How to be Friends with an Introvert

Is there an introvert in your life who you just don’t “get”? Then on behalf of introverts everywhere, I’d like to thank you for making an effort to understand us better. We know we can be a little quirky.

First of all, let’s dispel a few common myths about introverts:
Being introverted does NOT mean being shy. It does NOT mean disliking people. What it does mean is that we refuel by spending time alone, and we also spend a great deal of time just thinking — which is wonderful for creativity and such, but can lead us far too much time worrying. {If you ever want to know a worst-case scenario, ask an introvert and they’ll probably be able to come up with a doozy!}

how to be friends with an introvert

All of that means friendships with extraverts can prove challenging for us — but they can also be quite rewarding! My husband is an extravert, and he’s also my best friend.ย  We both agree our personalities complement each other, but it’s taken a few years to learn what makes the other tick. I believe it’s the same with friendships.

How to be friends with an introvert:

We’re really not that difficult, once you get the hang of how we think. Consider these 10 tips your primer on navigating friendships with your favorite introverts.

1 – Coffee date vs dinner party

We like meaningful conversation but hate small talk. This means we’d much rather catch up one-on-one, than go out in a group. There are exceptions, of course — especially if we already know everyone else in the group.

2 – Parties are fun. Sometimes.

We like it when you to invite us to parties. If we do come, we’ll probably enjoy ourselves, but we’re going to need serious decompressing time afterwards. However, it’s also quite likely we’ll opt to stay home; please don’t be offended!

3 – How are you? No, really!

If we ask how you’re doing, we really want to know; we’re not just making conversation. Remember, we hate small talk so we don’t ask just for the sake of saying something.

introvert friends talking*photo via unsplash

4 – Voicemail rocks.

We probably won’t answer the phone when you call unless we’re expecting it. It doesn’t mean we don’t want to talk to you; we’re just not mentally prepared for a conversation and want to give you the attention you deserve when we do talk to you. {And pretty-please, leave a message that says more than “Call me.”}

5 – Drop-in visitors.

No matter how much we adore you, we might not like it if you drop by unannounced. It’s just because we like to plan ahead, to know what’s expected. Personally, I love entertaining — but only if I’ve had a chance to prepare. It’s for the same reasons as #4: if I’m not expecting you, my mind will be a thousand places at once, and that’s not fair to you as my friend.

If you have a genuine crisis, disregard numbers 4 and 5 above; we will drop everything to listen or help.

6 – Quiet? Ha!

People think introverts are quiet, but once you get us talking about something we care about deeply, we might not shut up. Consider yourself warned. ๐Ÿ˜‰

7 – Conversations on repeat.

We will rehash every conversation we’ve ever had and beat ourselves up if we feel we may have said something foolish. Please let us know (nicely, if possible) if we’ve offended you so we can work it out before it festers.

8 – Give us time to think.

Whether it’s a dilemma you’d like input on, or something you’d like us to do, we need time to think. Most of us don’t do well coming up with things well on the fly, which is why we often write better than we talk.

9 – We can be silly.

Many of us have a silly side that few people ever see. Know that if you’ve seen this side of us, you must be very special indeed.

10 – Trust is to be treasured.

We rarely open up emotionally; we work hard to protect our inner selves. If we ever feel we can trust enough to be vulnerable with you, we will hold you to a high standard in regards to how you treat the private self we share with you.

Does that help, extravert friends?
Fellow introverts, what would you add?

Quick added note, since many have commented about it:
Both “extravert” and “extrovert” are correct spellings; I just used the less common, somewhat antiquated version. Because I’m quirky, remember? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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**You may also like How to Parent Your Introvert Child.