Introverts are an interesting breed. We’re the deep thinkers of the world, the creators, the silent ones. However people like to describe us. We’re usually the one’s hanging out on the couch by ourselves at a party, or the ones playing with the host’s cat in the corner.
We’re not the kind for large social interaction and certain things can make us uncomfortable. Having an introvert in your life can be a strange thing if you aren’t one yourself.
Most of the world is ruled by extroverts. Those who thrive in social settings, who need the company of others to feel at home with themselves. If you’ve never befriended or dated an introvert, some of the things we do might not make sense to you, or maybe even offend you at first. I’m here to explain how to properly care for your introvert and understand more of the things we do.
How to Properly Care For Your Introvert
So what is an introvert?
An introvert, at its core, is someone who needs to be alone to recharge and be at full capacity. Crowds tend to drain us, as does a lot of social interaction. We’re usually quiet, but that’s because we’re listening to and thinking about what’s being said instead of getting ready for our turn to speak.
We’re usually not ones for the spotlight, and grandiose gestures can make us uncomfortable. We need time by ourselves to be more like ourselves, and that has nothing to do with our relationship to you.
Why is learning to care for your introvert important?
Well, because some of us are more extreme introverts than others. Meaning that while we all need alone time to recharge, some of us can take more social interaction and small talk than others.
Some of us need to be treated differently than others and if you do the wrong thing it can really screw with the relationship or make us react in a way that can be hurtful to everyone involved.
Each introvert is different, so while these suggestions will help you overall, talking to your introvert is the best way to know what to do.
Sometimes We’re Too Drained to Socialize
Sometimes we think we’re ready for social interaction, or make plans when we’re refreshed and recharged, but when the time to go out comes around, we’re too drained.
This is a real thing that happens. We’re not joking when we say we’re too drained even though we made the plans ourselves.
However, this can go two ways.
We feel drained but once we get out, we’ll have fun
This definitely happens to me when I’ve been “hermiting” for a while. What I mean by “hermiting” is, basically hiding myself in my bedroom for days or weekends at a time without really talking to someone face to face. What that does to us is put us really far into our comfort zone so that just the thought of leaving it is uncomfortable.
If we push past that uncomfortable feeling, we can go out an have a good time! It’s all about getting past that barrier that makes us want to stay home and curl up with our entertainment of choice.
We feel drained and there’s no way we’re leaving the house
Sometimes when we’re drained it’s because we’re actually drained. There’s no pushing past a barrier, getting out of our comfort zone, nothing. We’re drained and we absolutely can not socialize anymore.
There was a time when I was hanging out with a friend and about 3/4 of the way through hanging out my mind and body were like “Nope. You can’t handle people any more”. I stuck it out for a little longer because I felt bad, but there was a definite switch in my ability to be around people. Even though we were just sitting in my living room watching YouTube videos, that was just too much. Just being around another person was too much to handle.
When We Say We Need Alone Time, We Mean Actually Alone
Some people don’t seem to get that when we need alone time, we mean literally alone. Just us in a room with our things, relaxing, recharging, and refreshing ourselves.
Sometimes with roommates, partners, or family, they don’t fully understand why we don’t want to spend time with them. It’s not that we don’t want to spend time with them, it’s that we don’t want to spend time with any other human being and potentially pets.
It has nothing to do with the person or people, it has everything to do with the energy we get from being around another person. Even if you were just silently reading next to us, or watching Netflix with us on the couch together, that can be too much interaction with another human being.
If you try to force us to be around you it will make us uncomfortable, irritable, and potentially very angry with you.
When we’re drained and need alone time it’s because both our mind and body is exhausted.
Think about the last time you can home from a hard day at work, your mind feeling like mush, your body ready to pass out as soon as you enter your home. How would you feel if someone forced you to hang out with them when you’re so done with everything around you?
That’s how it can feel to an introvert when you try to force us to interact with you when we need time to recharge.
We Don’t Like to Be the Center of Attention (at least without warning)
This may not be universal, but I’ve come to believe it might be based on my own experiences and with other introverts. We normally don’t like to be the center of attention. We don’t like other people watching us, looking at us, just having us as the main event.
So if you’re taking your introvert out for their birthday, please don’t tell the waitstaff about it because if we see that group of people walking over with a slice of cake, we will hide. Having to wait while people sing around us, with the rest of the restaurant looking on makes us incredibly uncomfortable and wish we were invisible.
Sometimes this reflects well in our jobs. We like to be the silent-behind the scenes kind of people. That’s exactly what I want in a job. I want to be part of the system, but not the primary focus of it. I like doing things that are behind the scenes, or more on the backend of what goes on.
This also goes for holidays, events like proposals, and maybe even weddings.
Most of us prefer a more personal, intimate setting for things like this. Or, if you’re going to do something with a lot of people involved, let us know before hand. We need to mentally prepare for that kind of thing. And no, I’m not kidding.
We’re Usually Silent for a Reason
You know those kind of people who just won’t shut up? The ones who can talk for hours and hours and say absolutely nothing? That’s the complete opposite of an introvert.
Most of the time when we speak it’s because we have something we have to say. We’re not that big on small talk because of that. We don’t care about minor pleasantries and all that, we rather get straight into the core of the conversation.
But most of the time we’re silent.
Because we’re listening.
Introverts are great listeners and usually like to take in all of the information before processing anything that’s been going on. Sometimes it can take me hours or even days after a conversation to fully process what went on.
If we have to, we’ll have those more superficial conversations about how you’ve been doing and how the kids are, but they’re not exactly our favorite. Some of the more “hermited” introverts might not be up to that though, so it’s to each their own.
The only way you’re going to get an introvert talking their head off is if they really trust you and they’re talking about their favorite subject. Other than that, we’re pretty silent people.
- Sometimes even though we made plans, we’re literally too drained to socialize.
- Occasionally we just need a push, but if you push and we say no, don’t push further. You’ll have an angry introvert on your hands then
- We need our alone time. It has nothing to do with you, we literally reach a point where we can’t handle being in the presence of another human being.
- We don’t like being the center of attention. Please don’t make the waitstaff sing Happy Birthday to us…
- We’re usually silent because we want to be. We’re listeners, not talkers.
Are you an introvert? What are some things I’ve missed on this list? Let me know in the comments!
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