Introverts and extroverts can seem like different species at times. Each has their own needs, and sometimes, when you’re so strongly one way, it can be difficult to understand the other. As an extrovert, an introverted friend of yours might seem strange.
You could be as different as night and day, but if you love that introvert, then you’re probably desperate to find ways to understand them.
Truths to Help You Understand Your Introverted Friend
1. They Don’t Want You to Invite Extra People
Big group interactions are hard, big groups with unexpected people are even harder. When you make plans with an introverted friend, they’re looking forward to it being exactly the way they expect it to be. Blindsiding them with new faces could be extra draining and a little intimidating.
If the extra people are strangers or just acquaintances, then you might send your introvert running. Save them the discomfort and worry and don’t surprise them with extra people. Remember, introversion isn’t about social anxiety, it’s about energy. More people mean more lost energy.
2. They Don’t Want You to Show Up Unannounced
Our homes are our safe havens. This is even more true for an introvert. In our homes, we rest and recuperate in our own private ways. Your introverted friend needs time to themselves, and they probably feel safe inside their houses, knowing they can heal on their own time.
If you show up unannounced, you could be interrupting essential healing time. Without this time, you might be hindering their ability to recover. Introversion is all about energy. Introverts lose their energy quickly in social situations, even if you think they’re low-intensity events. Your introverted friends need to be alone to rebuild their strength.
Introverts may also be more uneasy about confrontation and therefore won’t want to ask you to leave. You could be causing them to feel overwhelmed and unable to be honest about their needs.
3. They Don’t Want You to Arrange Surprises
On that subject, don’t surprise them at all. Your introverted friend probably doesn’t want a surprise party on their birthday, a surprise visit from a friend or a surprise extra guest at dinner. They want to go into things with an idea of what to expect. Without that security, you might knock them off balance and ruin the experience altogether.
Save yourself the trouble and plan ahead and let them in the loop.
4. They Don’t Want You to Pressure Them for “Excitement”
Big days out, busy parties and large groups can be daunting. They can be incredibly draining on your introverted friend’s energy. That’s not to say they’ll never want any of those things, but if they say no, you should take their word for it.
Your introverted friend trusts you to never pressure them outside of their limits. Without those safe boundaries, you might lose your friend. Respect their wishes and believe them when they say they aren’t up to something.
5. They Don’t Want You to Call
Many introverts, and even shyer extroverts, hate phone calls. The pressure to think on the spot and fill silences can be terrifying. The inability to see the reactions and emotions of the person at the other end can make people incredibly uneasy.
Unless you’re certain that your introverted friend is happy with phone calls, try to avoid calling out of the blue. If you have to call, send a message first. If you don’t have to call, don’t do it at all.
6. They Don’t Want Constant Contact
For some introverts, social media and texting is a godsend. The perfect way to keep in touch from a long distance. However, some might need time away from that too. The constant connection might be an energy drain too.
If your introverted friend needs to go MIA for a while, let them. They’ll come back when they feel refreshed. Pestering them for contact and attention might cause them to need more time alone.
7. You Shouldn’t Take It Personally
Any introvert will tell you that alone time is essential. They crave silence and rest. It’s understandable that you might take this personally when it’s your introverted friend that’s closing down. Always remember that their isolating behavior isn’t a sign that they don’t like you. Their behavior isn’t a reflection on how they feel about you.
Don’t judge them as rude or cold when they don’t want to hang out. Your introverted friends just need time for themselves. If you put your emotions into the situation, you might risk pushing them away. Understand that they have needs that might not match up with your own, and that doesn’t have to affect your friendship.
8. You Should Encourage Them to Talk
You definitely shouldn’t put your introverted friends on the spot and force them to talk, but you should leave doors open for them. Introverts struggle to talk in crowds, due to nerves and typically being quieter than most.
In intimate settings, you could ask them questions you know they’ll want to answer. You could also leave conversation openings to them, so they can pitch in with a story when they would usually stay silent. Introverts tend to be more thoughtful than others, so there’s no telling what hidden depths you might be missing by not helping them speak.
9. Let Them Make the Plans
Usually, introverts don’t feel comfortable with spontaneity. They don’t like not knowing the plans and they don’t like leaving the plans in the hands of other people. Most of the time, if you exclude the introverts from your planning stage, or don’t have one at all, you’ll be faced with a hundred questions and a lot of negotiations. And even then, they still might be too unsure to attend.
Save yourself the hassle and let your introverted friends be part of the planning. If they know what to expect and what they’re comfortable with it, they’re more likely to show up.
10. Give Them Down-Time
Introverts don’t tend to crave being busy, especially if that means socializing. They don’t need to fill their time with company or excitement. It might seem strange to an extrovert, but your introverted friend is probably completely fine doing nothing for days.
If you want to spend time together, suggest low-intensity hangouts for you to share. Let them dictate the schedule too, sometimes they’re going to want to leave early. That doesn’t mean you have to too, they probably don’t want company anyway, but they’d appreciate your understanding.
If you let them enjoy time away from the spotlight and the noise, you’ll be more likely to have a happier, more engaged friend.
Introverts and extroverts might make a strange pairing, but that doesn’t mean they can’t form long-lasting and meaningful friendships. Introverts keep their thoughts and lives private until someone gains their trust. When you show that you understand them, you could be welcomed into their secret world of untold depths. Introverts can be very loyal and once you’ve been let in, you’ll never be out.
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