By Ezinwanne Onwuka
Most of us find extroversion as a quality to reckon with. We see extroverts as easy-going, people-loving individuals while introverts are often tagged as weird, snob and nerd.
Just because extroversion appears to be a more popular and dominant personality trait does not mean that being an introvert makes one a ‘weirdo’.
Having differences is not a hurdle in a bond, knowing how to respect it is. Knowing these few things about introverts, then, will help to foster a healthy relationship with them.
Introverts need ‘alone time’ and we want you to respect that: Our ‘alone time’ is our ‘life potion’. We will literally exhaust ourselves to death if we are not allowed a minimum of, at least, 30 minutes solitude everyday. We need time for recharging. Don’t force us to join you to outings, movies, group chats etc. after an already overdose of socialization. If you do, we will politely decline your offer and we expect you to respect that without further question.
Introverts do not like to party: Sorry, but introverts are not the party types. And this is mostly for two reasons. Firstly, the need to unnecessarily socialize with people, even if they are absolute strangers. Secondly, the need to avoid unnecessary noise. If you are one of those who think inviting or dragging an introvert to a party will put an end to his despondency and make him come alive, have a rethink. Partying will only add to our gloom. We are not ‘people’ persons. Introverts detest parties for the sheer amount of people they get to meet all at once!
Do not urge us to be more extroverted: Often extroverts try and make us behave like them, fit in their lifestyle and also impose their opinions and choices on us. How annoying! We find it disrespectful and annoying to face situations when extroverts will come and tell us to ‘be bolder’, ‘be more expressive’. Introverts and extroverts are quite opposites. We can still exist alongside each other, even if we apparently have contrasting traits. There is no need to force us to change; just like we don’t force you to keep quiet when you start to ‘shout’. We must just embrace each other’s uniqueness. Introverts experience the beauty of the world in a way different from extroverts. But that does not make an introvert an ‘odd creature’. They are beautiful in their own way as you are in your own way, as an extrovert.
Introverts do not share their personal details in front of a group of people: Sharing personal information in the presence of a group of people is an absolute nightmare for introverts. However, if you are really interested in us and wants to know us better, follow the following steps. First, gain our trust and sneak into our circle of friends. Second, have the patience to create that comfortable space for us to open up. Lastly, and most importantly, meet us alone. Our personal life is a very treasured part of us and we do not want to share it with random people.
Do not force us to speak up: Have patience with us. We do speak. And we speak a lot. We just need the right comfort, the right dose of understanding, the proper listening skills from you and we will keep going on and on. The more you force us to speak, the more we will retire into our shells. Introverts need some time to process and contemplate before they speak.
Introverts do not like to be interrupted: Introverts are deep thinkers and need substantial time to process information. That, however, does not make us ‘slow-witted’ beings. Thinking is just our most favourite hobby. And when we are replaying a scene in our mind or are engrossed in our imaginary world, we would not like to be disturbed. We want to be left by ourselves. That helps us to focus on one out of the number of thoughts in our minds.
Talking over the phone is torture for us: You will be disappointed to the core when you try to talk to us on the phone; we are likely to stare at our phone until the call ends, especially when you are not in our circle of friends. It is better you send us a voicemail, text, email or better still chat us up on social media rather than dial our number. Even if we answer the call, we will fervently wish you to disconnect as soon as possible.
We do not want you to add us to group chats on social media: ‘Groups’ are not our thing. ‘Solo’ is our thing. We can still manage group outings periodically with our intimate buddies. But keeping track of the conversation going on in group chats on communicative apps is not just our thing! It is exhausting. We simple suck at it. Most importantly, the constant inbox notifications interrupt us from our focused thinking.
Do not complete our unfinished sentences: Opening up, for introverts, is a bit difficult. So, when you witness us performing our masterstroke of opening up, carefully pouring our hearts out, do not interrupt us by completing our sentences. It cuts our conversation flow. It makes us feel like you have violated our boundary; thereby reducing our chances of ever providing you with a glimpse of our inner world.