There’s a lot of talk these days about what makes an introvert, their differences from extroverts and so on; but how should we treat introverts? It’s not as though introverts are a different species, but we do require a different set of socialising methods than extroverts do. Where the latter will gain energy from being in social situations, introverts typically enjoy and become re-charged by spending time alone. But we’re not just anti-social recluses, honest! Here, artist Roman Jones illustrates a comprehensive guide to understanding introverts:
Introverts appreciate personal space, and so all extroverts have to do is respect that. Be kind and polite, don’t be too demanding and please, don’t take it personally if we need a little time to ourselves. It’s just how we recuperate so we can spend more quality time with those who are important to us!
Do you agree? Are you an introvert who needs to let those around you in on these tips?
There’s an avalanche of information about introverts on the web. The great thing about it is that it helps a lot of people realize their own introverted tendencies. Many introverts are beginning to understand why situations commonly perceived as problems by many are, well, simply non-problems for them. Here are some of those positives only introverts would understand.
1. They love cancelled parties.
Introverts love cancelled parties. Okay, maybe love is too strong a word. But an introvert really wouldn’t mind if a big party he was invited to suddenly got cancelled or postponed.
Partying with a big group of people for a long period of time zaps an introvert’s energy. To expend less energy, introverts enjoy one-on-one conversations instead of group activities. You may know someone who’s dubbed as a “kill joy” because he wants to leave a party early. Stop the name-calling and consider that maybe that person is just tired and needs to recharge by spending some time by himself. He could be an introvert.
Society has a funny perception of silence. It’s as if something is terribly wrong if someone just wants to sit quietly by himself.
Remember that there is such a thing as companionable silence. It’s when two people are so relaxed and comfortable with each other that no words need to be spoken. And there’s solitude too, which is the creative’s refuge.
Introverts like silence and solitude because it’s during quiet times that many people, not just introverts, produce billion-dollar ideas, relax their minds, and recharge their bodies to face another day.
3. They get high (with energy) on being alone.
No invites on a Friday night? No problem!
While most people would be horrified and perhaps acutely depressed at the thought of spending the weekend minus social activities, your typical introvert is already getting started on his reading or movie list. That, or he’s already out hiking, hanging out at a bookshop, gardening, or writing weird poetry at the cafe.
But remember that being alone doesn’t equate to loneliness. The thing is, introverts need “alone time” for them to conserve their energy. This doesn’t mean that they’re alone all the time. Balance is key as Marti Olsen Laneyexplains in her book, The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World, “Introverts need to balance their alone time with outside time, or they can lose other perspectives and connections.”
Dining alone has such a bad reputation, doesn’t it? Heaven forbid you eat a meal without a living human body next to you!
For most introverts, solo dining is a relaxing experience and a good opportunity to truly enjoy a meal in peace. Bear in mind that introverts have a low threshold for stimulation and are easily distracted. It’s a good thing people are starting to realize the value of dining in peace, like this restaurant.
5. They just like to watch.
As funny as that may sound, they do.
Introverts are observant by nature. They’re the quiet ones who prefer to sit at the sidelines and observe those around them. And no, they’re not judging people when they do this. This also doesn’t mean that introverts are wallflowers. They can talk your ear off if the topic is something they’re passionate or know a lot about. They simply don’t feel the need nor have the energy to be social butterflies.
As Susan Cain puts it, “We’re not anti-social; we’re just differently social.”
6. They have few friends.
More than anyone else, introverts are masters at prioritizing quality over quantity, especially when it comes to friends. They form fewer but deeper relationships with people. Amazingly though, many introverts thrive in the online world. Perhaps because online communication and networking gives them more time to think and reflect about how to express their responses as compared to real-world conversations.
7. They take it slow.
Most of the time, taking things slow is seen as a weakness and the ability to “think on your feet” is favored over the ability to reflect. But introverts prefer to do things little by little and think carefully before making big decisions. The innate gifts of slowing down and tuning into their inner world and reflecting on experiences and situations allow them to better understand other people and empathize.
Introverts are good at unsettling extroverts without even trying. They can appear mysterious and don’t show much reaction or facial expression. So take the time to get to know someone and learn what makes them tick. Do this especially when your personality leans toward extroversion. Pretty soon these positives may hold true for you as well.
Signs you may be an introvert
- You often dread going to an event where there will be a lot of people
- You relish the time you have alone, sneaking off to take a bath or go for a walk
- You prefer to sit back and observe
- Your inner world is rich
- You enjoy spending time by yourself
- You dislike small talk
- You enjoy discussing your favorite topics with others
- You tend to tune out when someone you don’t know well is giving you their entire life history
- You need to get out for walks during work to take a break from all the people
- You like people, you just need them in smaller doses
- You prefer to spend time with friends one-on-one, or in very small groups
- You dreaded your wedding reception (all those people to talk to)
- You have a few close friends rather than many acquaintances
- You are often stressed by being in a group of people
- You listen more than you talk
- You enjoy solitary activities like reading
- You need a space of your own where you can go and shut the door
- You get crabby after spending a lot of time around other people
- You are humiliated if you think you made a mistake in public
- You don’t easily share your feelings with others
- You like creative and imaginative activities
- You don’t like to talk to strangers
- You may or may not be shy
Do some of these signs describe you? Once you understand you are an introvert it makes life a lot easier.
I have been an introvert my entire life. I come from a family of introverts as well, but I didn’t know about or understand what an introvert was. As an adult, I had a great conversation with a co-worker that really led me to understand the introvert/extrovert difference and myself better. My co-worker was an extrovert married to an introvert, and I was living with an extrovert at the time.
We discussed that the extrovert in the relationship needs to get out and be energized by people, while the introvert needs quiet time to recharge, so being in a group will drain that person. This revelation was so helpful to me in understanding some of the challenges in my relationship.
How can you use this information in your life? Once you understand what being an introvert is really all about how you are energized you can more easily take the time you need for yourself.
Limit the time you are in large groups and know that it is okay to need to leave. Let your family and friends know what to expect and what it means that you are an introvert. Having a significant other who understands your needs helps a great deal: My husband and I went to a large outdoor music festival recently; it was a long day, packed with great music. At the end of the day, the top tier musicians were playing and it was very crowded. I just wanted to crawl into a ball—the stimulation and crowd were too much, but my husband was as giddy as a schoolboy.
At no time has the difference between introverts and extroverts been more apparent to me. Another day at the same music festival he actually drove me home before the big acts because I was so overwhelmed by the large crowds and couldn’t stay. We now try to limit our festivals to smaller ones that don’t get so crowded.
Parties can be challenging, so let your close friends know you are an introvert and that you may need to leave 2-3 hours into their get-together. The number of people and the energy level may be too overwhelming for you. Three hours is usually my limit, but I know this now and I can let my friends know what to expect. Their understanding makes it a lot easier.
Being an introvert is a great thing, as you will observe things others don’t. There is so much going on in your mind at all times, so use that to your advantage. To the extroverts: I hope you find this helpful. My mother-in-law recently read the book, Quiet, which is about introverts, and now understands her oldest son much better because of it. I would recommend this book to everyone to gain a deeper understanding of what being an introvert means.
Top ten perks of being an introvert
There maybe some misconceptions about Introverts. Is it that bad to be a Introvert? Introvert Advantages, a site for the book The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World, has a list of top ten advantages of being an introvert, with a comparsion of top 10 misconception about introvert. Here are the Top Ten Advantages Introverts Possess:
10) Work Well With Others, Especially In One-to-One Relationships9) Maintain Long-Term Friendships
6) Strong Ability To Concentrate
3) Creative, Out-of-the-Box thinking
2) Analytical Skills That Integrate Complexity
1) Studious and Smart
In the list of misconception, I think Lacking Social Skills and Shy maybe the one that many people (including me) are relating introvert to.