How to Deal With Not Being an Extrovert

I’ve been interviewing for jobs recently and what I kept reading about was how interviews are to determine if someone is likeable, not if they are qualified (you already know that). This is annoying because it really favors an extroverted type of personality without regard to who really is someone you’d like working with a lot more.

Everyone loves the life of the party. Which is weird, because I feel like there’s no actual reason to prefer extroverts over introverts beyond the fact that the former can make you feel more immediately comfortable in a social situation.

I think there are two ways of being likeable, Woo and Relation. A salesperson is a Woo person because they love to talk to a stranger, a social worker is a Relation person because they make their persuasion through forming a relationship. Notice that sales is a much more lucrative profession than social worker.

I also think of these two things in terms of Work Horses and Show Ponies. As an introvert I can see all the extroverts around me excel at selling themselves and their projects, but being too busy chatting with their coworkers to make the actual content of their projects good. But I’ve learned that both parts are equally important. Because I’m naturally good at being focused and making great content, I just value it more and pretend the things I suck at don’t matter.

The truth is that appearances are important, how you present yourself is important. You could be the greatest _____ in the world but if you can’t get anyone to listen to you, it’s pointless. There’s this huge misconception that all the geeks in high school turn out to be super successful while the jocks work at Burger King. I think it’s closer to the other way around because people that are popular are popular because they have great social skills.

It would be great if no one ever judged a book from it’s cover, but that is de facto never going to happen. Ever. And it’s not even a bad thing. Yes, I think we value extroversion a little too much but it is important to be likeable. You can probably become likeable just by being nice and following things you are passionate about. The geekiest introverts in the world get happy and excited to talk to strangers when it’s about their pet project.

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