There are some people in this world who love people. These people want to be around others all the time, and often feel lonely or unproductive if they aren't with people. Now despite many of my friends being extroverts, sometimes my idea of a good Saturday night is staying in bed in an empty room, watching documentaries, just me myself and something to watch or do, away from all civilization! Everybody is wired differently and I am learning more and more that I need to embrace my introvert side, and understand when I have had enough and need to hide away.
In light of my own experiences, I hope that these tips help other introverts to understand themselves, and hopefully help extroverts to understand their opposites just that bit better.
1. Listen when we speak
Especially in new places, speaking to others can be very intimidating as an introvert. I remember coming to Nashville and often observing my situation and other people, instead of talking to people around me. When we do speak it can be really important to listen because it might have taken a lot of courage to be able to speak up, and interact with those around us.
2 . Don’t interrupt us.
Another part of being an introvert is getting disheartened when people interrupt. For someone like me who doesn't like being forward or confrontation in most ways, I will immediately back down if someone interrupts me, especially if I haven't known them very long. (Not to say that I don’t interrupt, most people interrupt each other especially once knowing each other for a while.) Just be aware that some introverts will stop talking and get incredibly discouraged by someone who stops our thought.
3. Understand that we need space
Every person is different and sometimes I don’t mind being forced to interact or go somewhere with other people, yet there are definitely times when I want complete space from other people. If your friend is an introvert who spends a lot of time by themselves, that might be what they need, that doesn't mean you can't ask them if they want to come with you somewhere,but remember that they may also need some good old alone time too!
4. Don't walk over us
I have a huge problem with this one! Just because we may not always immediately react or answer back, don't take that as an opportunity to keep going or to go too far. We may not say something back in an argument, or respond to a comment that you consider funny because we don't know how to reply, or how to confront you. The most important part of this is to be respectful of our feelings and be aware that the same rough talk may not be as appropriate as with someone who isn't comfortable fighting back as you would.
5. Encourage us gently
I have had some of the best times on weekends after people have encouraged me to meet new people or to go to new event or place with them. Yet I have also had some very bad experiences when people have forced me to go out. Be aware that even when introverts go out, especially somewhere new, we might only want to be out for so long, and really want to come home quite soon after going out. It’s great to encourage introverts but make sure it’s done gently and in consideration of the person and how they're feeling.
I hope all this has been encouraging to introverts and also helped extroverts to understand their introverted counterparts. Let me know what you think!