Our expressions of affection may be subtle, but the emotions behind them are profound
We introverts are a unique breed. We relish our alone time and hold our feelings close to our sleeve. For this reason, many people may see us as arrogant or aloof. However, those who really get to “know” us see our beautiful qualities of being a good listener, a loyal friend, and a person whose passionate, thoughtful nature is extremely rare and exquisite.
The problem is that introverts like myself rarely “let people in.” And when we offer you admittance into our heavily fortressed psyches, you can rest assured you are quite an extraordinary person.
The problem is that it may not always be obvious that you have won your particular introvert’s friendship or love. Because the small, inconsequential things most people do every day are extremely difficult for introverts, it is often in the seemingly unimportant and ordinary acts of human communication that we show you we love you.
Here are a few of them:
We call you or text you
As an introvert, I hate it when I get a message on Messenger or someone is online on Facebook and they want to chat. Even when it is a message from one of my closest friends.
There’s no polite escape. And this in itself is a nightmarish situation because we introverts are always looking for an “exit” door just in case we get overwhelmed when we are engaging with others.
After all, people can see that you are online on the site, and, let’s face it, no one is busy on Facebook working on their doctorate dissertation. So, it’s obvious to others that your “surfing” means you have a bit of free time.
Introverts like me visit these sites usually just to satisfy our need for doing what we do best: studying people through their posts (we introverts love to “people watch” and this is simply another form of that), reading interesting articles, or simply browsing the site while we wait to see the dentist or doctor.
We are most definitely not there to “talk.”
And when I see that little chat box pop up in the middle of my scrolling, I immediately feel my blood pressure spike and my pulse race.
Someone has “seen” me. Someone knows I’m “there.” And now I have to converse —or I will likely hurt their feelings by ignoring them or seeming rude.
And as most introverts are usually highly sensitive to the feelings of others, I am now trapped in the introvert hell otherwise known as small talk.
That damned box is there and so are those three flashing little dots that tell me they are typing, and all I can think is of how to make a courteous end to the conversation (usually before I even see their first message).
And so when an introvert calls you or texts you, it’s a sign of love.
For two reasons.
One, we care deeply enough about you to endure those awkward moments of silence and the struggle we know we will face when the “clock strikes twelve” and our inner voice beckons us to end the call and to return to the comfort of hibernation.
For example, my friend Jenny recently got royally screwed over at work. It’s a long story so I won’t bore you with the details but, as introverts are usually intuitive and empathetic, I could see (and feel) her frustration and pain. However, we were in a group meeting when my co-worker was “wounded,” and afterward, when I tried to get to her to offer my compassion, she had already made a hasty escape (I’m assuming to hold it together before she burst into tears).
I desperately wanted to ask her if she was okay. Tell her that I was sorry for the way she was treated, and let her know someone cared.
But she was gone — and I felt she really needed a friend right then.
So, I called, even though the threat loomed about what conversation would doubtless lie before me after I had offered my words of compassion and comfort.
And when an introvert calls you in spite of this feeling of dread, it means they truly care for you. It means that you are more important than the anxiety they face when confronted with having to make conversation.
And if you get this call or text, you should consider yourself a valued member of the introvert’s “tribe,” which, by the way, can usually be counted on one hand.
Two, when we call you it means we feel safe enough with you to know that you will not judge us for the sudden ( and sometimes awfully obvious) excuses we make to end the conversation when the introvert gods call us home to our shells. We know you accept our social awkwardness — and love us anyway. And this acceptance makes us feel connected to you in a way that we simply cannot feel with others.
We cry in front of you
Introverts have a hard time sharing their feelings with others. We are intensely private people and tend to wrestle with our deepest fears and disappointments alone.
So when an introvert openly expresses his or her pain and shows you the intensity of his or her feelings, count yourself extraordinary.
Crying or conveying our sorrows or frustrations in front of you means that we truly trust you. It means we know you won’t “blow us off” or call us overly dramatic. Because we feel things so deeply, offering you a visit inside our turbulent soul shows that we know you will be gentle and respectful of our fragile psyche. And when we take off the armor and stand before you “naked,” you can be assured you are a truly important part of our lives.
We go places with you.
As I stated before, introverts have a small amount of energy when it comes to socializing. Think of your phone when it keeps flashing that “low battery” warning. This “low battery” is a perpetual state for introverts when we are around others. So if we actually agree to an outing with you, it is an incredible show of love.
If we go with you on that beach trip or even a smaller excursion such as a half-day trip to a mall, museum, or sporting event, we are willing to risk “running the battery dead.”
And when that battery is dead, we know you will intuit the truth and understand.
For example, out of your kindness and understanding, you may see our “social exhaustion” and cut the trip short. You won’t harass us when we want separate rooms even though it’s a “girl’s weekend.” You won’t respond in anger when we call an Uber to take us home an hour after the party started.
You have no idea how free that acceptance makes us feel. How wonderful it is that someone “gets” us and loves us in spite of our quirks and idiosyncrasies.
And in return, we will love you fiercely for these qualities because even though we may leave the party early, we will never make a quick exit when it comes to fulfilling your need for comfort and a listening ear.
The bottom line:
Having the love of an introvert may cost you a few social gatherings or may leave you a bit lonely on those Friday nights when you want to paint the town red.
But in return, your acceptance and unconditional acts of love for us will provide you many wonderful things. And if you truly listen and pay attention to our subtle hints of love, you just may find the best friend or partner that you could ever imagine.