5 Things I Wish Extroverts Understood About Me as an Introvert and INFJ

portrait of an introvert and INFJ

As an INFJ, I’ve felt out of place for most of my life. I always knew I was an introvert, but when I discovered this personality type, everything fell into place in my mind. I suddenly realized that I wasn’t alone, and the intense need for space to myself that I always seemed to feel made sense. All of the “quirks” I was ashamed of for so long felt less shameful. I am an INFJ, and although I’ve gotten exponentially better at expressing my introvert needs, there are still some things I wish the extroverts around me could understand.

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I love the extroverts in my life, but there are five things I want them to understand about me as an introvert and INFJ.

What I Want to Tell the Extroverts in My Life

1. I need space.

And lots of it. It’s not unusual for me to spend a long weekend alone in my apartment and never get bored or lonely.  In fact, I did it for the better part of an entire summer in undergrad, and it was a wonderful summer. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like you, so please don’t take it personally. I simply need time to recharge. That burning need to be around people you feel sometimes? I feel the same, but opposite. I still love you, and I’ll come back to you soon, but for now, let me hide hide away on my own with the serenity of my own thoughts.

2. I feel everything you feel.

Okay, this one isn’t necessarily an introvert thing, it’s more of a highly sensitive person thing, although a majority of HSPs are introverts. As an HSP, I absorb other people’s emotions. Coworkers, significant others, roommates, you name it. If you’re upset, I’m upset. I may not know why, but I’m feeling those same emotions you are. In the same sense, if you’re in a really great mood, I’ll follow suit. Yes, I do have my own emotions, but I also have yours. And that is exhausting. It’s no wonder I need so much time to myself.

3. Just because I don’t reach out first doesn’t mean I don’t want to talk to you.

I overthink everything. Everything. That conversation we had two months ago over wine?  I may or may not lie awake at night replaying every detail wondering if I said something wrong. It takes a long time for me to open up to people, so once I start to feel safe with you, I question it, and I pull back. It’s not a feeling I’m used to, and it can be uncomfortable, although liberating. I appreciate your friendship, and I know I don’t express that enough. But I also don’t want to be a burden on you, so the second I start to feel like one, I may disappear for a while, no matter how much I like you.

4. I obsess over our conversations.

Like I said, I overthink everything. As we start to get closer, this only gets worse. It’s not uncommon for me to open up to someone and then apologize for it several times over the next few days. Believe me, I know it’s annoying, but I hate being vulnerable, and guilt comes easy for me. It will get better.  But in the meantime, I’ll just be over here thinking about everything I’ve ever said.

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5. If I’m weird around you, you’re really special.

I’m awkward and quiet when you first meet me, for sure. But that’s only because I despise small talk. Once I truly let my guard down around you — somehow getting past the small talk, the obsessive conversation replays, and me avoiding sending the first text — I’m pretty weird. I’m goofy, I’m nerdy, and I love it. It’s who I am, but not many people get to see it, so you’re pretty special if you do.

I used to think that being an introvert was something I needed to “fix.” After all, how’s a girl to make friends if she hates the obligatory small talk that comes first? But I’ve learned over the years that I’m perfectly content with my few, close, cherished friendships that have made it through the awkward side of me. But although I love my friends to death, these five INFJ truths will always be there.

And that’s okay. It’s who I am. I’m proud to be an INFJ. So bear with me, friends, and just know that my needs may be a little different than yours. 

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