Everybody thinks those boisterous types are the life of the party, right? Sure they command center stage with their booming voices and back-slapping ways, but we know the real winners of the mid-life game and they are the introverts. Here's why:
1. When their friends want to fix them up, they know how to demur politely.
Sure they may be spending the evening with their two favorite men -- Ben & Jerry -- but more often than not, that carton of Cherry Garcia is a better conversationalist than their friend's freshly divorced second cousin.
The thing about middle-age introverts is that they've learned how to enjoy their own company. A good book, an unwatched Netflix series, and a restaurant that delivers are often the only ingredients they need for a satisfying weekend. Don't underestimate the ability to amuse yourself.
Introverts are sometimes mistaken for being shy or awkward in social situations. Don't forget the third option: Alone by choice and fine with it.
2. They understand that you don't need to just recharge from work, but from being sociable too.
Introverts know that smiling constantly hurts your face after a while and being forced to continuously make small talk with people you don't know has probably been linked to migraines in some study somewhere.
Recharging isn't just something you need to do after working too hard. Creating space for yourself is equally important. Being "on" involves effort, and everyone needs to be able to turn it off once in a while. Introverts are better at turning it off.
3. They are better at being more selective.
Introverts understand that you can have strong social skills, but still wish you were home in your pajamas. They may attend and even enjoy parties and business meetings, author of "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking" Susan Cain has said, but they prefer to devote their real social energies to close friends, colleagues, and family. By the time you reach middle age, this weeding process should be well underway in all of us -- including extroverts. Life is about figuring out your priorities and not wasting time on the ones -- or the people -- that don't matter. Introverts have been doing this their whole lives.
4. They know that the ceiling on house guests is two nights.
Introverts have mastered the art of discouraging out-of-town visitors from spending a week camped out in their family room. They just don't offer, that's how. And when their college roommate calls to announce she and her family will be in town next month, they respond with "That's great! Do you need some help finding a nice hotel?" If this isn't an admirable skill, we don't know what is.
It certainly beats being the person we know who bought a beach house for solitude and instead caters to non-stop house-guests all summer. "It's fun for awhile," she says, "and I'm glad they all have a nice vacation -- but I wind up exhausted from entertaining them."
5. They don't feel obligated to rush in and fill the pause.
Silence isn't awkward or uncomfortable for introverts. They are perfectly happy letting someone else assume the responsibility for the conversation. It's a life skill that comes in handy on multiple occasions. They listen better, more deeply, don't rush to say the first thing that comes into their head.
By not assuming ownership of every conversation, they learn more. It makes sense: Nobody ever learned anything by talking, right?
6. They don't need to have their nose in everyone's business.
Introverts understand that sometimes just observing a conflict from afar is more interesting and fulfilling than becoming involved in it directly. They also appreciate that by doing this, they sometimes become the trusted friend to which both halves of the divorcing couple turn. Why pick sides if you don't have to?
7. They have no interest in gossip.
Gossip, at its best, is a conversation gap filler. It's what happens when people run out of ideas to talk about so they switch to talking about people. This alone makes introverts morally superior people.