When it comes to personality types, people typically identify as one of two things: an introvert or an extrovert. These are considered opposites, and when they get together, well, things can get kind of complicated, since it’s hard for one type to fully understand the other. It’s especially hard for extroverts if they don’t know what being an introvert means. There are some things all introverts want all extroverts to know, and if extroverts do know these things, getting along will be so much easier.
So, what is an introvert? It’s often misunderstood — for example, many assume introvert means the same thing as shy. Actually, the labels introvert and extrovert are more about what energizes people rather than how they act around others. Introverts gain energy from being alone, while extroverts gain energy from being around other people. It’s not always about how an introvert acts in social situations, it’s more about what they do when they need to recharge.
If you’re not an introvert, it can be tough to understand exactly what an introvert is thinking — which makes total sense! That’s why, if you’re an extrovert, you should learn what introverts want you to know about them. You’ll find it easier to communicate and maintain relationships, and you’ll also see that these two types can get along really well. Here’s what introverts want extroverts to know:
1. Sometimes we need time to ourselves. It’s not personal.
The biggest difference between introverts and extroverts is that introverts gain energy from being alone. After being around a lot of people for an extended period of time, introverts need time to themselves to recharge and feel more relaxed. Being around tons of people for a long time drains us.
As an introvert, I find that as much as I love a weekend away with my girlfriends, I need to come home and spend hours alone to feel more like myself again. So if you notice that the introvert in your life is asking for some time to themselves, it probably has nothing to do with you.
2. Being quiet doesn’t mean we aren’t enjoying ourselves.
Introverts are often more quiet and reserved, although of course there are exceptions. We tend to be a little more introspective, and we like to observe. You might notice that when you’re out with an introvert, they aren’t saying much. That usually doesn’t mean they’re not having fun — it probably just means they’re taking in their surroundings. Introverts can be quiet while still having a great time, wherever we are! When we have something to say, we’ll say it.
3. It’s not that we hate socializing, it’s just that we can’t do it every single day.
Introverts often get a bad rap as people who hate to be around others and just want to stay home under the covers all day, every day. This isn’t true. Not all introverts hate socializing, and not all introverts are terrible at talking to others. Introverts just don’t like to socialize all day, every day. We need a break after a while.
4. We don’t love parties. We just don’t. Sorry!
Okay, it’s true: introverts generally aren’t huge fans of a big party. Introverts prefer to be around smaller groups of people, like a few close friends, that allow us to have actual conversations. We don’t particularly love making small talk with strangers all night, or being surrounded by lots of people in close spaces. Sure, plenty of introverts go to parties and have fun (but again, it’s about moderation). Most of us can handle them in small doses, and sometimes we’ll have a great time. But if given the choice, we’ll generally pick a night in with friends rather than a night at the club.
5. We hate to be interrupted.
One thing you should know about introverts: We don’t love to be interrupted when we’re doing something. Introverts are deep thinkers who are often very intense and get very into whatever it is we’re thinking about. When we get interrupted, even if it seems like we’re not doing anything important, it’s often quite jarring. Try to be respectful of our space.
6. We’re not shy, we just don’t like small talk.
Introverts don’t love small talk. That doesn’t mean we’re all bad at it, or that we’ll refuse to do it — some introverts are very good at small talk. It’s just that we don’t like it, and we tend to try to avoid it. So if we seem awkward, or we’re quiet instead of trying to fill the silence, it’s not about you.
The other misconception is that introverts are shy. That’s not true. Not all introverts are shy. Introversion and shyness aren’t the same thing.
7. We don’t want to stay out all night, and it has nothing to do with you.
Like I already said, introverts need time to recharge in solitude and quiet. If an introvert goes out with friends or goes out to a party, chances are good they won’t stay out all night (although, again, there are exceptions). That’s because at a certain point, we get drained from being around other people and talking and being energetic. We need to get back home and recharge on our own. It doesn’t mean we didn’t have fun. It just means we’ve had enough.
8. You don’t need to pressure us to speak, you just need to be more patient.
Introverts usually don’t enjoy talking just to fill the silence. Introverts often think (quite a lot) before speaking, so it might take us longer to say something or join a conversation. A lot of times, this pause is met with people who encourage an introvert to speak up. Listen: If an introvert wants to speak, we usually will!
9. You can’t make us more extroverted.
As an introvert, I often find that extroverts will go out of their way to try to make me more like them. They’ll try to coax me out of my shell, try to talk me into being super social or speaking when I don’t want to. It’s kind of annoying, to be honest, and the truth is that no extrovert is ever going to make me — or any introvert — more extroverted. Let’s just all accept each other for who we are.
Once you understand these basic things about introverts, you can learn how to communicate better. And that’s always a good thing.