People often confuse what it means to be introverted or extroverted. The main difference between the two personality types is based on how people reenergize themselves after a long week.
Introverts can stay in on a Friday night and watch movies by themselves all night, and it will be a great night. Extroverts need to be around a lot of people in an active social setting in order to reenergize.
Yes, there are certain characteristics associated with both personality types, but they aren’t as severe as people may think. Here are some things we introverts want people to understand.
1. Just because we enjoy a chill night in doesn’t mean we’re don’t like to go out.
I love a great night in. I love cuddling up in my blankets with (an entire) pizza and watching a movie. This does not mean that I don’t also love going out to (or having) parties with a big group of people.
I just need to be able to generate enough energy to be able to be as lively as extroverts. I will have just as much fun as anyone else at a party, and often am the one suggesting we go out. I just love my bed.
2. You need to let us be alone sometimes.
I need to be alone at times to avoid being an anxious mess. When I come home after class and work, the last thing I want is to be surrounded by a group of people. I’m tired and I need a few minutes to collect myself.
You need to let us do that without assuming that we are in a bad mood or mad at you. Most of the time, we are not in a bad mood. We just need some space. That’s it. It doesn’t mean that we are antisocial. We also love to be around people—we just need some time to ourselves before we can handle it.
3. Being an introvert doesn’t mean that we’re shy.
I love meeting new people. I love to be in situations where I can meet a group of people and potentially make new friends or interests. With that said, big crowds can make me anxious as anything.
For example, going into a crowded store will make me climb into my shell really quick. There’s nothing wrong with that: it just means that there is too much stimulation going on around me.
When I get overwhelmed, I tend not to talk. This doesn’t mean that I’m shy. I can be shy, but that doesn’t mean that I am shy. Just don’t leave me at a party all alone as being surrounded by strangers scares the heck out of me.
4. We’re quiet because we’re observing everything around us.
Nine times out of ten, when I am with someone, but not talking, I am people-watching.
It’s one of my favorite pastimes. Being a wallflower doesn’t bother me, and it doesn’t mean that I’m not having fun. I am usually the person who catches people’s embarrassing moments they were hoping no one saw, or the person who heard the person talking in a group who no one else heard and will make it apparent that I heard what they said.
When I go to a restaurant with someone, I try to sit in the seat where I can see everyone else in the restaurant. I need to have other things to focus on when I talk or when there is a silence going on. It keeps me interested and it keeps me from being super awkward.
5. We love to listen.
Having deep conversations with people is what I live for. I love talking to people and learning about how they think, what they think about, how they see the world and anything else they’d like to tell me. What I don’t like listening to is people talking about dumb things or only talking about themselves in a selfish way.
If I get into a conversation with someone, it is going to be meaningful. Yes, you will end up talking to me until three in the morning. I like to listen to other people’s perspectives of the world. It helps me to learn more about how I see the world as well (if it’s similar or different to the way they see the world). What people choose to tell you can reveal a lot about what kind of person they are. It’s an eye-opening experience. We want to get to know you—every part of you.
6. We don’t like to talk about ourselves.
I hate feeling like I’m bragging about things that happen in my life. I may not seem too excited when something huge happens, but that doesn’t mean that I’m freaking out on the inside.
I physically cannot show how excited I am to the same extent as an extrovert can. When something good happens, it usually takes me forever to tell people. I don’t like to add anything to a conversation that I feel won’t add something of true meaning. I can sit in complete silence and not consider it awkward.
One stigma concerning introverts is that we secretly wish we weren’t introverted. Yeah, sometimes I think it’d be easier or nicer to be extroverted, but I’ve never been that way, so I don’t really have any idea what that’d be like. We don’t need people trying to “help” us climb out of our comfort zone.
The biggest thing that people need to know about introverts is that we cannot help who we are. We can’t change ourselves, nor do we want to. We like who we are. You like us because of who we are, too.
If you’re an introvert and can add something to this (or even an extrovert!), please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section below.