I’m assuming that since you are perusing random blogs and reading about introverts, you either know one or you are one. In case you happen to just stumble on this article and your thinking what the heck is an introvert allow me to explain.
In this world there are introverts and extroverts and they are very different people. Extroverts are the life of the party, fuelled by their interactions with others. They need to talk, to share and just be around other people. They are fantastic friends to have but to an introvert like me, they are exhausting!
Introverts are all unique but in general they are quiet and shy. You’re more likely to find an introvert hiding in a bedroom or in a corner at a party. Does the host have a pet? Cause they’re probably hanging out with the dog. Introverts are drained by everything that keeps an extrovert going. They need quiet and time alone to recharge their batteries.
I am an introvert, who works with people. I am passionate about helping others and so I had to be ok with being around people all day long, but when I go home at night I’m exhausted, and very unsocial.
My husband is an extrovert. He loves parties that go late into the night and is energized by the enthusiasm of others. You would think this relationship is doomed but I think as long as he continues to understand a few things about me, we will be ok. If you find yourself living with or being friends with an introvert… here are some tips to make it work!
Give them time to recharge
Just the idea of having to go from work to a social event gives me panic attacks and tires me out. When I’m done my day I really just need to left alone. I call it “brain off time.” That time when you sit and scroll through Facebook or Pinterest and you think about nothing really. It’s a fantastic time. If my day has been hard, this process might take most of the evening while I recharge my batteries. My Mr. however loves to text me sometime during the day with my all time most hated question – “do you want to see people tonight?” So rarely is the answer to that a yes (and he knows this but he still tries).
If you are living with an introvert, and especially if that person struggles at all with anxiety, you have to give them some time, and you need to be respectful of the amount of time they need. On the other hand, to the introverts reading this, please remember that your extrovert needs those interactions with others and the idea of sitting on the couch in silence with you might sound just awful to them. They need the loud like you need to quiet. So let them go, you will see them later when they have tired themselves out.
Give them some space
I’m a cuddly person when it comes to my Mr. but I would really rather if everyone else would stop touching me. Introverts often don’t appreciate hugs as they come and go (especially not those jump up and down yelling and screaming hugs). We don’t generally like to be touched on the arm as you talk and please, please don’t just stand there with your arm around me. These touches feel to me like fire ants crawling over my skin. It’s painful and uncomfortable, but I’m usually to shy to ask you to stop. It’s a nasty combination of emotions that usually leads me to avoiding these touchy people all together.
I generally think that whichever personality type you fall into, you should respect a persons personal space. I get that you are a hugger, but please make sure that the other person is to before you pull them into your embrace. Read the facial expression. If you see fear when you hold out your arms, retract them and go for the nice handshake instead.
Small groups are better
If you want to make plans with your introvert, consider skipping the house party and opting for a game night or coffee with close friends. Mingling is not something that I am good at and when my Mr. and I got to parties I tend to stay rather close to him. He’s very understanding of this and will often reach for my hand, knowing that the gentle touch means so much comfort for me.
Small groups are so much better for us to because we feel like we can make a real connection with those around us. I hate small talk, like with a passion. If I am going to give you any of my energy in the form of a conversation, it needs to be meaningful and interesting. I love getting into deep philosophical conversations with people, but I can’t stand confrontation. Keep it light and make it worth my time!
Make plans ahead of time
I am getting better about this but it is still a struggle. I don’t take well to having plans thrust upon me. I like to know ahead of time that I am going to be seeing people so that I have time to come to terms with it. It takes effort to mentally prepare myself for it and I have to consciously conserve my energy. I am realistic and I know that sometimes things come up last minute. My Mr. and his friends are all awful at planning things ahead of time, and there have been a few occasions where I have had to tell them to go on without me because I honestly just couldn’t deal.
This has been a big thing for both my Mr. and I but we are finding ways to compromise. I will often try to agree to spontaneous plans if they are with small groups and he tries hard to tell me about plans as soon as they come up. Sometimes I really just need the extra couple hour’s worth of notice to be ready for them.
So since I have been talking about living with my husband the extrovert, I feel I have to mention this. There are some very particular ways to woo your introverted lover. Where some woman might appreciate the grand gesture with all the bells and whistles, I personally love the quiet meaningful ones. The flowers left on the table and the quiet nights spent wrapped in each other’s arms. I am horrible at flirting and I have heard that this is a bit of an introverted trait. I am so rarely really friendly with someone of the opposite sex that I don’t even realize that my friendly conversation is coming off as flirting, and I never realize when I am being flirted with! We don’t play games, and we don’t appreciate grand (and probably exaggerated) stories. Oh and if you think we’re going to make a first move you are SO wrong! However I have seen an introvert get impatient, and they tried to make that move, but it was probably the least graceful thing ever!
So if you’re falling for the mystery behind those quiet eyes, please realize that you are going to need to work hard and take it slow. Be up front but don’t be forceful. Dates are best kept to coffee shops and quiet restaurants and be respectful when they don’t get outwardly excited about everything.
Don’t take it personally
That brings me to my last very important point. Introverts as they usually tend to be rather shy, which can come off wrong if you don’t understand what’s going on for them. I have often been interpreted as being snobby, rude and stand offish, without ever meaning to. I have had panic attacks and had to walk out of a room suddenly, or leave a gathering all together, and that’s often not really seen as a proper thing to do.
Please don’t take these actions personally. They might have something to do with how you acted, but it was probably not your fault. If you’re unaware of the fact that you are dealing with an introvert and not just a snob, you might say something that triggers them into flight mode without ever knowing it. They should communicate those feelings with you but if you’ve been paying attention you will understand how hard that might be for them.
Don’t take it personally; give them quiet and space and you will have the most loyal friend. They will love and appreciate you so much more for your understanding and they will give you the world (as long as they don’t have to interact with it). Introverts are quiet but when they take the time to speak to you, know that it’s a special thing that not everyone is afforded. Love your introverts and they will love you
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