Why Animals Are an Introvert’s Best Friend
I’ll be honest. As an introvert, sometimes I feel a deeper connection to animals than I do with humans.
It’s safe to say everyone knows the common phrase, “dogs are a man’s best friend.” But why limit that friendship to just dogs? There’s powerful compatibility between the average human and fluffy animal. So this phrase can be applied to other animals, too, like cats, rabbits, or what have you.
I grew up with an overwhelming passion for animals and even dreamed of becoming a veterinarian… but wanted to avoid seeing animals suffer, regardless if I was the one to save them. So, instead, I focused my attention on adopting animals in need and pouring my love into them. As an introvert, I sometimes feel a deeper connection to animals than I do with humans. At the end of each day, I truly believe my animals save me (as you’ll see below).
According to research, when we bond with animals, we get a boost in serotonin and dopamine, making us feel happy and connected. Connection is an innate human need, introvert or not. Animals are intuitive, and I personally think they understand there’s an increased compatibility with the introverted human. Similar to animals, introverts are also intuitive, loyal, and gentle. These similarities allow us to bond with animals on a much deeper level, therefore increasing serotonin and dopamine even more.
4 Reasons Why Animals Are an Introvert’s Best Friend
1. They comfort us (and no talking is necessary).
Being an introvert, interacting with people often drains my energy due to the expectation that I need to mutually contribute to the entire length of the conversation at hand. Interacting with animals, however, refills my emotional cup by offering relief from expectations and comfort beyond spoken words. (Although, I do often get caught talking to my cats. Don’t tell!)
There’s so much to appreciate about interactions that don’t rely on — or revolve around — verbal communication. Words are often open to interpretation based on each person’s lived experiences, mood, and listening skills. And our mouths aren’t the only body part that allows us to get our message across. From facial expressions to posture to eye contact, body language is hard to hide or fake, and most forms of body language are universal to people and animals alike. Sometimes, at the end of the day, non-verbal communication is all I have left to give my animals. But that’s enough for them to know exactly what I need. It’s also enough for them to be able to feel appreciated, acknowledged, and involved in the interaction, which is important for bonding.
2. They give us unwavering attention and seem to know exactly what we need at any given time.
Naturally, there’s a certain limit to how much attention I can give a person, group of people, or project. After a hard day’s work, chances are that my social battery might be on low (or zero) and the only attention I have left to give is reserved specifically for myself or my animals. The reason being is, no matter how demanding or social my day was, I’m confident in my ability to give unwavering and devoted attention to my animals.
And animals are grateful for any amount of attention you give them, which makes introverts and animals a perfect pair. If I have enough physical energy in the tank to go for a walk, play fetch, or drag their favorite toy across the ground, they’re happy. If I only have a sliver of physical energy in the tank to sit and cuddle, they’re happy. If I can only manage to take a nap, they’re happy (and usually don’t mind napping with me).
As passive as introverts may seem, we also require affection and attention. It just has to come from the right party and at the right time. Animals are always the right party for introverts, and because of their intuitive nature, they seem to always know the right time.
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3. They have the ability to enjoy the art of doing nothing.
Introverts require a different level of stimulation than extroverts; therefore, we require a different level of recharging. Sometimes, if not the majority of times, I crave doing nothing so that I can rest and reground. Being a part of the generation prone to burnout, I personally believe more people could benefit from learning how to appreciate doing nothing and to relinquish the control productivity has on us. Doing nothing is truly an art nowadays.
But you know who loves doing nothing? Your animals. It’s because animals are simply content with your presence. Like introverts, they appreciate and value the simple things. They’re there for you to recharge your battery, refill your cup, or let you be as you are. Because of the way we recharge, animals are the perfect companion to do nothing with.
Back to the strain of expectations, most people expect introverts to stretch beyond themselves to meet social standards or obligations. Meanwhile, my cats don’t care or judge if I want to spend all day Saturday (or Monday) in my sweats. My cats thrive when they’re on my lap and I thrive when I’m on my couch — match made in heaven.
4. They appreciate having a routine as much as I do.
Life is chaotic, so most introverts rely on structure and routine to combat the stress that burnout can cause. Having some sense of predictability allows us to react more efficiently when things don’t go as planned. So, feeding our animals is an essential part of our daily routine. Little do they know, but animals also rely on routine. Animals are always anticipating their next meal and introverts get it: We can be food lovers, too. After some time, animals become well-trained and know when that next meal will come. And they are always excited.
Feeding our furry friends gives us the opportunity to start our day the same way and clock the end of the day the same way — with a little bit of joy and kibble. This also means they’ll never miss a meal, which is the most important!
Animals Make Incredible Companions for Introverts (and Vice Versa)
Meaningful connection is essential to living a happy introvert life. But when overdoing the efforts to connect with other people, introverts often experience depleted energy sources — and animals can help revive that. To the same effect, because introverts are stable, reliable, and loving, we make for an incredible companion to animals. We can be there for them, meet their need for attention, and feed them in a timely manner.
Let the tail wags, couch cuddles, and full bellies support our eagerness to rephrase “dogs are a man’s best friend” to “introverts are an animal’s best friend” (and vice versa).