Chances are you’ve met an introvert at some point in your life, and you might not even have realized it. Not everyone knows what introverts are, and how to love and live with them effectively. The difference between introverts and extroverts is simple; it relates to what energizes a person, and what depletes their energy. Introverts are energized by low stimuli activities such as one on one discussions, reading, talking walks in nice, quiet parks and watching TV shows or movies, either alone or with a friend or significant other. Their energy is quickly depleted through high stimuli activities that energize extroverts, which involve large crowds, and lots of noise and social stimuli.
See Also: Careers for the Introverted
1. Figure Out What They’re Passionate About
The average introvert hates small talk, and prefers interaction in small groups of approximately one to three other people. They’re energized by conversations, which are passionate, in depth exchanges of ideas so if you’re trying to get to know an introvert personally, professionally, or romantically figure out what they’re passionate about and share with them what you think about your mutual interests. If they see you as someone that they can talk to you’ll have an automatic invitation inside an introvert’s metaphorical bubble.
2. Respect Their Need For Space And Quiet Time
When they’re tired or just back from a social gathering that required meeting new and unfamiliar people, a true introvert will need some quiet time to recharge and reenergize. Accept, and never, ever take their need for space personally. Either let them have their alone time, or join them in whatever quiet activity they’ve chosen. If you decide to keep the friendly introvert you work and/or care about company while they’re recharging, only talk as much they want to talk.
3. Don’t Overwhelm Them
High stimuli activities are anything that involves a high level of interaction, with large groups, and lots of background distractions. If an introvert has an emotional attachment to somebody attending, or hosting one of these events they are likely to attend; however, after a high stimuli event they’ll most likely want to go home and curl up in their pajamas with either Netflix or a good book, and maybe their cat (if they have a cat.) Respect the fact that the introvert you care about can only do high stimuli events in moderation and don’t pressure them to go out dancing, or meet a crowd of people they’ve never met before, after bringing them to a high stimuli event.
4. Never Assume That an Introvert Can’t be Outgoing
A common misconception is that the word introvert is a synonym for shyness. Sure, some introverts are shy people, but some extroverts are also shy. If someone is confident and outgoing on the outside never assume that they’re an extrovert, and if they’re shy and socially anxious never assume they’re an introvert. As I already mentioned in the introduction the only difference between introverts and extroverts is what energizes them. There are also ambiverts, people that have a combination of introvert and extrovert tendencies.
5. Don’t Pressure an Introvert to Speak
The extrovert personality type is held up on a pedestal as the ideal personality type. A good example of this is report cards, from elementary to college level education. Far too many educators reward students who talk a lot during class discussions, and discourage quiet students’ behavior, rather than treating the two personality types as equals. This penalization of quiet types does not only occur in educational institutions, but also in workplaces. Introverts think and listen more than they speak, and often, once they share their thoughts with you, it’s something that’s been carefully thought through, and filtered inside their brains, before they go ahead and share their opinions on a specific topic. Introverts can only thrive if they’re encouraged to speak up on their own terms, rather than someone else’s, in a supportive, low-pressure environment, therefore it’s important to perceive their occasional silence as a good thing, and part of who they are.
See Also: The World’s Most Famous Introverts
The process of introverts and extroverts working together, in perfect harmony is easier than it looks. In order for introverts and extroverts to get along, live, and work together it’s important that their differences are not only respected, but also used to everyone’s advantage, in order to excel at work, life, friendships, and love.