Extroverts and Introverts are wired differently, that’s just biology. But there are some things that I do as an introvert that I know can rub people the wrong way. I can promise that I don’t mean to come off rude or distant, nor do the other introverts I know. We are just different from the vast majority of people (i.e. extroverts) and as introverts we generally process things that appear to differ from what many call the ‘‘social norms’’. My two best friends are both extroverts and they love me despite our differences. It took some time, but they understand me, they get me. And thank God for it. Because it hasn’t always been the case and for many of my extrovert acquaintances, I am sure there are times I have come off rude. But I’m not, I’m just an introvert. Here are 6 things your introverted friend does that might seem rude, but really isn’t.
- I may not answer your phone call – I don’t use my phone for that so just know that the introvert in your life is probably staring at your name (their phone is probably also on silent so they can’t hear the ring) on the screen and wondering why you didn’t just send a text in the first place. Introverts like text messages because it gives us time to take in the information and have a well formulated response instead of going “off the fly”. When you call us we don’t have the preparation we’d like to have, so the thought of answering the phone without a warning feels a little dangerous. Hopefully you’ll leave a message and after we’ve heard it and can process the information given, we will get back to you. Probably via text.
- Don’t look to me to be your going out “hype” person – I’ll speak for most introverts here – A night out on the town is not normally something we are looking forward to doing. Maybe while in our extroverted state we said yes and maybe even said it sounded like ‘fun’, but I can assure that by the time they got home, they deeply regretted it. Not that a fun adventure doesn’t sound enjoyable, but social events can usually take a lot out of us. So much of our energy gets used up as we try to psych ourselves up for outings that we usually feel drained before we have even left the house. We want to go out to support you, don’t get us wrong, and we would hate to let our friends down, but just don’t look to us to be the person screaming ‘WOOHOO!!!!’ as we go.
- Meeting new people, do we have to? – It’s already taken me so long to get to know you in a way I feel comfortable being myself, so dropping a new friend/friends on me when I hoped we’d be able to sit and have a one on one conversation will sting a little bit. We have no problems with saying hello and being introduced to someone new, but if an introvert is not prepared for an extra person/people, we could feel pretty uncomfortable and frustrated that we are having to spend our social energy on mindless small talk with strangers instead of a meaningful conversation with a close friend.
- Can you come to my house, please? – I’ll admit it, my husband and I are home hoggers. We have a really close group of friends and our house has always been the go-to hangout spot, but when the others suggest moving homes (usually to the other introvert in the group) we normally feel a little deflated. For Introverts our homes are our sanctuary and it’s where we feel most comfortable, so it’s no wonder we want it to be the gathering place for everyone. Buuut, I’m sure being as stingy as we are about it can seem a bit rude to our friends sometimes. Sorry guys! P.s. I have resorted to blaming our need to be home on our baby now. (Shhh don’t tell).
- I may not be your favorite shopping partner – Sales associates, bright lights, lots of people….Talk about a sensory overload! I recently met up with my best friend (an extrovert) at a makeup store and was instantly overwhelmed by the fluorescent lighting and loud sales woman coming to greet us at the door (yikes right? Can I have some space please) and although I probably could have found some makeup or other items in the store, I didn’t. I simply followed her around until she was done and as she turned to ask me if I needed anything I looked at her and quickly said ‘I hate this store, so no’. I surprised myself with how brutally honest I was but thankfully my best friend knows me well and instantly burst into laughter and I quickly joined in. I appreciate her understanding me and knowing that I loved her but that I was simply overstimulated and more than ready to leave.
- Social expectations– Jam packed weekend full of activities may sound like a great time for an extrovert, but for an introvert that sounds like a-n-x-i-e-t-y. We can only exude so much energy to social situations before we want to retreat to the comfort of our dark little caves and shut out the noisy world. Once we hit our max we may begin to become more withdrawn from our friends or even make up excuses to not attend an event because we need to turn inward and recharge. When this happens and we start to shut down we know it could unintentionally hurt our friends feelings and make us look like jerks.
It’s important that introverts communicate to their friends that they have limitations when it comes to most social endeavors so that all parties are in full acknowledgement about what to expect from one another. As introverts we can promise to care, we can promise to be supportive, but sometimes we just can’t promise to always be there in a physical sense. We need our space, for you and for me. Having this understanding can prevent misunderstandings and introverts coming off ‘rude’.