Does the photo above look familiar to you? If so – congratulations! You’re in a relationship with an introvert!
This introvert might be your romantic partner, friend, child, parent or even yourself. No two introverts are exactly alike – some are more introverted than others, some are outgoing introverts, some are shy introverts – but these simple care tips will help you to have a long, enjoyable relationship with your introvert.
- Give your introvert a minute. We are not always fast on our feet and sometimes we need a while to adjust to a new situation. We need to quiet the voices in our head and figure out what we really think. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can get the words together in a succinct way.
- Understand that if we never call you, it’s because we have a deep and eternal hatred of talking on the phone. Texts or emails are how we connect.
- Please don’t tell us to not be shy. Shy is different from introverted, anyway, and it’s pretty much like telling someone not to be tall. It also insinuates that there is something wrong with us. Not everyone needs to be extroverted.
- Last minute invites are often challenging for introverts. Dinner with just one close friend usually takes several days to gear up for. Large gatherings (more than three people) need even more emotional prep. Sometimes, we just can’t manage it. No offense. But please keep inviting us to things, with as much notice as possible, because we have a wonderful time when we’re psyched up for it.
- New people can be intimidating, but we’ll warm up. Introverts don’t need an army of friends, but we have a tight inner circle of people who we love wholeheartedly.
- If we leave early, it’s not because we are having a bad time. It means we are leaving before we get overwhelmed. We probably had an absolutely lovely time.
- We love the environment but we’re not carpooling because we need to have our own get-away car, in case we need to leave early. (See above.)
- We are not judging you, we’re just good listeners. We are not bored or annoyed or zoning out. We like observing. We’re just taking it all in and we’ll share our thoughts when it feels appropriate.
- Small talk will make us want to peel off our fingernails, but engage us in a conversation about the deeper things in life and we’ll talk for hours.
- “My introvert is being quiet. Sitting on the couch, reading a book and looking serious. Is there something wrong with my introvert?”
- There is nothing wrong with your introvert. This is her natural state. Allow her to recharge. Maybe bring her more tea.
- “My introvert said she didn’t want to come out with me to a concert with all of my friends. Does she hate me?”
- No. Your introvert still loves you. In fact, she loves you so much that a quiet dinner and a Netflix binge sounds much better to her.
- “My introvert invited me to go to a loud concert with all of her friends/is talking in front of a large group/seems to be enjoying the company of others. I feel like I don’t know her anymore. Is my introvert still an introvert?”
- Yes! But sometimes even introverts enjoy extroverted activities. Some introverts are great at public speaking and performance. Just be aware that she will likely need lots of downtime afterwards to recover.
- “Only, like, two of these things apply to my introvert.”
- People are different. We are not actually like plants. This is just the guide I wish I could hand out to everyone in my life.
(For a great read on introversion – check out Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking by Susan Cain.)