An Open Letter to Extroverts: What the Introverts in Your Life Want You to Know
9) Some People Require More Energy Than Others
I have a few people that I can be around with very little energy required. Although it’s not my preference, I can see them even when I’m depleted. Others need a little more and I try to see them when I have at least a little something left. And then some people need a full tank. Please don’t take it personally when I decline an invitation or retreat to the periphery. I’m just plugging in.
10) We Can Be Sensitive to Intrusions
I don’t mind when my work is interrupted, but I can be quite irritated when my solitude is broken. When I retreat, I find I become hypersensitive to noises and lights that come from outside my space. It’s as though the shield is down and I am more vulnerable and sensitive to the outside world. While at other times, I can easily enjoy the same sounds and activities. In other words, introverts want to go to the party rather than have the party come to us.
11) We Are Prone to Isolation
The solitude that introverts seek can become unbalanced during times of stress or trauma as we can easily put ourselves in quarantine. I was very aware of this trait during my divorce when I chose to live with a friend instead of living alone. Even though the constant noise of a busy family was stressful sometimes, being alone would have led to complete isolation. Even though we are drained by social contact, we still need it.
12) We Are Thinkers
For every sentence an introvert speaks, they have thought a full page (or more!). We are comfortable in our own minds and spend quite a bit of time thinking, analyzing and problem solving before we ever share our conclusions. This trait can also lead to depression when the introvert ruminates without any outside correction or perspective.
13) We Can Thrive in Intimate Relationships
Introverts need time alone. They need safe spaces. And when those needs are met, they can make great partners and can connect on a deep and intimate level. One of the most critical undertakings in a relationship between an extrovert and an introvert is the negotiation for solitary time and the understanding that it is not a reflection on the extrovert or the partnership.
14) We Plan Our Downtime
I love my social time with my friends. But not every day. I carefully plan quiet interludes between more communal events – a resupply run between outings. I can be thrown by even small changes in plans when they intrude upon the expected downtime. Even something as minute as a friend in the car when I planned to do the drive solo can agitate me.
15) We Provide Balance in a Noisy World
Because of our nature, we can be overlooked. Minimized. Perceived as lacking in social skills or confidence. But really we provide a welcome counterpoint to the always-on chatter of the extrovert majority. So give the introverts in your life a hug and let them know they’re appreciated as they are. But you may want to ask permission first:)
Lisa the Introvert
If you want more information on introversion, I highly recommend the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.