I’m an introvert, and I married into an extroverted family. My husband, my in-laws, and the majority of my husband’s friends are extroverts — and it gets exhausting.
For one, I get asked a lot of questions, in an attempt to get me to make more small talk. But I always find that I lose steam and get out-talked. And it’s always tricky meeting new family members. As an introvert, I can be quite guarded in the beginning of a relationship, only throwing out a few surface-level nuggets about myself. Of course, that just encourages the other person to pepper me with more questions, thus repeating the exhausting cycle.
I adore my new family and friends, but sometimes the feeling of having to be ON is too much. So, here’s a list of what I wish my new extroverted family and friends knew about me. Introvert, can you relate?
What I Wish My Extroverted Family Knew About Me
1. Can you text instead?
I’m not much of a phone talker. I mean, I’ll talk on the phone if I have to, but usually all it amounts to is me saying what I needed to say, followed by a series of uh huhs, okay, really, wow, or that’s crazy. I know it’s hard to believe, but I really have nothing else to say. Like most introverts, I’m a word economist.
The majority of the time, I prefer texts, especially if you need to ask me a question or two. I would much prefer that so I can get back to whatever I was doing before the phone rang. I will stare at the phone while it’s ringing, contemplating whether to answer or not. Oh yeah, and you’re more likely to get a quicker response from me if you text. Seriously, just text!
2. Shhhh, quiet!
Naturally, I like quiet. I don’t like drawing attention to myself or even anyone sitting next to me — especially in public. If you’re out at a restaurant with an introvert, please don’t be crazy loud! If the people at the next table or two tables away can hear you, you’re too loud. Also, I don’t really want to join in singing happy birthday to someone in public. I actually can’t wait for it to be over so everyone else in the restaurant will stop looking in our direction.
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3. I know you love me, but…
This may seem odd to some people. My husband and his family are very loving people. They will hug and kiss you EVERYDAY. Okay, cool. I got a lot of love from my family growing up, but we didn’t hug and kiss each other everyday — just every once in a while, but it’s not like I was devoid of this great love by not getting hugs and kisses. As an introvert, I really enjoy my personal space, maybe sometimes a little too much. So when I see you coming in for that hug or kiss yet again, I get a little annoyed.
4. No, I don’t want to go shopping.
When I shop, I get exactly what I need, then I go home. Also, to avoid the crowds, I only shop at the least busiest time of day, which is early morning (that is, if I’m not ordering what I need online). My extroverted in-laws will go to the store at 5 p.m. on a Saturday and be totally fine, whereas I can’t stand the noise, the throngs of people, and oh, the screaming children. As an introvert, I’m sensitive to my environment, so it’s all too much! I also don’t care to shop when I get off work, if at all possible. After I have been at work all day in our open office floor plan, I just want to get home as soon as possible and unwind. Again, it’s all about overstimulation.
5. Shorter trips are better for my energy levels.
Sure, I enjoy my family’s company when they are in town, but as an introvert, I’ll admit that it quickly becomes exhausting, especially when they are staying at my house. Like most introverts, my home is my sanctuary, my place to go after a long day at the office, where I can relax, read, and enjoy quiet time. Naturally if you’re company, I feel compelled to keep you entertained, fed, and make sure you have what you need, so it takes a little work. And I feel like I should keep you company, even if you’re just watching a movie, since you are visiting to spend time with me.
So yes, please visit. We can have fun together, catch up, and make memories. But know that for me, a shorter trip is better for my energy levels.
6. Sorry, but I don’t want you to come over for the holidays.
The holidays can be stressful for a lot of introverts, but for me, they are my favorite time of the year. It’s a great time to see people you haven’t seen in a while, enjoy good food, and reconnect. However, as an introvert, I don’t want the get-togethers to be at my home.
So much planning takes place when you have to host the get-together. You have to take into account special diets, make sure you have enough food, and cook it all. Plus it never fails that even when you invite specific people, extra people show up who weren’t invited. You can’t invite this person and not that person.
Sure, all that prepping can be tiring for anyone, but when you add in the noise and people everywhere, it quickly becomes exhausting and overwhelming for an introvert. And when things are wrapping up, there are always the people who act as if they have no place else to go. My home is my sanctuary (see #5), and at the end of a big get-together, I want nothing more than to be left alone in peace.
7. I don’t want to go out somewhere loud and crazy.
Where I live in Tennessee, there is a huge three-day music festival every year. Multiple acts perform on multiple stages. Tons of people show up. Tons of loud, obnoxious, drunken people ready to sing and dance. Obviously, as an introvert, this is not what I would call fun.
However, last year, I lost the vote to do another activity and ended up going to the festival with my husband and his extroverted friends instead. I already knew what to expect, so I wanted to stay home. However, I didn’t want to be a bad sport, so I agreed. But as soon as we arrived, I regretted it. We had only been there maybe an hour when a fight broke out between festival-goers who had too much to drink, so we left. Couldn’t we have done something else? What’s wrong with a movie, play, or museum?
It’s not easy being an introvert surrounded by extroverts. That’s why I’ve learned it’s important to talk with them about your needs and preferences. Let them know your feelings and who you are as a person. Your spouse already knows the real you, but your in-laws and new friends probably need to be enlightened a little more. Communication is key to really understanding each other and living in peace.
Introvert, what would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments.