Owing to the fact that we introverts do not easily and openly talk about ourselves in front of large audiences, I take it to task, on behalf of all the other introverts, to share with you some little known facts about us. The purpose of this open letter is not to justify, apologise or make a point about why introverts are introverts. We don’t need to and feel no inclination to do so.
The points below are simply to help shed some light on our worldview and dispositions, and also how you might come to understand better our relationship with you.
We <3 extroverts.
In general we find good complementarity with extrovert characters. They keep the momentum going and fill in the gap. Our energies can mix very well–we give extroverts the space to talk and express themselves while extroverts give us the space to be us while they are busy being them.
We love to socialise…in very small doses.
While there is no way you will drag us to a raging party, we don’t outright abhor social gatherings. Yes, we would be more comfortable with people we are already acquainted with and in small groups, but we also approve of a fair bit of socialising in general. We also recognise its benefits and enjoyment.
We love to communicate. We just hate small talk.
An introvert is not incommunicado. We just don’t like petty gossip, small talk and superficial nonsense. Most of us are good communicators, whether in speech or in writing. We like to discuss and get deep into conversations about all sorts of interesting subjects and topics that catch our fantasy.
Don’t be annoyed if we don’t call first, because we just won’t.
Admittedly it is true that we are not quite good at taking initiative in relationships. So my word of advice to those men or women who have a relationship with an introvert: please get over the fact that he or she won’t call you first, nor start the discussion nor perhaps suggest an initiative. Don’t be annoyed. It’s not because we don’t care but it’s just the way we flow.
We care for others' feelings more than you think.
We have a bit of a stigma for being uncaring and detached. This is not true. Just because we don’t wear our emotions on our sleeves doesn’t mean we don’t care. Quite oppositely, in a group for example, because we observe more and participate less than extroverts, we do notice more people’s feelings.
Extroverts, on the other hand, are not very much influenced by the feedback of others because they run on their own steam–so to speak. Introverts are more sensitive to what the other is feeling although might not respond to it openly.
We are not loners; we just need space.
We might pass on your invitation for a social activity and tell you we are going to spend the night in. The thing is, dear readers, we love our space. It’s a bit sacred. It doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy company, but we also like to spend time in our space.
We don't like clubs, parties or discos.
Clearly these are no-go areas. As an introvert, I sincerely don’t know what bugs us most from these environments. It might be the noise, the chaos or the fact that they are often frequented by people who have a general carefree attitude towards life. I really don’t know.
We enjoy peace and alone time.
I mentioned already we like to have our space. What some non-introverts fail to understand is how it is that we love to be alone. I have observed that many people are scared or annoyed to be alone, even for short periods of time. For some being alone or traveling alone comes across as weird or uncomfortable. There is no weirdness in this for introverts because we love our peace and are quite at peace being with just ourselves.
We are masters at observing others.
In large groups, or in a group of people we don’t yet know, we take a back seat at first. We take time to observe people before interacting. It’s not a sign of insecurity but more one of precaution or strategy. This has made us extremely skilful at observing people deeply.
Give us time and we’ll get to know each other better than average.
Granted that we are not good at taking initiative and we are quite slow at starting up any relationship. However, allowing us the time we get to know others better than average, either because the communication is deeper or because we tend to discard the superficial stuff quite quickly.
Last but not least I must also add that in view of, or despite of, all the facts above, we make up an amazing group of people who have a lot to contribute–introverts also tend to be very creative–and can be very good loyal friends or partners for life. I truly hope this helps next time you see the dear introvert you know and love.
An introverted writer
Featured photo credit: Central Park's North Meadow, Aug 2009 – 02/Ed Yourdon via flickr.com