For as long as I can remember, I’ve preferred my own company over the company of others. Some of it is anxiety, I’m sure. Some is probably insecurity.
But so much more of it is simply because I’m an introvert. I spent a lot of my childhood trying to fix my introversion – mistakenly thinking it was something I was just doing wrong. As I’ve grown up, however, I’ve learned that there’s nothing wrong with taking time for myself. Not only is it something I enjoy, but it’s something that I need as an introvert.
Introverts aren’t necessarily shy (although many are), they just cherish their quiet stillness and value their alone time. They recharge by themselves, as opposed to extroverts who are recharged by the energy of other people. That doesn’t mean an introvert and an extrovert aren’t compatible – it just means you need to know what you’re getting yourself into.
Introversion isn’t just one personality type.
While people are generally categorized as “an introvert” or “an extrovert,” the truth is that there is a lot of complexity within those two core types. When it comes to introverts, there’s a spectrum ranging all the way from antisocial introverts (those who would prefer to be alone because they think other people are terrible) to ambiverts (those who need time to be alone, but also need time around other people). Somewhere in the middle, there are selective introverts and shy introverts – those who are particular about the people in their lives and those who get nervous around new people, respectively.
Most introverts fall in the middle.
When you think of an introvert, you usually think of the antisocial introvert, but realistically most introverts aren’t antisocial – just selectively social. No one is in their life randomly; every day they interact with someone is a conscious choice. They are very choosy about who they get close to, so they’re not generally surrounded by a very large circle. You can trust that, if you’re in the circle of an introvert, they’ve already decided that you’re worth their time.
Introverts prefer deeper conversations.
Where extroverts can strike up a conversation with whoever they encounter, introverts don’t have such a luxury – so they’re very selective about the things they say, as well as who they say them to. Their conversations have direction and purpose, which means they’re not drawn to drama or mindless bickering. They’d prefer to work things out rather than just fight and argue.
Introverts are amazing listeners.
Introverts are attentive and thoughtful, and they take time to thoroughly process things before replying. This means that they won’t jump to hasty conclusions or speak just to hear themselves talk. They are concise with their own words, so they can better understand yours – including the ones you can’t express so well. If they can tell that it’s important to you, they’ll do their best to help you work through it.
Introverts are understanding, but they need you to understand, too.
Maybe it’s because of how much understanding they require in a relationship, but introverts tend to be some of the most understanding partners – as long as you’re not hurting them in the process. They need to feel appreciated and loved, so they’ll make sure you feel appreciated and loved. They need you to reach out first, because sometimes it’s hard to take that first step, but once the conversation starts, they’re ready to face it.
Introverts aren’t strangers to leaps of faith.
Generally speaking, introverts would prefer not to take unnecessary risks – so if the intro you’re interested in has given you the greenlight to pursue, understand that they’ve already invested a lot of thought into whether or not you’re worth it. They understand that love is a risky game to play, so just taking a chance on you is already a huge deal – make sure you’re playing fair!
Introverts need their own place to retreat.
It’s nothing personal, and it speaks nothing of your relationship, if the introvert you love needs to retreat to her own sanctuary occasionally (or often). Introverts need peace and intimacy, and they’d rather spend quality time with you than spend every minute by your side. Trust them, and respect their boundaries – the time you spend together is immensely valuable to them.
Introverts want to know their partner is satisfied.
Introverts are natural-born people-pleasers (well, with the exception of the antisocial introverts, of course). They will step out of their comfort zone if they think it will make their partner happy, and they remain concerned about their partner’s satisfaction during the entire relationship. They want to make sure you feel loved, appreciated, and happy from the first date to the very end.
Introverts are respectful whenever possible.
Your introvert love interest understands your need for personal space and privacy, because those are some of the deepest needs they have. They have high levels of emotional intelligence and would never want to impose. They also want to know that you feel your opinions are valued in the relationship, and they want you to speak up if something feels off – a roadmap to your happiness would likely be followed to the letter if you gave one.
Introverts are committed and loyal.
Relationships are a serious commitment to an introvert – they won’t enter one until after they’re sure of the other person. They may opt for loyalty before official title, and you might expect that you’re the only one they’re talking to even if you’re “just talking.” Cheating is out of the question – why would they stray from the person they’ve already committed themselves to?
Introverts will surprise you with their joy.
Just because an introvert needs a little extra time for themselves doesn’t mean that they’re boring – they just get joy from the simpler pleasures in life. The experiences they share with their most important people are precious, and they’ll enjoy those memories for years to come. To top it all off, they’ve got a witty sense of humor and are sure to make you laugh in the most unexpected ways.