10 Things You should Know About Introverts

little-miss-shy-1My name is Ryan and I am an introvert.  I used to be painfully shy and far more reclusive than I am now. So not all introverts are like Little Miss Shy.  And I know that we introverts can overcome the negative stereotypes associated with our introversion. Yet, even though I have gotten over my fear of public speaking and large groups (mostly), I am still an introvert, and I have come to the conclusion that introverts are a little bit crazy.  At least I am.

Here are 10 things I have observed:

1. We will usually come across as standoffish at first, or cold and unfriendly. At least I can, and I apologize. But most of us are not really “standoffish.” The reasoning why we come off as standoffish is simple. You see, for me to walk up to someone I don’t really know and start a conversation after church, it takes a herculean effort, and it must be a life and death situation. So if you are not one of my very few, very close friends… when you come up to me to chat, I am almost expecting it to be very, very important.  So when I initially stare blankly, or look concerned, at your invitation to have coffee, and if I do not smile at you, it does not mean that I want you to go away!

2. A lot of introverts tend to not smile.  This is part and parcel with appearing standoffish.  It does not mean we are not happy people.  It also doesn’t mean that we are happy people. What it means is that you cant tell if an introvert is happy based on his smile.  In fact, sometimes when I catch a glimpse my reflection in a mirror or a doorway, I scare myself with my frown or my look of utter disinterest… all the while I can be rejoicing and humming 10,000 Reasons.  If I am not smiling it does not mean I am having a bad day. I have been training myself to smile more.

3. If you make eye contact with an introvert from across the room… we will look away.  We do not have a choice. I think God wrote it into our DNA.  At work I am fine, but in social settings, I can almost guarantee that I wont hold eye contact with you! I really do not know why I do it other than it makes me uncomfortable. That does not mean I don’t want to talk to you or am avoiding you.  I promise I am not rude, just awkward.

4. Introverts have a very hard time just walking up to a group of people and standing there, even if our best friend is standing in that group. If I want to talk to you, and you are standing in a group, or even just talking to one other person, I may end up circling a few times until you are free and then swoop in like a vulture…if you notice an introvert in a holding pattern, waiting for a clear runway, grab his arm on the third pass and pull him in, you don’t want him to run out of fuel and crash on the tarmac!  He’ll thank you for it.

5. Introverts do not like the phone. We believe that Alexander Graham Bell is evil.  OK… not really, but he ruined “home sweet home” for introverts. Our homes used to be havens away from people.  Then came the phone. Now we all have cell phones attached to our hips!  We are never alone! AAAAAH!!!!  Ahem. If you have ever called an introvert you have probably noticed that we don’t answer the phone very often, especially at certain times of the day…and we don’t like making phone calls. We also despise having an audience for phonecalls and will often hide away in the garage or a bedroom when we call you. None of this means we hate you.  The written word is the best way to get a hold of us. Texting, facebook messages, emails… That way you can get your message to us, and we can absorb it, think about it,  and respond in our own time.

6.  We tend to not to show our excitement, and the things we get excited about are probably not what you get excited about.  Just because my response to your great news is a less than enthusiastic, “Oh…”,  does not mean I don’t care.  It means I am processing the info and determining the best response, which will undoubtedly come across as indifference. The thing I get most excited about is when a night out gets cancelled and I can stay home…

7. We do not like the spotlight. We don’t do well with you watching us.  And we don’t do well being reprimanded or praised in front of others.  I hate being watched, which is probably why I never did well in team sports, and probably why I am not fond of talking on the phone in front of people.

8. People consume our energy…like vampires.  I love people.  I love hanging out with people.  I love talking with people. I even love going to big parties and get togethers..But even the most laid back get together over coffee and cake is draining for an introvert.  So we tend to pick and choose where our energy will be spent and on whom we will spend it.  And because we put so much of our energy into our few relationships, we get hurt very easily.  If you ever call us out in public, lie to us, or hurt us, we are done with you – doesn’t mean we won’t forgive you, but we won’t put ourselves in that position again.

9. Introverts rule the blogosphere.  This is where we can get out all the thoughts in our heads. I am not saying there are not any extroverts here, but this is where we introverts unite…separately…in our own homes…online…

10.  And just when you think you have an introvert pegged…they will completely prove you wrong. When you get to know us, we will open up.  And when we open up, we can be very silly, very awkward, very loud, and just plain crazy. Just ask my wife. While we tend to let others lead, if it is important enough, we can take charge of a room full of people, and we can even lead devotions and pray in front of large crowds on the spur of the moment.  Not all of us have stereotypical “introvert jobs” like librarians and bloggers, many of us are also teachers, ministers and Wal-mart greeters!

Those are just 10 of my observations of introverts.

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  1. Coosje Helder says:

    Wow! I just realized that my dearest one is an ultra introvert, and I am an ultra extrovert! No wonder living with me is scary!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the reassurance that I’m not alone in my craziness. 🙂 I didn’t know it was possible to put it all in words. Thanks for writing and sharing. We are blessed by your work!