At a party this weekend, I found myself witnessing an Introvert and an Extrovert in a conversation. Introvert was waiting for her opportunity to speak. She was very polite and patient. She was waiting for that pause that’s long enough to denote that Extrovert has finished her point.
But Extrovert doesn’t pause! She went blah blah blah the whole time. Any silence in the conversation that’s longer than 1/2 a second seems to her that no one wants to speak, and then she just starts speaking again. Extrovert’s thinking time, patience and pauses are much shorter, and any silences longer than 1/2 a second is deemed to be awkward, while Introvert is much more comfortable with silence so only when you stop speaking for 3 seconds, she thinks it’s her turn to jump in.
Then at the end of it we all wanted to grab food when Introvert said to me, ‘Hum. I need to catch you later, I’m making a mental note about all the things you said: about coffee, art, culture..’ That hit me – she’s paying attention the whole time and waiting for her chance!
What does this mean?
For extroverts: Try pausing for 5 seconds after sharing your idea and force yourself to live with the silence even when you’re not comfortable with it! Ask the other people questions to invite them to share their ideas!
For introverts: recognise that you don’t need to wait till the other person stops talking before you talk, otherwise you will never be able to talk!