“What kind of music do you listen to?” has become one of the most commonly used icebreakers. It’s also a question that most introverts dread. For introverts, music is a way to relax and turn inward. We love the way music transports us to another place, especially when the real world is overwhelming or boring.
When people ask introverts what kind of music we like, we might struggle to answer. Whether we give a curt response or a long and overly detailed list, there is a lot of room for misunderstanding. Because here’s the thing.
Most people view music as a means of unity and social identity. Millions of people listen to the same list of top 100 songs that everyone is tuned into.
A few among those Billboard toppers refuse to fade away and eventually become a part of an oldies list that a generation can relate to and unite over. People from every ethnicity listen to music that helps them relate to their community. Music also sets the mood in every scenario. These days, some artists are using sound photography wherein they use technology to bring visual imagery, auditory senses, artists and feelings together like never before.
An introvert’s music preferences
Introverts often listen to music at home, on the subway, or during our lunch break, when we need some recharge time. We love music because it pleases our senses, without overwhelming us. It also helps with self-contemplation. Introverts don’t listen to specific types of music to impress anyone, but rather, to find a sound that inspires and rejuvenates us.
Music has always been a social tool. People love asking about music preferences because it instantly reveals something about your age, preferences, values, personality, and ethnicity. The music you love says a lot about you.
When introverts are asked this type of question and they give a non-standard response, people view it as if a barcode scanner at a departmental store just passed over something incomprehensible. The clash in views can make an introvert feel like the odd one out. That’s not the only reason music might be tricky territory for introverts.
The wrong music at the wrong time
Music is meant to bring people together at parties and events. This can be challenging for introverts who often prefer to use music as a way to recover from too much socializing. The wrong music at the wrong time can be extremely aggravating to introverts who are easily overstimulated. But even introverts can admit that the right music creates connection.
The most engaging music is often very complex. It offers a new experience every time you listen to it. Introverts can appreciate the subtleties and complexities of great music, just like we can appreciate the complexity of other people and their differing music tastes.
The message given by an introvert’s type of music doesn’t necessarily require verbal expression. So, the next time someone asks you what kind of music you listen to, just say, “the best kind”.
I like your response, “the best kind”. I, too, use music in a special way. Yes, I enjoy listening, but often times there are lyrics that I can really relate to. When I was going through a terrible broken heart and crying everyday, I listened to Lady Gaga “The Fame Monster” and Amy Winehouse “Back To Black”. That music helped me heal.
The worst place to listen to music? When you’re a passenger in someone else’s car. It doesn’t even matter the kind of music, which I may enjoy in another situation. But in a car with someone else, I’d rather have a conversation without the music. This gives me a pounding headache, music and socializing in a car. Maybe it’s the feeling of not being able to escape soon enough.
All that said, I love being an introvert. It took me many years to appreciate my introvert attributes and qualities. Thank you.