Introverts often get a bad rap. Because we tend to be quiet in group settings, people mistakenly assume we’re boring or we don’t have anything of value to say. Because we need plenty of downtime — and may turn down social invitations in favor of takeout and a good book at home — friends mistakenly think we’re antisocial. And because we often keep to ourselves and need time to open up to others, acquaintances label us as “rude” or “stuck up.”
The reality is introverts can make incredible friends and partners. I believe everyone should have an introvert in their life in some capacity. And with introverts making up 30-50 percent of the population, there are plenty of us to go around. Just make sure to give us our space — we are introverts after all.
Here are nine reasons to have an introvert in your life:
1. Introverts give you the stage. Because we tend feel more comfortable listening than talking about ourselves, we’ll gladly concede the spotlight. That means when you need to get something off your chest — or better yet, talk through your deepest fears and dreams — we’ll be there. We’ll listen empathically and probably ask questions that help move your thoughts along.
This tendency of ours also translates to us not overshadowing you when you wish to hold court. While you tell a riveting story or a belly-busting joke to a group of friends, we’ll laugh and smile along in support, rarely stealing your moment of thunder.
2. Introverts may not attend every party you throw, but they’ll be there when you need them. It’s no secret that introverts like spending time alone — it’s how we recharge our mental and emotional “batteries.” It’s also no secret that most introverts avoid parties like a cat avoids a bath (hissing and clawing optional). Although we probably won’t be by your side as you YOLO the night away, we’ll be there when you really need it. Did you just go through a break up? We’ll show up with a pan of brownies and a listening ear. Lose your job? We’ll set our deep-dive research skills to the task of searching for job postings for you, and we’ll even proofread your cover letter before you send it out. We’re your ride-or-die friend — except hopefully without the riding (or the dying) part.
3. Introverts will push you intellectually. As I share in my book, The Secret Lives of Introverts, I have an introverted friend who is basically a walking encyclopedia of Celtic mythology. For example, if you ask him about the hero Cú Chulainn, he can not only tell you how he died but also what kind of chariot he drove around in. Listening to him talk, I’ve found myself thinking, “Wow, he really knows his stuff!”
That’s because introverts love learning and adding to their vast stores of specialty knowledge. They also tend to examine issues from many perspectives, so they won’t, say, simply tow the party line or believe what everyone else is saying without investigating for themselves. Having an introvert in your life may mean you will grow intellectually in ways that you wouldn’t experience if your friend or partner were more extroverted.
4. Thoughtful and analytical, introverts give good advice. Trying to lose weight? Introverts have researched the top five diets, their pros and cons, and which ones work best. We’ve got charts, spreadsheets, and peer-reviewed studies to prove it. Struggling to sort out your complicated feelings about your ex? Forget the Cosmo article. We’ve been silently analyzing your situation for a while, plus we’ve got great insights from our own experiences to share.
5. Introverts will bring a depth of intimacy to your relationship that you may never have experienced. Many introverts value depth and meaning, and their relationships are no exception. Rather than talking about the weather or your weekend’s conquests, introverts value conversation that is mind-to-mind and heart-to-heart. How are your thoughts and feelings evolving? What’s playing out in your private inner world? This means you may develop a closer, more personal relationship with us than with others in your life.
6. Introverts bring a chill vibe. I used to date an extrovert who couldn’t stand silence. At home, he turned on the TV for background noise, no matter what we were doing. In the car, if we weren’t talking, the radio was cranked.
This is not the case with introverts. Introverts are perfectly content to pass a long car trip in silence, each person staring wistfully out the window, lost in their own thoughts. Also, our homes tend to be calm, sacred spaces that allow us — and those who share them with us — to recharge.
7. Introverts are low maintenance. You don’t have to text us every day. You don’t have to make plans with us every weekend. In fact, we’d prefer you didn’t. This goes back to that whole “introverts need time alone to recharge” thing.
And don’t think that spending time apart means our relationship will deteriorate. For introverts, absence usually makes the heart grow fonder. After some time to ourselves, you may find that we “show up” better for you.
8. Introverts cherish the relationships they have pushed themselves to make. For many introverts, finding love and making friends isn’t easy. To do so, we have to push ourselves past our comfort zone, which can be uncomfortable and exhausting, to say the least. Plus, we tend to be unique, independent people who don’t click with just anyone. If you’re in our life, you’re there for a reason. We may not be great at saying it, but know that we deeply cherish your presence in our life.
9. Introverts will remind you to stay balanced. Extroverts inherently understand the value of making connections, but introverts understand the value of slowing down and turning inward. Rather than constantly chasing popularity and status, introverts tend to value the simpler, more meaningful things in life. A thoughtful conversation with a good friend over coffee. A quiet morning all to yourself. The confidence you gain when you feel fully whole in and of yourself. In a noisy, fast-paced world that is always telling you to reach for more, your introverted friend or partner will remind you to slow down and listen.
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