Some of the best gifts for introverts aren’t things you can buy in a store.
As an introvert, giving gifts has always been difficult for me. While the mainstream extroverted world deluges us with advertisements at this season about the power of commercially packaged gifts to make our loved ones happy, I’m at a loss for how to give gifts to others. I find myself in my own world, wanting things that no one can buy for me, like wisdom, understanding, and peace of mind. I can’t imagine what other people would want, especially since I’m usually buying presents for adults who could always just buy what they want with their own money.
I’ve come to understand that adult gift-giving among friends and family is often meant to reflect more of a personal understanding and regard for the other person than alleviating an economic need. To this end, I’ve compiled a list of eight possible kinds of gifts that different kinds of introverts might appreciate. I hope this helps you think about how to show your love and appreciation to others who may be looking for something non-commercial this year.
(What’s your personality type? We recommend this free personality assessment.)
Gift Ideas for Each Introverted Myers-Briggs Type
INTJ: Alone time
This may seem like a cliché, but one of the best gifts you can give an introvert — especially an adult in this endlessly busy world of work that we live in — is alone time. INTJs are known for their love of contemplation, ability to read voraciously, and introspective nature. As someone who identifies as an INTJ myself, I know that I am much happier when I have time to myself. Since this isn’t always possible in everyday life, I treasure the times when I am able to step away from the grinding routine of life to enjoy some solace.
For non-INTJs, this may seem like strange advice. The gift you want is to be left alone? They may think that this means you don’t care about them or you’re happier without them. But this isn’t true. INTJs can value relationships and time with people we love and find interesting as much as anyone — we just appreciate it in smaller doses than most people. We usually don’t get alone time in our daily lives, so allowing us some, particularly if we are allowed to plan the schedule and set aside generous amounts of unstructured solo time, is a fantastic gift for any season.
INFJs are known for empathy and for trying their best to meet others’ needs. When they’re in relationships, they can find it difficult to meet their own needs while absorbing the emotions and needs of those around them. The INFJs I’ve met are less interested in receiving material objects as gifts and more interested in knowing that their efforts to help someone else have been well-received and appreciated.
As a gift, consider sending the INFJs in your life a heartfelt letter of appreciation that describes their impact on your life and reflects a deep understanding of what they contribute. Especially for those of us whose love language is words of affirmation, this can be the best gift: to see that all of the work you’ve put into your relationships has been for a good purpose. Being validated in your care and concern can create a huge positive boost that will inspire a cheerful holiday.
INTP: A listening ear
Some of my favorite INTPs are passionate about niche interests that they could talk about nearly all day long. While I’ve learned that it can be fun to listen to them go on about the history of video game companies, Soviet tank designs, or the biographies of obscure scientists, not everyone is so obliging. Being an INTP can sometimes mean bouncing from conversation partner to conversation partner without ever getting to finish the thought you were trying to convey.
A great gift idea for an INTP friend or significant other would be to sit down with them and just let them talk. It’s amazing how much they have to say that they wouldn’t even begin to say in a larger, less familiar public setting. Give them a sincere listening ear and try to understand what they see as so interesting about what they’re telling you. Not only will they appreciate someone who’s interested in listening, but you might learn something new, too.
INFP: Something unique to your relationship
INFPs are sentimentalists. In my experience, they love to reflect on meaningful experiences and feelings they’ve had, especially with the meaningful people they were with at the time. An INFP’s affections go deep rather than broad, so if they decide that you are someone they want to commit to, they will hold on tight! You may find yourself becoming their best friend or finding a special place in their heart.
A great gift for an INFP, then, will be one that reminds them of (and reinforces) the relationship you have. Maybe it’s a handwritten card with hand-drawn pictures and a message that reminds them of an important connection you both made. Or perhaps it’s a DVD collection of their favorite anime series or a copy of their favorite book. The more personal, the better. You could even give something that symbolizes your relationship, such as a picture frame with a photo of you both or a unique bookmark with original artwork. Something that money can’t buy, but heart and affection can.
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ISTJ: A gift card or coffee table book
The ISTJs I’ve met have all been intensely practical. I asked one what he would like as a gift and he suggested that cash or a gift card are the best gifts because they’re efficient and the receiver can do what they want with them. Other practical gifts might include using your skills to perform a service for them, such as an oil change, appliance installation, or home repair. Or you might consider an Apple Airtag to help them keep track of their keys.
But if you’re looking for something more personalized to get your ISTJ, consider a coffee table book with illustrations of their favorite places or times in history. While most people might just leave such a book on their table as a decoration, an ISTJ who loves that particular place or era will find it thoroughly enjoyable and imagine being there themselves. It might even inspire them to finally spend the money to go on their dream vacation.
ISFJ: Something heartwarming
When I think of ISFJs, I think of someone who cares a lot about those around them but often stays in the background. They may take on duties that no one else will do or quietly perform acts of service that few notice. They often like stories about relationships and familiar, cozy items that remind them of good memories.
When picking a gift for an ISFJ, consider something heartwarming. This means something that emphasizes the good in the world and reminds them that in spite of the chaos and confusion they may see on the news, there are still good people out there. Bonus points if you include something from their childhood or that reminds them of home, like vintage mugs, cute knickknacks, or a Chicken Soup for the Soul book.
ISTP: Power tools or a new gadget
The ISTPs I’ve met like to do projects with their hands, often around the house. This requires a good set of tools which, of course, only have so much of a life span. If you aren’t sure what to get your ISTPs for Christmas, consider a nice upgrade to their tools. As for which ones to get, you could always just ask them what they need or want. If that approach is too direct, you might ask them to show you their toolkit and explain what each piece is and what they use it for. Then ask if any parts of their kit are old or need a replacement. For someone like me who can hardly tell a drill from a screwdriver, it may take a little research. Then again, you could always default to a Home Depot or Lowe’s gift card.
Another possibility would be a new technology gadget they can play with, such as a solar-powered flashlight for their survival gear kit or a drone — anything that they can tinker with or find new uses for. If they’re interested in DIY phone repairs, you could even try the iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit.
ISFP: Gift card to a beauty spa or art kit
The ISFPs I know seem to be among the most beauty-conscious of introverts. They create beautiful art, make their home spaces look nice, and are fond of sweet fragrances and flavors. But, being introverts, they are likely to be hesitant to spend much money on themselves.
A great gift idea for such an ISFP is a gift card to a beauty spa or other cosmetic service(s). In a way, it’s not just a gift of money, but a gift of an excuse to take some time and money for themselves to spend on relaxing and beautifying. They’ll likely appreciate it and not have to feel guilty about spending the money.
You might also try an art kit for ISFPs with artistic interests. Get them something fancier than they might get for themselves, and I’m sure they would appreciate the chance to use their talents to create something beautiful.
If you want to read my novels with introvert protagonists, check out the Kaybree versus the Angels series on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and more.
You might like:
- Gift Ideas for Every Introvert, Based on Their Personality Type
- How Each Introverted Myers-Briggs Type Would Rather Spend the Holidays
- Here’s the Love Language of Each Introverted Myers-Briggs Personality Type
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