I’ve talked about being an introvert on the blog for a long time, but today I’m putting together some thoughts on how to truly love and understand an introvert.
My husband and I are total opposites. He’s tall, I’m short. He’s funny, I’m serious. He’s extroverted, I’m introverted. And that last one? That’s where it took some time for him to understand what I needed.
Here’s the thing about introverts. Our needs are different. Especially once we become mamas. For a long time, I thought it was just me being way more selfish than other moms. Than other wives. But eventually I realized: it’s not so much me being selfish as it is that my recharge takes longer and includes more alone time than an extrovert’s.
Okay, so…if you are married to an introvert. If you ARE the introvert and need a place to start the conversation because no one gets it. If you’re an extrovert and your BFF is introverted…here’s what you need to know.
1.A few minutes alone at the end of a work day IS. LIFE.
Here’s where Brandon really started to see the difference between us in those early years. He comes home and is ready for anything. I come home and need to IMMEDIATELY go into the bedroom to change my clothes and have 5 minutes to decompress. This is a very real need for an introvert, who uses up so much energy just to make it through the day. Even in a small office with little interaction, it takes effort. So if you come home to an introvert, please give them a few moments to switch gears, shake off the day, and refuel for the evening hours. It’s what we need.
2. We only like certain kinds of parties.
Listen…introverts DO like parties. We like the small, intimate ones where we know everyone. I love a good family party where I don’t have to be “on.” What we don’t like is huge parties or parties where we know a few people only. Or no one. *Shudder* Parties where we feel known are actually welcome and we enjoy ourselves. But the other ones just mentally (and sometimes even physically) exhaust us.
This past weekend, I took Harlyn to a birthday party where I didn’t know a soul. As luck would have it, she lost her mind several times during the party and I was absolutely mortified. I wouldn’t be all that surprised if that was the first and last school birthday party she ever gets invited to. It was THAT bad. Anyway-I tell you that because Brandon knew exactly what to do when we arrived home. He tossed me my phone, shut me in the bedroom, and took both kids down the hall to play and let me have alone time. Understanding that any party with strangers is taxing, but especially one that doesn’t go well, takes a lot out of an introvert–is key.
3. We aren’t witches.
I use the word witches here, because Facebook (where I post blog links) doesn’t like me to use the word that rhymes here (and actually…neither does God). So I’ll say the nicer word, but you know what I mean. Introverts tend to get a bad rap for being like, the WORST. But we aren’t witchy. We’re often SHY. And shy can sometimes show up as being standoffish. But we’re definitely interested in chatting with you and probably want to be your friend. We’re just not great at the smalltalk thing and some people misinterpret that. So please talk to us if we’re acting weird at a social function. And if we know you well already and we’re just hanging out? Maybe let us sit in a comfortable silence for a few without thinking we’re mad at you.
4. We don’t hate people.
It’s common for people to hear the word “introvert” and think it’s some weirdo who only wants to read books and never talk to a human again. But that’s not true. While I don’t want to introduce myself to a room full of strangers, I actually crave closeness and communication with my family and friends. It’s harder for me to meet new people than it would be for an extrovert, but it doesn’t mean I can’t or don’t want to.
Being introverted has gotten me into some not-so-fun situations over the course of my life. But thankfully, over time the painfully shy and reserved introverted child grows up to be a mostly normal, still-a-little-sky adult.
Are you an extrovert or an introvert? What’s one thing you wish others would understand about your extroversion/introversion??