15th September 2021
by HealthyMe Digital

Are you someone that will start a conversation at a networking event? Or, would you prefer for someone else to make the first move? Do you consider yourself outgoing and gregarious? Or, would you describe yourself as more introspective?

When we first meet people, we either initiate the interaction or respond to the other person's initiating moves. It is important to know that neither way is better or worse.

Am I more initiating or responding?

Use the below information as a guide to determine your role when interacting with others. This information has been summarised from Linda Beren’s book Understanding Yourself and Others: An Introduction to Interaction Styles.


Focus on – external world

Intent – reach out, interact

Behaviour – initiates interactions, fast pace, extravert and gregarious

Comfort Zone – comfortable making the first move, less comfortable with silence

Examples – think out loud, speak and act quickly, easier to get to know

Tendencies – impatient with a slow pace, surprised when people do not want to talk, want regular feedback and opportunity for interaction

(Berens, 2001)


Focus on – internal world

Intent – reach in, reflect

Behaviour – responds and reflects, slower pace and patient, introverting and solitary

Comfort Zone – less comfortable making the first move, comfortable with silence

Examples – thinks before commenting, reflect and try, harder to get to know

Tendencies – pressured by fast pace, maybe frustrated at lack of time to reflect

(Berens, 2001)

Understanding whether you are ‘initiating’ or ‘responding’ will help you find your ‘best-fit’ interaction style described by Berens – In-Charge™, Get-Things-Going™, Behind-the-Scenes™ or Chart-the-Course™.

Understanding these different styles ultimately helps us more effectively communicate and interact with others.



Berens, L. (2001). Understanding Yourself and Others: An Introduction to Interaction Styles. California: Telos Publications.

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