Why I Listen: Podcasts and Introversion

It’s a the subject du jour. BuzzFeed alone has done 15 lists on the topic. Yep, ironic as it may be, introverts have taken center stage recently. Everybody’s talking about them.

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Studies say one third of Americans can claim the introvert mantle. MENSA says it’s closer to one fourth, but who’s counting?

Here are a few of the more salient characteristics of introversion:

  • Introverts don’t thrive in social situations.
  • They’d rather observe than participate.
  • They need a certain amount of quiet time to recharge their batteries.
  • They don’t do well in “brainstorming” sessions.
  • Self-promotion is an alien concept to them.

What do Podcasts Have to Do With Introversion?

So what does this have to do with podcasts you ask? Well, everything. According to Susan Cain, author of Quiet: the Power of Introverts, I’d probably fall in the “ambivert” category, as I exhibit both introvert and extrovert characteristics. I assume this is a good thing.

A lot of the traits I mentioned above ring true for me. They’re my proverbial squeaky wheel. They need and get the grease. For example, I feel icky for a good hour after I “self-promote.” I get grumpy if I can’t be by myself for at least an hour a day. And simple conversations can wear me out. I need to disconnect and observe a conversation incognito, like a fly on the wall to truly enjoy it.

That may sound odd, voyeuristic or even intrusive to some of you, but truth is; some of us aren’t entirely present in so many of our day-to-day interactions. We’re constantly gauging your expectations of us, and critiquing our own performance. We expend a lot of energy faking extroversion.

Socializing in Silence

Podcasts are perfect for me. They’re perfect for those of us who thrive on the deep thought a podcast can cultivate. With podcasts, we’re able to meet an underlying preference to socialize in quieter ways.

To me, podcasts are social learning exercises. I listen to them on my way to work and then again on my way home. They serve two functions. In the morning, they get my brain going. They prepare me for a day of meetings and interruptions. In the evening, they allow me to shut down and just listen. I don’t have to respond, or prepare to respond. Instead of expending that energy, I can start store it up for another day.

To tie things up, I found a Talk of the Nation segment on the value of the introvert. Take a listen: The Quiet Strength Of Introverts In The Workplace

 

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