Extroverts and introverts have different needs. Where extroverts are social creatures, introverts are most certainly not. Extroverts may love small talk, but introverts hate it. It is important to be mindful of these differences so we can treat people well and be sensitive to their needs and feelings. If you know an introvert, do these 13 things to make them feel loved and appreciated.
1. Let them unwind before you ask questions about their day.
If you’re dating an introvert and they don’t seem talkative, please be patient with them. Let your partner rest in silence for an hour or two before you ask about their day. They will be able to respond more thoughtfully after they recharge.
2. Consider their schedule before you make plans.
If your partner is an introvert, then she probably won’t want to go to the bar after a busy day. Don’t be offended if she turns down that invite. Instead, ask her if she would be interested in going out on the weekend – or whenever she happens to be off.
3. Send them a meaningful email.
If you really want to get to know an introvert, send them an email. Introverts are bored by small talk, but love deep discussions. Most introverts are better writers than speakers. Thus, email trumps every other mode of communication for this personality type.
4. Ask for a table on the outskirts of a restaurant.
If you take an introvert to a packed restaurant, then they could feel uncomfortable due to all that stimulation. Avoid the center of a dining room. Ask the host or hostess if a window seat is available. Being away from the chaos will remove some pressure.
5. Slow down your speaking rate so they have time to process.
If you talk really fast, then you could accidentally overwhelm your introvert friends. Extroverts like to speak as thoughts occur to them. Introverts like to let a thought settle for a moment before they respond. Simply pausing for three seconds will give an introvert time to digest your sentences.
6. Don’t call them “shy” or “antisocial.”
If you label introverts in this way, then you obviously don’t understand them. I’m an introvert who acts in community theater and there’s nothing shy about that! Most introverts love to meet people. It’s just that while extroverts enjoy small talk, introverts would rather discuss deeper issues in a more intimate setting.
7. Find out what they are passionate about.
If you think an introvert is boring, then you haven’t dug deep enough. Introverts can be profound when you get them talking about their passion or purpose. They might even care about something so intensely that they view everything else as a distraction. And yes, this could make them appear to be aloof at times too.
8. Get comfortable with moments of silence.
If you want to show an introvert you care, do it with silence. It is possible to enjoy the presence of another person without filling the air with meaningless words. Greet a friend with a smile and gentle hug. Get in the car, turn on the radio, and enjoy the music. It’s time to let go of your need for constant conversation.
9. Be quiet during movies and television.
If you can’t resist commenting on every scene of a film, then you will drive introverts insane. Remember that they need silence to process information. Even if they seem quiet, their brain is busy formulating theories about where the story could be going. Save the commentary for after the movie. They will appreciate it.
10. Stop acting like something is “wrong.”
If you try to “fix” an introvert, then it will backfire. This especially occurs when extroverted parents assume something is wrong with their introverted children. They mistakenly label these kids “shy” without truly understanding them. Treating them like a project will only make them feel inferior. Accept them as they are.
11. Don’t leave them hanging at a social event.
If you abandon an introvert at a party, then they won’t be happy. You might be a social butterfly, but your introvert friend isn’t. It was scary enough for them to go to a crowded place where they don’t know anybody. If you leave them by themselves, they will feel highly intimidated, and maybe even go outside where it is less noisy.
12. Do invite them to small group gatherings.
If you think introverts don’t like people, then you’re misunderstood. They might not feel comfortable at a big party, but they typically enjoy low-key gatherings that involve five or less people.This gives introverts opportunity to have deep conversations and make new connections without draining their energy as much as a big party would.
13. Explain how you perceive the world differently.
If you’re an extrovert, don’t think I forgot about you. It’s interesting how two people can experience the world so differently. Introverts love to listen, so why don’t you tell us all about it? We would both benefit if we learned from each other. Maybe it will be easier to work together in harmony when we have a better understanding of our differences.
Tell us what you would add to this list in the comments. I’m just one person, so it’s impossible to speak for all introverts. Will you help me out? Tell us what you would add to this list. If you’d like to invite your friends to the conversation, please share this article on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured photo credit: back view of lovely young couple hugging in winter via shutterstock.com