Here it is.
I’m an introvert. Some people know this. Most don’t – or more likely don’t really care. Why should they? It’s my issue right?
One of the reasons I don’t put my name to this blog is because I want people to take on the ideas expressed because they speak to them – not because they know the author. Another is because I’m an introvert and really don’t want – or need – the kudos.
But here’s the thing. Introverts still need friends. Not all the time but like everyone else we like to feel included and liked. Solitude is great for us… but there’s a fine line between solitude and social isolation.
I run my own business and work hard. Since I also work alone this can mean friends tend to forget you exist. Social media is great to counter this to some extent because at least an update now and then lets them know you’re still alive.
I went to an event where I heard friends talking about something they were going to (that I wasn’t). As an introvert I’m used to feeling invisible and most of the time that works well for me – but even I have to draw a line. I can deal with people not asking me to things – I’m used to not being included because I realise most of the time it’s not intentional but simply because introverts are easy to overlook. But talking about it in front of me is a bit much. So I figured, if it’s gotten to the point where friends have kind of forgotten I’m even around, I’ll fix it and ask THEM to do stuff! Problem solved right? Not so much…
Image: Jeshu John – www.jeshujohn.com
Here’s the thing: for an introvert to do that is akin to a couch potato running the Boston Marathon. It means when I ask you to catch up for, say coffee, I’ve probably been working up to it for weeks and gone through at least seven of the nine rings of hell to even hit ‘send’ on the message or pick up the phone. I might even ‘drop hints’ instead as the more comfortable, less confronting option. “So, I haven’t seen you in a while, we should catch up”. “The weather’s warming up, pop down to work when you’re free and we can go for a walk”.
This is probably hard for the less introverted amongst you to understand. I get that. But it’s a massive thing for an introvert to do that. It’s not about being shy or a fear of rejection. It’s about stepping out of a comfort zone. And sometimes we just can’t do it. (Thing is after asking, or accepting the rare invite, we’re probably already trying to think of ways to get out of going!) When you don’t answer, or say “sure” and don’t follow up, thing is, we’re unlikely to keep asking.
Don’t expect an introvert to keep issuing the invitations. If they ask you over either go, or don’t, but be clear what you’re going to do because they’ll need to prepare themselves for the get together. If they ask a few times and you don’t act on it or take them up, they’re going to stop asking. It’s not worth the energy expended. They don’t have much to spare.
Another tip: if they do ask you to do something, never EVER invite others to go too unless you’ve checked in with them first! Introverts struggle to spend time with people they know well. Doing so with strangers when they were prepared for spending time with a friend will send them running for the door fast!
Introverts don’t have loads of friends … they don’t need them, and they are selective about who they share their limited energy with. Massive gatherings are a nightmare for them. Even business functions and meet ups are a struggle. And they don’t care how many friends YOU have. They’re also not particularly competitive so have no interest in how many societies you belong to, how many friends visit you, or who you know. If you truly value the time you do spend with them, best not to go on about it too much.
So if an introvert asks you – even off-handedly – to do something, if you’re their friend, take them up on it before they change their mind. Because what it means is they value you enough to actually want to spend their time with you.
Are you an introvert? Do you have similar experiences and if so how do you handle it?
Do you know an introvert and have realised you may have done some of the above things without realising it?
Share your experiences in the comments!
© Earth Goddess Wisdom – www.earthgoddesswisdom.com