Quiet types may not love social gatherings, but they’re not always content to bury their heads in the sand, either. To help them feel more at ease in a group setting, match and mirror their voice volume and rate of speech, and stand beside, rather than in front, of them when you’re chatting, suggests body language expert and author Patti Wood. And don’t feel uncomfortable with “awkward” silences. “Research shows introverts may need as long as eight seconds of quiet before they respond,” says Wood. Maintain eye contact and wait—chances are good that they’ll come back with a thoughtful response.
You may not think extroverts need help in social situations, but they sometimes feel pressured to keep the conversation going. Stoke their confidence and allow them to be in the spotlight by asking questions. “Your interest will spur them on,” said Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, author of The Genius of Opposites. “I always ask about someone’s shoes or jewelry,” San Francisco investment advisor Anne-Marie Fowler told Real Simple. “Both make statements about a person, and that opens up a lot of other topics.”