Hi extroverts, it’s us again, the introverts.
You know, those quiet friends of yours who listened to your tearful story about the fight you had with your boyfriend — without interrupting even once? Those friends who let you be the center of attention at every party — and don’t try to steal the spotlight?
We want to say upfront that we introverts really like being friends with you extroverts. You pull us out of our introverted bubble, and you get us to do things we probably wouldn’t do on our own.
Without you, we’d probably spend every weekend in our pajamas watching Netflix, only making contact with another human when we open the front door to the Jimmy John’s delivery guy.
We usually have a good time when we’re hanging out with you. When you’re around, we don’t have to do the heavy lifting to make conversation happen.
One minute we’re shut off from the world writing fan fiction for Harry Potter in our heads. Then you come along, and suddenly we’re laughing and having fun and comfortably opening up about ourselves. How do you do that?
We’ve never sat down to talk about this, and that’s probably our fault, because we don’t really like to sit down and talk about anything. But to make our lives easier — and to avoid confusion and misunderstanding for you — there are a few rules we think all extroverts should abide by when they’re friends with introverts:
1. Don’t text us and ask us to be ready to hang out in 10 minutes.
We get it. Sometimes things happen spontaneously. But spontaneity should be the exception, not the rule. We need waaaay more than 10 minutes to mentally prepare ourselves to be with people. The amount of time needed for that mental preparation varies from introvert to introvert, but a good rule of thumb is to ask at least a day in advance.
2. If we hung out with you yesterday, we don’t want to hang out again today.
No offense, but we need time to recharge after being with people. Even when we have fun, socializing is still draining.
3. If we think it’s just going to be the two of us hanging out, don’t invite three more people.
We do better one-on-one. A crowd of people means we’ll probably clam up and fade into the background all night. Plus, it’s a little hurtful when we feel like we’re just another warm body in your extrovert entourage. If we’re friends with you, it means you really mean something to us. We have a tiny inner circle of friends, and we don’t let in just anyone. We agreed to hang out because we want to spend time with you.
4. Don’t show up where we live without asking first.
This goes back to that whole “we need to be mentally prepared to see people” thing.
5. “Tired” is code for “we don’t want to be around people anymore.”
If we say we want to leave the party because we’re tired, it might not mean we’re literally having trouble keeping our eyes open. We might just be “tired” of being surrounded by people.
6. We like to listen because we’re good at it, but don’t take advantage of it.
We care, and one thing we can offer you is our superpower of listening. But this doesn’t mean you should launch into a monologue that lasts 20 minutes — even we have our limits. If we’re not saying anything, it probably means we’re processing what you’ve said — and that isn’t necessarily an invitation to keep talking.
7. If we don’t answer your text right away, it doesn’t mean we hate you, it just means we want to be left alone for a while.
For our own mental sanity, sometimes we need to completely disconnect from people in every way. We promise, once we’ve had time to ourselves to recharge, we’ll answer your text and be the friend you need.
8. If you call us, it better be because you’re bleeding or your cat died, or some other horrific emergency happened. Otherwise, don’t call us.
We hate talking on the phone. We’re pretty sure texting was invented by introverts who wanted to avoid all phone calls forever.
9. If we say we want to stay home, we really do just want to stay home.
So let us. And show some respect by not texting us 12 times with the intention of making us feel guilty or trying to change our mind.
Image credit: Deviant Art (MOTHart)
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