The Care and Keeping of Introverts

   Introverts, like air plants, require special care. It’s not difficult care, but it’s not the same as what other plants need. If someone tries to care for an air plant without properly researching how, they usually end up drowning them when they should just have been moistening them. The same thing happens to introverts, funnily enough. When someone, especially an extrovert, tries to start some sort of relationship with an introvert, inevitably they butt heads, cross paths, and get on each other’s nerves. The extrovert doesn’t understand what the introvert needs in order to process the world; it’s just like the uninformed gardener and the air plant. If you find yourself getting frustrated with an introvert in your life, STOP! Take a deep breath and relax. These 7 tips will help you figure out what’s going on in your introvert’s head. Through these you’ll find greater understanding, and hopefully cultivate a better ability to care for your introvert. It just takes a different sort of effort!  

Let Them Take the Time They Need

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    Sometimes introverts need time to process. If there’s been a big change in their lives it’s unlikely they’ll be ready to get back to normal right away. They need space to cultivate their opinions and ideas and to reestablish their views of their world. Instead of pushing them to “get back to normal”, let them take that time and space to readjust their world view. You’ll both be better off, and they’ll be able to handle this new normal.

Give Them Lots of Notice About Upcoming Changes

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     If you and your introvert decided on dinner, but you want to go to a movie instead, make sure to give them as much notice as possible. Even a little change can cause a massive shift in the emotional prep that your introvert has to do, and sometimes it means they’d rather cancel than try and do that work on the fly. It’s always better to tell them right away.

Embrace the quiet

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      Silence is golden. Just because your introvert doesn’t want to talk doesn’t mean they don’t like you. Quite the opposite! You should feel honoured that your introvert is comfortable enough to sit in silence with you. Embrace these quiet coming togethers and don’t push them to chat. You don’t need words to know you two care about each other.

Let them look

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     A lot of an introvert’s processing takes place inside their heads. They don’t need to talk things out or have a discussion before doing something. If you’re teaching an introvert a new skill, let them watch for the first couple of demonstrations. They’ll pick it up quicker if they can think through the steps on their own first, and will ultimately give you better results.

Keep Them in the Loop

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    Everyone wants to know they’re being thought about… Even introverts. Keep inviting them to movies, dinners, parties, and hangouts even if they keep saying no. Getting invitations to events lets your introvert know that they’re cared for and have a circle of friends. Even if they don’t say it, they’re grateful for being kept in the loop!  

Don’t Take it Personally

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       Has your introverted friend neglected to call you back? Maybe you were talking to them and they didn’t reply. It’s not your fault! They’re just caught up in their own heads, dealing with their own process. They’ll reach out to you when they have the emotional capacity to do it. Trust that you’re one of their priorities, and that they still care about you (even if they’re not texting you all the time).

 Forget About Small Talk

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      Remember how we said don’t take it personally? This is one of those things you can’t internalize. Introverts generally hate small talk. If there’s no point to the chatting other than to chat, the introvert won’t bother. Why waste their breath when they’re totally content to stay in their heads? You’ll keep your introvert happy if you keep the conversation deep and engaged, or nonexistent. Who knows… You might like it better as well!

Got any other tips for supporting the introverts in your life? Comment below to share them with other readers.

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