Both introverts and cats can take a long time to form a bond with others, making us appear aloof to strangers.
On a recent visit home, I met someone. She was soft, affectionate, and always down for a good cuddle. She was an outdoor cat, a green-eyed beauty. We clicked almost immediately, and whenever I returned, she hopped out of the brush or dashed out from under the porch to greet me. She’d look up at me with her gorgeous eyes as if to say, “Pet me. I love you.”
I love cats, but due to my nomadic lifestyle, I haven’t been able to have one of my own in recent years. Nevertheless, spending time with my new friend, I couldn’t help but draw some comparisons between myself, an introvert, and the felines who live among us. Of course, not all introverts — or cats! — are exactly alike, but really, the similarities are striking.
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How Introverts and Cats Are the Same
1. We’re choosy yet obsessively loyal creatures.
Both introverts and cats can take a long time to form a bond with others, making us appear aloof to strangers. Once someone has made us feel seen — someone who passes the “you’re actually kind of OK” test — this rare person automatically levels up to VIP in our world.
This makes us want to cuddle up on their figurative (or literal) lap and engage in hours of deep, meaningful conversation about anything and everything from our private inner thoughts to the world’s great mysteries. Acquaintances and small talk be damned. We found a person who makes us purr, rather than our usual slinking off for a nap or disappearing into a daydream.
In the full bloom of a new connection, whether platonic or intimate, we introverts feel warm, fuzzy, and in a rare turn of events, understood. We want to share the parts of ourselves we rarely reveal, and in turn, learn as much as we can about the other person’s inner world, too.
This special connection doesn’t happen often, so when it does, it’s a big deal. We’ll protect this relationship fiercely. Both introverts (and cats) may not have many friendships or relationships, so when we do choose you, we’re usually loyal as hell.
2. We communicate nonverbally.
It’s no secret that many introverts feel they communicate better in writing than in conversation. If you’re like me, you easily get flustered when you’re trying to explain the multitude of thoughts churning in your mind. Nothing ever comes out quite as eloquently as it sounded in your head. This struggle can be embarrassing, and it has to do with our introverted tendency to favor long-term memory over active memory.
This challenge becomes even more apparent when we like someone and want them in our lives. We might become awkward trying to express our feelings out loud, using words. I mean, it’s not easy for anyone to put themselves out there with an “I love you,” “I have a crush on you,” or just a, “Want to hang out?” For private and reserved introverts, these scenarios can be even more anxiety-provoking and tongue-tying.
That’s why, when we like you, we might not say it straight out. Instead, watch for nonverbal communication. If we’re making a conscious effort to spend time with you, know that we value you quite a bit.
Because, if I’m being honest, we introverts are totally fine on our own for the most part. So when we leave our introvert bubble and open ourselves up to you, it means we trust you and enjoy your company in a big way. Just like a cat jumping onto your lap, rubbing their head on your leg, or circling around your feet, we’re trying to tell you that we think you’re good people.
And, just like a cat, once you’re in our inner circle, we’d like you to give us all the snuggles, and your undivided attention, constantly please. Okay, not constantly. We are introverts, after all, and even though we like you, we will still need our alone time.
Do you ever struggle to know what to say?
As an introvert, you actually have the ability to be an amazing conversationalist — even if you’re quiet and hate small talk. To learn how, we recommend this online course from our partner Michaela Chung. Click here to check out the Introvert Conversation Genius course.
3. We’re relational yet we need our space.
Cats are fascinating. They seek affection from us — their humans — jumping on our computer keyboards when we’re trying to work or winding themselves around our legs. They also unapologetically do their own thing. If a cat is not in the mood for company, it will simply find a quiet, removed space to inhabit (and you’ll never hear it apologize for preferring time alone).
Similarly, introverts can be hot and cold, on or off in their relationships, and yes, this aspect of our behavior can be confusing to others. I often find these two facets of my personality to be at odds with each other. On the one hand, I crave meaningful relationships and I find myself longing for them when they prove illusive. On the other hand, I need lots of alone time to replenish my energy and function at my best. It’s during solitude that I find my grounding and reconnect with myself. Ironically, my solitude is the biggest thing that allows me to find meaning in my relationships; it gives me the energy to truly show up for others.
4. Cozy is our default mode.
Last but not least — and this is a big one — both introverts and cats are creatures of comfort. We like stretching and naps. Like, a lot. We burrow into our favorite nooks and take immense pleasure in killing a few hours in a state of rest. We have a quiet and calm energy, as opposed to an extroverted go-go-go mentality. (You know how dogs great everyone they see? That’s definitely not us.) We love routine, and if something changes unexpectedly, we might hide and hiss (inwardly) until we adjust.
This isn’t to say, however, that we don’t experience bursts of motivation and tear off toward unseen prey. Like cats, we’re innately curious and motivated to investigate and find meaning in our surroundings.
But, if we’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, our best bet is to find a comfy place to chill, away from the hustle and bustle of the world. If you don’t see or hear from us for awhile, we’re probably recharging, gathering our energy in stillness, waiting for the next big “hunt.”
Without fail, we’ll reappear like we never left and proposition you for some quality time once again. In fact, one of our favorite things is cultivating relationships with people who bring out our adventurous side but are also down to just chill and appreciate our slower-paced approach to life.
Perhaps these similarities are what make cats such good companions for introverts. Sadly, I’ve had to part ways with my green-eyed sweetheart for now, but I know even as we’re doing our own thing, our bond is ready for renewal when the time is right.
You might like:
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