Introverts 101

In our outgoing Western society nothing baffles bosses, parents, friends and lovers as much as an introvert. There’s little in our training and experience to help us understand and relate successfully to the introverts in our lives, that small population of people (less than 25%) who are energized by solitude and alone time, rather than drawing balance from the company of others.

And yet, because they can be charismatic speakers, gregarious and sometimes rather popular people, as well as outspoken, opinionated and loving, their need for solitude and solitary pastimes, can make them confusing to live with, work with, or love. Think Elizabeth in the book Pride and Prejudice, and those long solitary walks. And, be forewarned, that when an introvert sits down with the crossword puzzle on Sunday morning, unlike in the movies, it’s not an invitation for cozy togetherness. Their true desire is for uninterrupted quiet time. The phrase, “I need my space,” is a familiar refrain for those who are close to an introvert.

So let’s take a look at some insight that will help you understand and relate to your introverted lover, friend, child or employee.

Enough with the guilt
Most introverts already feel guilty about wanting space and solitude, about not getting together for drinks after work, feeling too depleted to spend quality time with family immediately after a grueling day at work, and because they do not have the same good time at a party as an extrovert. According to the authors of Please Understand Me, Kiersey and Bates claim that introverts feel like ugly ducklings who can never be swans because they have lived their lives believing that they ought to be more sociable. Because of this guilt, introverts usually don’t allow themselves the kind of breathing room they desperately need to thrive.

Space and understanding
If you can, accept your introvert’s desire to leave a party after half an hour, or not answer your call immediately, or cancel that movie date at the last minute without being able to provide a “good” reason on occasion, and learn not to take their disappearance personally. You will be giving them two gifts more precious than water: the gift of space, and the even rarer gift of understanding. Acknowledge that their need to hike solo, kayak, play computer games or take up other solitary pursuits and pastimes, actually refreshes them for social appearances and their time alone with others.

Build trust
For an introvert, the cry of “I need space!” is not code for “I don’t love you.” With the introvert/extrovert combination, something as simple as one partner leaving a party early can be a potential minefield. (Are they leaving to meet someone else? Don’t they enjoy being with me any more?).

2 to Tango
There are two people in every relationship, and even if you’re dating an introvert, you deserve to be treated with respect, too. There’s no excuse for rudeness, so if you find yourself – with no word of warning – left without a promised ride home, or dateless for an event the two of you had planned to attend together, normal rules of dating apply and the offender should be taken to task. However, maybe your introvert leaves the party early and you are hurt and dismayed… how do you approach your next conversation with them? Or maybe there’s sudden silence after a couple of really close and intense encounters, or they have called at the last minute more than once to cancel plans.

True communication
The first thing to do is not take it personally, because it’s probably not about you! And then keep in mind that humor and kindness will probably help you open your introvert’s clam shell more efficiently. If you can find your sense of humor, you might say something like, “I’ve always admired really talented magicians! Next time you decide to do a vanishing act, maybe you can let me in on it… do you do a puff of smoke as well?”

Or, something direct and sincere, like this: “I’ve really enjoyed feeling so close to you but I miss you when I don’t hear from you for awhile. I’ve thought about it, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t done anything to offend you… so if you’re the kind of person who needs more time to yourself, just be honest with me.”

Or, “I’ve learned that not everyone thrives on having people around all the time, and, if that’s true for you, I hope you’ll just let me know whenever you need a break. If I can count on you to tell me when you need time out, and when you’re ready to come out and play again, I promise to respect your need for solitude.”

The best solution to true understanding between an introvert and an extrovert is the kind of regular, authentic, deep communication that creates trust. That way, when an introvert needs to crawl into a handy cave – now! – to avoid imploding from overwhelm, the extrovert understands that they’re not being left out, it’s just the way introverts operate.

Do you need help dealing with an introvert in your life? Let one of our talented psychics help. Call 1.800.573.4830 or click here now.

3 thoughts on “Introverts 101

  1. lost my love

    I was dating an introvert last summer and couldn’t figure out what I had done wrong. Now I see things differently I realize that she was an introvert even though she tole me I still didn’t understand. I didn’t handle this at all well and it really has hurt me deeply. Its been 4 months and I am still in love with her and can’t feel anything but distroyed. I still believe she is the one I am susposed to be with but the situation spurred so much confusion in me I’m sure she is gone now forever. I have been dishonest with my friends just telling them I haven’t met anyone new but the truth is I’m sleepless at night and just can’t get past her. Her introvert ways brought the worst out of me and I do feel as if I was treated unfairly, I just don’t know what to do, I love her…..

    Reply
  2. William Guella

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  3. mooniestar

    For an introvert, the cry of “I need space!” is not code for “I don’t love you.”

    This, a thousand times over and over. As an introvert, I cannot express this enough.

    Reply

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