Saturday, 29 October 2016

How To Be Friends With An Introvert

Being introverted makes a lot of things in life a bit, well...awkward.    Never is this more keenly felt than when it comes to making friends.

Introverts, in my experience, tend not to have a massive amount of friends, and this is mainly because we don't really like spending a whole lot of time with people.  Being mates can be a touch tricky when you never see anyone.    However, it doesn't mean we're not great friends.  You just need to get to know us and understand our quirks.  

Understand The Need For Time Out:

One of the things that fills me with dread is visitors.  Not short term visitors; those I can cope with.  It's longer term visitors I find hard to handle.    

A few years ago, our family were chatting about renting out a villa somewhere sunny and all going away together. The  idea of this is fine, but the reality of it is altogether different.   It's difficult to explain why, on a joint holiday, you need to be away from everyone for a while.  I daresay it's often seen as rude, but it's not.   

Introverts find too much social interaction knackering.  We can do a couple of hours but, after that, we really need a rest.   It might just be going to the bathroom for 5 minutes and getting away from everything, but anything is better than nothing.

If I'm in company for too long, I get very anxious and fidgety.   Les is an expert at picking up on this and generally knows that I've reached my limit and need to get out.  

Introverts find social situations really stressful.  Remember that it's nothing to do with your company; it's just the way it is!  It's way more stressful for them than it is for you.   

How to be friends with an introvert
Don't make me go out...I beg you!


Be Patient:

Accept that your plans will be broken.  There's no way round that, unless your friend is so scared of you that they're genuinely terrified of letting you down.  And, if this is the situation, then it's hardly much of a friendship, anyway, no?

I made two friends at work when I moved to Wales.    Work is where I make friends because I have to be around the same people every day or I'd get sacked.  If you left me to make friends by, like, going out and stuff, It would never happen.   And I'd be fine with that.   I'm not the lonely sort.

However, the reason I made these friends, apart from the fact that they're stuck with me, is that they're both similar to me; despite being entirely different people.  One is chatty and straight to the point; exactly the type of person that usually scares the pants off me, but underneath, she's a big softie.  

She tells me exactly what she thinks and I like that.   I would *never* dream of doing the same, but I like that she can.  She's kind and thoughtful and her language is just as colourful as mine.  She is offended by nothing and she knows that I'm the same.   

My other friend is gentle and incredibly thoughtful. She doesn't take any crap and is clearly an extremely strong woman. These are things I admire, despite the fact that they're the complete opposite to qualities that I possess.    She has a great sense of humour and the way she talks about her kids is just the best thing ever.   I've never heard someone speak with so much love.  It's obvious that she adores them and their relationships are great.   

I recently had a knock in my car and sent a message to one of them.  Before I knew it, she was round with pain gel and ice packs. This is just the way she is, but she also understands how I am and so she text first.  If it wasn't for them being so understanding, there's no way I'd have been accepted.  Most people think I'm odd/rude.  

I'll be back here if anyone needs me.

Never Be Pushy:

Never harass an introvert.   It's the worst thing you can do to them.  I hate telling people I can't keep plans and I always feel awful about it, but not as awful as I'd feel if I actually go through with them.

Constantly asking an introvert if they're going somewhere will merely make them keep their distance. It makes us feel horrendously guilty and then we keep out of your way for a while because we don't know how to proceed.  

Don't Expect Them To Be The Life and Soul:

I can force myself to be all happy and outgoing, but that's exactly what it is:  forced.   Naturally, I'm pretty quiet, unless I'm in a familiar situation with familiar people, and then I'm absolutely fine.  That doesn't mean I don't find it exhausting, though.

If you have an introvert friend, you'll often find them at the outskirts of things; often chatting to any pets that may be around.   By all means, invite them to your party, but don't expect too much from them when they're there.  Them *being* there is often a huge thing, so leave them be.

I often arrive late and leave early, so don't judge them harshly - they're just trying to cope and keep you happy.  


Don't Make Them Feel Crap About Not Going Out:

I can't count the number of times in my life that I've cancelled plans because I genuinely couldn't face them.   I like making plans *at the time*, but it's impossible to know how I'll feel on the actual day.   Because of this, I'm not the most reliable.   

Some of my reluctance is due to my chronic IBS, so I rarely ever feel like getting dressed up and I'm mostly too uncomfortable to do it, anyway.  The other aspect of this is that I just don't like going out.  My idea of an ideal night is me and Les, a bottle of wine, and something to watch on Netflix.  This makes me happy.   

If you have an introverted friend, this is what you're up against.  It's not that we don't adore you; it's just that we can't cope with going out a lot because of All The Other People.   Ask us to come round to yours in our onesies with a bottle of wine and we'll be right over.   Hey...was that your doorbell?


Suz x

1 comment: