What qualities make one a good conversationalist? Being outspoken and opinionated? Being able to respond in witty and creative fashions? What about the qualities that make a good friend? Many people want a friend who they can trust with deep and personal issues; a friend who laughs at their jokes, but is serious enough and is able to give proper advice during times of turmoil.
You may be wondering at this point what a discussion on qualities has to do with introverts. A sad fact is that, inadvertently, many people looking for friends think they need to find a person who is bubbly and outgoing; ultimately, a person who compliments their own personality. Now, this writer has absolutely nothing against bubbly and outgoing extroverts, but is merely going to attempt to break herself and those who share her introverted characteristics out of the “loner” mold which society has tried so very hard to place us into.
When the word “introvert” first comes to mind, many people tend to think of social outcasts who aren’t capable of maintaining lasting relationships. This stigma hasn’t come about through the fault of one person – it has grown from the true fact that introverts do enjoy spending time alone. However, introverts are not purely loners. No one honestly wants to be alone all the time. The difference between extroverts and introverts comes from how both groups of people recharge: Extroverts gain energy from being around other people, and introverts gain energy from being alone. Now, the crucial part for everyone to realize is that just because introverts do not gain energy from being around people, it does not by any means indicate their desire to never be around people at all.
So, if you’re an extrovert who is wondering how to break your quiet friend out of their comfortable shell, here are a few ideas:
If you feel the burning need to attend a party, make sure your introverted friend sticks close by; or at least make sure that they know other people at the party before you drag them out of the safety of their home.
Spend some quality time together – either just the two of you or in a small group of people that you both know. You might be surprised to learn that introverts are usually more weird (in a good way) and more fun to be around than they appear on the outside!
Now, some tips for my introverted friends:
I promise that going out and spending time with other people will not, no matter how uncomfortable, kill you. I know that the appeal of staying home wrapped up in blankets is highly enticing, but sometimes you have to do things that your extroverted friends want to do (like go to parties).
It’s okay to use “I’m tired” as an excuse. Being around people is bound to wear you down after a while. If you need to go home after an hour, though, take the time to explain to your extroverted friends that you aren’t simply bailing on them due to boredom – you just need to recharge.
Finally, my last piece of advice to both groups: Learn to live with each other. No two people are the same, but that’s okay! Sometimes we need to be around people who have the opposite personalities of ourselves in order to grow. Introverts, don’t be afraid to hang out with the peppy person who is jumping up and down, and running around and talking to everyone in sight. They won’t bite. Extroverts: I promise that the silent person sitting alone with headphones in is most likely not plotting anything (too) devious. Go talk to them! We really do need each other.