Yes, I said “what” they are and not “who” they are because introverts tend to be treated like a different species in themselves. In the twentieth century, introversion was treated like a disease – an abnormality – something that hasn’t changed much over the years, except that some people out there are finally making an effort to understand what introversion is and how introverts live their lives and affect the lives of those around them.
Being an introvert myself (sometimes to the extremes), I have faced the many pros and cons of being the quiet one among people who excel at talking (sometimes, a lot).
Carl Jung – the renowned psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and also the founder of analytical psychology, proposed a theory -for the first time- of different types of personalities; the two major ones being the extroverts and introverts. His theory became the basis of the popular ‘Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Personality Test’ , where a set of questions were given and based on the answers, the person was classified into one of the 16 different personalities.
You can take the Personality Test here:
Introverts are not abnormal, other-worldly, weird people. And they are certainly not weak. If you are an introvert, have a friend who is one or if you are an extrovert trying to understand “The Quiet One’s” way of life, consider the following :
- They like to think – and think thoroughly. They’re busy processing every information they’ve received (through media, books or people) through and through. They look quiet, but their brain is always on an overdrive, twisting and turning every bit of information until they reach their own conclusion about it. Yes, they sometimes tend to overthink, but that’s a minor setback compared to the enormous amount of insight and knowledge they gain through their thought process.
- They speak only when they feel it’s absolutely necessary to. For example if you say something grossly wrong (general knowledge or otherwise) or something that personally affects them at a deeper level. Lightweight talks or small arguments won’t have them opening their mouths.
- It’s not the crowd that makes them uncomfortable. It’s the type of crowd. A group of five rowdy people can have an introvert running in the opposite direction and yet, they’re absolutely comfortable in a room full of quiet, polite people. A lot of noise and clamoring mostly leaves them feeling restless and chaotic, which is why they’re usually to be found in the quiet corners of the room – or quiet places of the world.
- They like deep talks. Gossips about actors and what the other person was wearing will have them phase out in half a minute, though they may feel guilty about it later (because introverts usually are amazing listeners). They like talking about things that genuinely interest you and that you love doing. Talk about your favorite music, a good book, your philosophy of life, your favourite sport. . .and you’ll instantly have their attention. Introverts usually seek a connection of some sort with the people they’re talking to in order to get comfortable with them. Give them that, and you might even have them open up to you!
- They are more fun than you know. Your initiatives at getting to know them will never go unrewarded. Yes, it will take some efforts on your part in the beginning, but you’ll soon see it’s all worth it. Intoverts like to put their energy into action rather than speech. They’re constantly doing something and thinking up new ideas. You’ll be amazed at how much fun it is to be with an introvert and you will never get bored (ya, I know – completely the opposite of what you know about them)
- They have a huge variety of interests. They’re always looking for ways to stimulate their brain. They’re interested in everything from quiet activities like reading, sketching, designing and gardening, to dynamic ones like learning guitar, hiking, exploring, playing basketball and photography. Introverts are open to new ideas and in their own quiet ways , they’re constantly trying to improve their lives, pushing their limits and trying to be the better version of themselves.
- They just want to be left alone sometimes. Though they’re used to it, sometimes they just get tired of people asking them why they like to be alone and why they are so quiet. Not to mention people whispering amongst themselves about how weird the introverts are. Yes – they notice, yes – they ignore. But sometimes it can get too much for them too. Which is when your average introvert will crawl into her/his den and recharge with a hot cup of coffee and a book – for days at a time.
- They notice much more than they let on. Since they’re not much into speaking, they observe. By the time you approach to talk to them, they’ve probably noticed everything from your subtle body language to your mood to your expression to…well, everything else about you. They’ve probably been noticing you and everyone else around them quietly for a while. Don’t fret, it’s not creepy. It’s just how they are.
- They are not weak; they’re rather stronger than most. People have a habit of taking the silence of an introvert for weakness. Nothing could be more inaccurate. They just don’t like to get into petty fights and silly arguments, because they have better things to put their energy into. They would expect you to take care of your actions because they know how to take care of theirs.
- They are selectively social. If you thought that an intovert has no social life, you thought wrong. Like everything else, they want a fulfilling and a meaningful social life. They prefer friendships over acquaintances and focus more on bonding with a few people than forming skin-deep relationships with many.
- They make amazing friends. What with their ability to really listen and understand – and not just hear you, coupled with all the good advice that they always have in hand, introverts make amazing friends. Also, since they like to have a few meaningful relationships, you’ll have the privilege of being one of the lucky few who they really invest in. Not to mention the unlimited ideas they have and their openness to even more ideas, you’ll constantly be up to something new and stimulating, never getting bored.
P.S : After they open up to you, introverts are hardly the quiet person they were when you first talked to them. They’re rather the opposite! So, brace yourself for all the weirdness!
- They might not be a fan of parties, but they sure love to “hang out”. With people they’re comfortable with, who do not find their silence strange. An intovert can spend an entire day hanging out with a small group of people, simply listening to them. They rather enjoy the vibe of a few close people chit-chatting about this and that because it gives them a feeling of belonging.
- They do NOT have an endless patience. Yes, they stay quiet through the many prejudices people throw at them and let people wring them out for their own wrapped up reasons, because they don’t want to get involved in a small squabbles, but it builds up. The intoverts will keep themselves as much as possible from expressing their resentment, but if you have an introvert bellow at you, you’ve probably earned it big time!
- A good deed goes a long way with them. Since their interactions are limited, each interaction matters to them. They will probably remember in detail what you told them the last time you talked. So if you had a pleasant exchange or did something nice for them, they’ll sure remember it forever – and reciprocate in kind!
Introverts are not aliens from another planet transported to earth to weird you out. They’re simply people with a different personality and preference for the way they want to live their lives. Maybe it’s worthwhile to try to understand them because who knows, they could teach us a thing or two through their quiet manner and colorful minds and maybe, at the end we realize that it wasn’t they who were strange, but it was we who were weird to think that they were so!