The course of true love (or any love, for that matter) never did run smooth.
It is June, the month traditionally associated with weddings. ♡ And weddings are traditionally associated with love. ♡♡ Unfortunately, loving someone isn’t always easy—especially when we don’t understand them. For many of you, loving the introverts in your life (be they spouse, child or parent) is such a struggle, so I am offering the following suggestions in the hopes they will make you, and your introvert, happier:
- Don’t try to “fix” us Because there is nothing wrong with us in the first place. You may mean well when you try to “draw us out of our shell” but it usually makes us feel both uncomfortable and misunderstood. Yes, we need our more outgoing friends to nudge us out of our comfort zone from time to time, but if you really love us you will recognize how difficult social interaction can be for us. Instead of expecting us to change, celebrate those times when we succeed in being more extroverted. With you cheering for us, we might discover it isn’t as hard as we thought.
- Don’t interrupt If we are in the middle of a task, or reading a book, or doing anything that requires focused thought, please, please DO NOT interrupt us to tell a funny story. (Ever.) If you need to tell us something important, let us know you need to talk and then give us time to finish our current thought or sentence before giving you our attention.
- 5-minute warnings Have you ever asked us a sudden question and gotten a look of befuddlement and an incoherent mumble? That is because our brains like to do one—and only one—thing at a time. If you want us to switch tasks, or topics, please give us some warning so we can finish our current thought and give our brains time to reorient to the new topic. (We hate those befuddled mumbles too. Five-minute warnings help us sound like the intelligent and insightful people we really are.)
- Guard our solitude Being with people drains our energy. When we get home after a day at work, remember that we have just expended eight hours of “people energy.” Some days we feel like this:If you sense our energy reserves are low, do what you can to give us time to recharge. (Such as keep the kids out of our hair for an hour or two, or decline a last-minute invitation.) This is how you show us that you’ve got our back.
- Divide and be happy Many people have a limited tolerance for doing nothing, especially when they are on vacation. Unfortunately, their definition of “doing nothing” might include such things as sitting at the campground reading a book. Why would we want to read when there are fish to be caught, waves to be surfed or mountains to be climbed? At times like these, the happiest solution might be to allow some people to go “do stuff” while some of us stay behind. If this is a constant struggle in your family, consider vacationing with other families, so there will be enough people to “do stuff” and still give the introverts breathing space (meaning time to read, or chill, or commune with nature, or whatever it is we do when we are not interacting with the outside world.)
- Silence Accept that we not only enjoy silence, but we actually need it. And by silence I mean no talking, no TV, no music, no YouTube—an actual absence of noise. Many of us need this kind of silence to think effectively. As a corollary, we appreciate times of activity without conversation. When you are willing to simply be with us (whatever we are doing), and refrain from talking, you are actually saying “I love you!” loud and clear.
- Get us talking But not about any old thing. About something that interests us. We love conversations that go beneath the surface, about topics of interest or situations that matter to us or our loved ones. Get us talking about one of our passions and we just might talk your head off.
There you have it, a few simple ways to show your favorite introverts how much you love them (even if you don’t understand them.)
Have other suggestions? Leave a comment below.
Related posts: How to Say I Love You – Part Two