If introversion is a spectrum, I land on the far side — about as far away from being an extrovert as one can get. I’m an INTJ female, and most personality tests gauge me at about 99 percent introverted. (What can I say? I’m an all-or-nothing girl!)
Not surprisingly, friendships have always felt a bit tricky for me. From my matter-of-fact childhood days to my way-too-serious teen years, a girl tribe has always felt strangely foreign to me.
Ironically, it is possible for introverts and extroverts to be besties!
If you’re an extrovert, here are five things your introverted friends probably want you to know.
1. Our Low Social Need Really Isn’t About You
A classic, introvert trait is the ability to self-sustain. I can go days, or probably weeks, without interacting much with people (even people I really like) without feeling the need to socialize. I mean, I literally thrived during the quarantine of 2020!
The honest truth is that most introverts feel very content with their own inner world. This inward orientation is probably why introverts often perform well in careers like accounting, science, writing and editing, IT work, and psychology.
At the end of a busy week, introverts would likely prefer an evening at home over a girls’ night out. This probably feels terribly counter intuitive to people-oriented extroverts, and I can understand why! But honestly, a lack of desire to socialize is not about you. It’s about the way introverts are hard wired to draw from our own inner worlds. Our needs are simply different.
2. Being “Alone” Doesn’t Mean We’re Lonely
I’m a mom of five, and three of my kids have fairly extroverted personalities. Any time my kids go somewhere with their dad and I’m at the house by myself for a while, one of my extroverts will inevitably say, “Mom, do you want me to stay with you? Are you going to be okay by yourself?” My husband (who knows me so well) just smiles and says, “Mom is going to be more than okay by herself.”
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And it’s true. I’m just fine with my own company. A quiet space is like music to my ears. I can dive deep into my own little world and come back to the surface feeling completely revived after a few hours of solitude.
3. The More You Talk, the Less We’ll Talk
This is one thing I think most introverts wish more extroverted friends understood. We’re not going to try to out-talk you. It’s just too exhausting.
If you’ve ever tried conversing with someone who inserts something new about themselves every time you venture a comment, then you know the feeling. That’s a quick way to shut an introvert down. We tend to be good listeners, and we appreciate being listened to as well.
4. We Really Do Like People
I think this is one of the most commonly believed myths — the idea that introverts just don’t like people. Nothing can be further from the truth! Quite the contrary, we are always analyzing people, noticing little details, and collecting information to store and ponder.
On the stage of our minds, the nuances of humanity take the lead. It’s simply that we prefer to watch and support.
We like people (well, most people). What we don’t like is limelight, pressure to be someone we’re not, or feeling overlooked.
5. We’re Fiercely Loyal
Quiet in a crowd? You bet. Slow to make new connections? Right again. A bit standoffish at times? Probably so. The one who’s got your back when the music fades and the party’s over? Every time.
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Maybe it’s because friendships come slowly and with a bit of work for us. Or maybe it’s our solid, insightful natures, or our lack of caring about pleasing the crowd (or even being part of the crowd).
But when life turns hardcore and the crowds walk out, we stay in your corner quietly without fanfare. We are more than willing to listen while you cry it out. We’ll problem-solve with you, point out the qualities in yourself you’ve totally lost sight of, and help you get back on track.
Introverts can be made of loyal stuff — a bit like steel. We don’t bend easily, and we’re ready to stay the course of life, love, and friendship.
If we choose to get in, we’re in for the long haul.
What About You?
If you’ve got a highly introverted friend in your circle, it’s likely that at least a few of these points are true. Not sure? Ask and then listen to what she shares!
Are you a woman with an introverted personality? Which one of these points resonates the most?