spent many years and thousands of hours researching, reading, practicing, and experimenting in order to figure out the world of communication. I’ve worked with introverts, extroverts, and people of all skill levels from around the world.

On a fundamental level, I’ve learned that humans have one thing in common. We want something during a conversation.

It has nothing to do with dancing around the room and having a ton of energy. Or saying smart things. Or impressing people with your stories. I was wrong about this for most of my life.

During an interaction, humans want to feel heard.

You Know How it Feels…

We really like people who make us feel this way. Can you think of a time when you were talking to someone, and you could tell they were really engaged with what you were saying?

Their phone was away, their full attention was on you, and they seemed interested in what you were saying. You could tell they really cared about listening to you in that moment. How did it feel? And how did you feel about that person?

On the flip side, can you think of a time when someone interrupted you? Or you were talking to someone, and they were staring at their phone? They didn’t seem to care at all about listening to you. How did it feel? And how did you feel about that person?

If you approach every situation with the goal of making the other person feel heard, you can immediately become more likable, and your conversations will become easier.

How Does This Apply to Introverts?

As an introvert, do you find it easier to speak for an hour or listen for an hour? If you had to choose, which one would you rather do? If you’re like me and the many introverts I know, you’d probably prefer to listen.

This is an extremely valuable quality to have for being likable. Why? Because people want to feel important. They want to feel that others care about them. They want to feel valued.

Listening to a person and giving them your full attention is one of the best ways to make a person feel like this, which is one of t