Have you made an introvert happy today?
Do you know who in your world is an introvert?
Maybe you’re an introvert yourself!
We live in a loud world where one third to half the population is an introvert. Given how loud the world is already, let’s be thankful for a moment for all the introverts. Can you imagine the cacophony if all the introverts were as loud as all the extroverts?
I say that with good humor! I’m not here to say one is better than the other! Both introverts and extroverts are awesome just as they are and the characteristics of each are needed in this world.
We balance each other out and that’s a good thing.
But, despite the growing awareness of introversion in the world today, I still find it to be very misunderstood by a lot of people.
It seems that most introverts are very aware they’re introverts. Extroverts, on the other hand, typically aren’t as aware or haven’t really thought about it.
My theory is that introverts have generally spent their lives feeling like there’s something wrong with them or they don’t fit in, so they’ve made it their mission to figure out ‘what’s wrong with themselves’ (only to discover there’s nothing wrong with them!).
Let's face it, we live in a world that is designed for extroverts. But, that doesn't mean introverts can't thrive and be happy!
Introverts can absolutely function, and quite successfully, in an extroverted world. But, sometimes, let's be honest, we get tired of having to do so (or being misunderstood in the process).
So, with all of this in mind, let’s talk a little bit about what it means to be an introvert, typical characteristics of an introvert (i.e. those “weird” things your introverted friends do are normal and not weird!), and what you can do to make an introvert happy (if you happen to be an extrovert!).
INTROVERTS VS. EXTROVERTS
Let me start out by saying that I’m an introvert. I stand tall and proud in my introversion and it’s not something I shy away from. I own it and I have no problems turning down a social invitation to bask in my much needed alone time (and I don’t apologize for it!).
From a general perspective, to be introverted means you turn your focus inward towards your thoughts and feelings, where as to be extroverted means you turn your focus outwards towards other people or circumstances.
Introverts get their energy from themselves, whereas extroverts get their energy from others.
Introverted people are dreamers and our minds are constantly going. We may not always have something to say to others, but trust me…we have a constant dialogue going on in our heads!
We’re typically comfortable with the quiet pauses in conversation and don’t feel a need to fill the gaps with mindless chatter. But, that’s because we’re taking things in, processing it, and deciding if it’s something worth commenting on. If not, we keep our thoughts to ourselves.
There are a lot of misconceptions about introverts - that we’re shy, socially awkward or uncomfortable, that we can’t be effective leaders, that we’re anti-social or weird. The list goes on and on, but it’s not necessarily accurate.
Can you be shy and an introvert? Sure, but not all introverted people are shy.
Introverts also make exceptional leaders. They generally listen better and think before they speak. As for anti-social tendencies, most introverts can easily socialize in crowds and gatherings, they just don’t necessarily enjoy it (at least, not all night long!).
To combat some of these misconceptions, check out a few famous introverts from both the past and the present: J.K. Rowling, Bill Gates, Christina Aguilera, Courtney Cox, Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Lady Gaga
Not a bad lineup, huh?
Before I dive into some of the more common characteristics of an introvert, keep in mind that everyone is different. All introverts are not built the same! Some introverts are very strong introverts, whereas others have extroverted tendencies as well.
These are traits that are typically seen in introverted people, but again, not all introverts will exhibit or experience all of these traits. Also, this list is not all inclusive…there are SO many more characteristics of introverts, but these are the main ones that came to mind.
- Making small talk is like listening to fingernails scrap down a chalkboard. It’s annoying and mind-numbing. But, engage us in a deeper conversation and we’re happy to chat your ear off.
- We feel most comfortable talking to people we already know at a party. That doesn’t mean that we don’t meet people at parties that we connect with, but given item #1 on the list, we can engage in more meaningful conversations with people we already know.
- We love time by ourselves and have no problems entertaining ourselves.
- We need time by ourselves to recharge. Extraverts recharge from being around others and social situations. Introverts recharge by being alone. It’s like plugging your cell phone in to recharge. The extroverts need to plug themselves into a social situation, whereas an introvert needs to plug into some alone time.
- We tend to have a few very close friends instead of a large circle of friends.
- Typically our friendships with these close friends span many, many years as opposed to having them come in and out of our lives. If you've made it to the 'close friend' list of an introvert, consider yourself lucky because you're on the lifetime list of friendship love!
- We are funny, silly, and open with people we’re close to.
- But…it can take awhile for you to get to know us (hang in there…it’s worth it!)
- After being in a social situation for awhile, we hit a wall and need to escape (like immediately!).
- We don’t typically enjoy talking on the phone (thank god for email/texting/etc.!).
- We get excited and happy when a party or social situation is cancelled at the last minute.
- We talk to ourselves (in our head) all.the.time.
- We tend to be good listeners.
- We think before we speak.
- We typically feel like we’re not understood.
- We typically feel alone at social gatherings but not when we’re by ourselves (i.e when we’re doing something on our own, or when we’re at home by ourselves).
- We get mentally overwhelmed easily when there are a lot of things going on around us.
- We don't mind dining alone...books are amazing dinner companions! (Rory Gilmore…we get you, girlfriend)
HOW TO MAKE AN INTROVERT HAPPY
If you’re an extrovert and you have an introvert in your life, here are a few things you can do to make them happy!
If you are the introvert, feel free to print this, email it, or hand it over to the extroverts in your life as a reminder of how they can make you happy!
- Engage them in a meaningful conversation and skip the small talk
- Give them a pass on joining you at a party if they aren’t feeling it
- If you’re at a party, ask them to tell you when they've hit their wall and they're ready to leave….then leave. Don’t drag it out another 30 minutes, 45 minutes, etc.
- Give them space to be alone without making them feel guilty about it (it’s not about you!)
- Plan a quiet night in instead of a night out on the town.
- Tell them that you love how passionate they are about their hobbies and how they can entertain themselves.
- Never make them the center of attention in a social setting without being sure they don’t mind. Most introverts hate having the spotlight on them if they’re not prepared, so be thoughtful of their desire to hang back and just observe.
- Ask them about what’s going on in their life and then listen to them. If we feel you aren’t listening or don’t care, we won’t share ourselves with you (and you won't make that lifelong friendship list!).
- Take the time to learn more about introverts. It shows you care and you’re trying to understand us.
- If we need to call the cable company, the bank, etc., you’ll be our superstar if you call for us (please, please, PLEASE)!
- Love us as we are and don’t expect us to change. We’re not going to try to turn you into an introvert, so stop trying to turn us into an extrovert. It ain’t gonna happen!
I LOVE being an introvert. I love that I have endless things that I can do to entertain myself when I’m on my own. I don’t need anyone to keep me from being bored. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I felt bored!
But, I’ll admit, I wish I could be a tad more chatty with strangers and that I enjoyed parties a bit more than I do, but when I am in those situations, I can handle myself just fine. Like anything, it’s a skill that we can hone and practice, but after performing for a few hours, I’m happy to scurry home, climb into my most comfy PJs, and curl up with a good book!
The world is filled with all kinds of people. Everyone’s different and unique in their own way so embrace that! Embrace your own uniqueness and fill your world with people that get you. If anyone makes you feel bad for being you, it’s time to reassess their value in your life. You deserve only the best!
Now...go make an introvert happy today!!