Do you think introverts are hard to love?
If so, it’s probably because many people don’t understand how to love an introvert. Even introverts struggle to make sense of our own needs and behaviors. We’ve been handed the extrovert’s blueprint for relationships and it’s left us pretty confused.
That’s why this week’s “Ask An Introvert” video is on How To Love Your Introvert. Whether you’re a parent of an introverted child, or you’re married to an introvert, or you just want to date an introvert – you’ll discover 5 simple tips for how to love your introvert better.
How To Love Your Introvert – Ask An Introvert [Transcript]
It’s Michaela Chung here from Introvert Spring. In today’s “Ask An Introvert”, we’re talking about How To Love Your Introvert.
If you’re watching this you might be a parent of an introvert, you might have an introverted spouse, or perhaps you have an introverted love interest.
I get tons of messages from people every week wanting to know how to care for their introverted loved one.
I get it. We introverts are hard to understand. It’s tough to know how to care for us without pushing us away, or feeling totally confused!
That’s why, I’ve put together 5 Tips For How To Love Your Introvert.
Tip #1. Try not to take their need for space personally. Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean they don’t love you. It’s really draining for introverts to socialize, sometimes, we just want to be alone. Which brings me to my next tip.
Tip #2. Recognize that an introvert’s need for alone time is crucial to their health and happiness. It’s more than just a preference. When introverts don’t have enough time alone to recharge, they get irritable, drained, and in some cases can even become depressed. They NEED their solitude to feel at their best. Plain and simple.
Tip #3. Don’t try to fix them. Introverts get tired of people trying to “help” them be more extroverted – or be anything their not for that matter. On the other hand, they really appreciate people who accept them just as they are.
Tip #4. Understand that introverts hate confrontation. Give them time to process things instead of pressing for immediate answers. Sometimes it helps to set up a time in a few hours or the next day to talk things over. This will give your introvert time to gather their thoughts without allowing them to avoid conflict forever (because this is something we do sometimes).
Tip #5. Know that you are special. Remember that introverts don’t let very many people in, so you must be pretty important to them if you’re in their life. So, have a little patience, let them know you care, and they’ll come around.
Those were my 5 Tips For How To Love An Introvert. I hope you liked them. And if you wanna learn more ways to care for your introvert, click here to sign up for my free mini course on just that.
Maybe you know someone who loves an introvert. Go ahead and spread the love by sharing this video.
And if you have a question about introverts – whether you are one, or you just love one – post in the comments below and I’ll try to answer it in an upcoming Ask An Introvert video.
That’s it for today, thanks so much for watching, and I’ll catch you on the next “Ask an Introvert”.
These are all brilliant advices Michaela! 🙂 Thank You for sharing them. 🙂
You’re welcome, Marko! Glad you liked them. 🙂
Some of these posts are older, but looking for advice.. I am the extrovert mom of introverted 19 boy. I get it, now, I think. What’s hard fir me , though is he constantly seems uninterested in ANY opinion I have , it feels like when I talk about ANYTHING (even the weather) he wants me to just shut up. There seems to be no good time to be friendly that doesn’t aggravate him. It “feels” like he doesn’t think enough of me or my feelings to give a crap. Open a door? Help me carry groceries? Say ANYTHING nice? Not happening .and while I ” try” not to let it show how much it hurts… it does. I love my son and would do anything for him. I listen. I honor his wishes all the time. I encourage. I try not to over-exert in his space, time or life decisions. But should there be s line drawn for what appears to be HIM OVER EVERYONE? No kindness? No compassion for me or our immediate family?
How do you talk to an introvert about , honestly, I feel is bad behavior towards others? Hurtful?
I loooove these tips, I am an introvert and have a lot of extrovert friends. A while back when i tried to explain to them why some ‘alone’ time was crucial for me, they could not understand at all, they actually felt sorry for me, it was so funny, they started worrying that I am probably going to die alone lol, we are so different, it’s amazing
Thanks Michaela, great tips, to be shared 🙂
It’s you can laugh about it, Kayla! Glad you liked the tips. 🙂
It is the perenial struggle between “elbow room freedom” and “quality time.” One person’s idea of quality time consists of meaningless chatter which is what introverts tend to avoid.
Thank you Michaela! It’s so nice to “meet” another introvert and feel understood.
You’re welcome, Denise!
Thank you Michaela – these tips are very useful. I would like some advice please about how to cope being an introvert at work with a bunch of extroverts as colleagues. Very “direct” extroverts whose behaviour I find quite rude and confrontational. However they see nothing wrong with it because I am the odd one out. I am told to swallow a teaspoon of cement and harden up Princess. I love my job, just find it very difficult working with people who see nothing wrong with telling in the workplace. Please help!!! Thank you, Kym
I can relate to what you are going through in the workplace, I also used to work in a noisy environment full of extroverts. You feel like you are powerless to change the behavior of the people around you, because ultimately it’s true, you do not have that ability. It can help sometimes to just accept that these people will always behave the way they do, because they are in their “natural habitat”. You can’t mess with mother nature.
Instead, try to focus on mastering your own environment. Find an empty meeting room, if possible, to escape from your daily routine and “unplug” from the crowd. Invest in a good pair of noise cancelling headphones. If you can physically change the space where you work every day, try to move around so you won’t be where people would normally try to find you. This isn’t possible for everybody, but it might work for you 🙂
Hope that helps!
Sorry – that should read “yelling in the workplace” not “telling”. Typo. Sorry!!
Thanks so much for this insight into an introverts way of thinking. I’m in a relationship with someone who i suspect is an introvert with maybe some aspie traits too and knowing I’m special helps me to deal with his need to be alone.
I’m an “innie” in a relationship with an introvert guy, but the one thing he doesn’t seem comfortable with or used to is verbal expressions of love and approval. Even though my self-esteem is good, I love hearing “I love you” or “you’re beautiful” or “I’m proud of you,”…that type of thing. It feels flattering. My introvert man’s natural expression is non-verbal (kindnesses, time he spends with me, physical affection) which are all wonderful, I just sometimes really miss the little sayings out loud. I’m generous with my positive comments to HIM, but he doesn’t reciprocate naturally. Is there anything I can do about that?
You might find the ‘5 Love Languages’ by Gary Chapman a useful read. It discusses what you mentioned to a T! How one person wishes to receive love can be different to how their partner expresses it. We tend to express love the way that we would like to receive it in return. The book gives some pointers on how to speak the love language that your partner wants to hear.
Yes, I’ve read. I love the concepts. 🙂
Thank you for sharing this with us.
How do you, as an introverted person, adjust to a life in which the culture is really expecting you to live extrovertedly, even though your loved ones are not really fond of it either but keep telling you it would be impolite and have social consequences if you try to avoid the draining situations?
Peehaps you experienced something similar in Colombia – as you posted earlier?
Thanks Michaela, these tips are simply perfect! 🙂 Every extrovert should read or listen to this. However I’m asking myself if an extrovert would be patient enough to undertstand this, because he/she has to shut up for a while in order to process and reflect about these important thoughts! (hahaha). – Matthias
PS: Last weekend I met
friends (a couple). Both are introvert. I even didn’t know this. We talked and laughed for hours. When I was back home I really felt “refreshed”, this wouldn’t happen with “extroverts”! 🙂
That sounds great! I have some friends like that too, but now we are separated by 8000 miles of land and ocean.
I know distance is relative, but still I miss them a lot.
My mom needs to read this. She once said I was harder to love bc I was difficult. I knew what she meant and I was angry but did understand. I know I am hard to like most times. I actually bought her an introvert book to understand me. My dad is a mix of intro and extrovert and has always understood me. My mom super extrovert. Thanks for this wonderful article.
I’m not an 100% introvert, but maybe 40% ish. I became a lot more of an introvert because I have Social Anxiety. Most of the people I know are bubbly and vivacious. I am unable to talk about just nothing. I need depth. But I am a good listener. So how do I befriend an interesting person of the opposite sex? FYI, I’m a male. Thanks for listening.
This feels so great and true! I’m an introvert who I is just discovering the beauty of it. A few weeks ago I passed the 40 mark of agedom. I only had just one relationship in my life that lasted about nine months. (No, it was AFTER I was born! :-)) Now I’m carefully embracing my introvertness but I’m still wondering about how other introverts experience and get relationships. For me, I’m quiet happy being alone, but I always had a door open where somebody could walk in if they wanted to. They just don’t want to, I guess. (Even though I try to be as beautiful as I can behind that door. :-)) But never mind! It’s their loss. 🙂 Now I’m wondering how other innies get into a relationship when they don’t “chase” it. It can’t be all luck.
It really is a challenge I agree! What worked for me was to get to know people socially but not in a ‘dating environment’. I think a lot of introverts pretty much cease to function in a busy bar or wherever so we’re hardly likely to shine! Maybe I was lucky (or maybe just ready) in that I’d actually met my wife of 3 years now back in 1979 as part of a small group of friends I knew back then. We had no real interest in each other then and lost touch for years but met up again 5 years ago when she moved back to the area and as she puts it I ‘crept up on her’ – not literally you understand! It’s just that us quiet types take a while to get to know and it seems most people won’t want to bother to give us the time to see we really are worth knowing. If she & I can get married (first time around for both of us) in our mid-50s there’s hope for everyone! Just think about what you’d like to happen and the kind of person you’d like to meet, don’t sweat it and just leave it for the universe to arrange. Worked for me 🙂
I am starting a new relationship (literally just like 2 weeks old). I’d like to share this video with him at some point, to help him in knowing me/understanding me better. Any advise on “how to break the ice” with this topic? I don’t want to scare him off, thinking that I’m a tough case to deal with – but, I know from past relationships that extroverts need to be reminded of what our needs are more than once. It’s like they still expect us to “step up” to their level, which I find exhausting!
Thanks so much!
thanks for this as it rings sooo true for me. I was always quiet as a child, but could be really chatty and friendly with a chosen few. I have gone through most of my adult life in relationships with hyper anxious extroverts leading to me becoming really ill from the stress of being with someone who wanted to go out all the time- over planned and hated being on their own. A new friend who is also an introvert pointed this out to me, and it has been a revelation as I have been accused of being a misery, depressed, a party pooper etc etc.
Aged 57 I am now single again and hope to choose a better partner and a better life for myself.
Your blog/forum is really helping me, so thanks Michaela and all who are posting:) xx
I hear from a lot of innies who attract extreme extroverts that stress them out. I used to do it as well! I think it stems from 1) what we’re used to growing up 2) An inherent sense of guilt surrounding our introversion, which leads us to try to redeem ourselves by repeating the same stressful situations.
excellent tips! I think you pretty much captured the jist of what we introverts need from those we love, and they truly are simple, but so often misunderstood. Thanks for all you do to help not feel alone in this 🙂
Thank you so much 🙂
This all rings so true for me. Recently my daughter’s friend tried to friend me on my nearly dormant Facebook account. I asked her why her friend did it,and she said she thought she was helping me to become more social. I said thank you, I don’t need the help.I’m 68 years of age. I am actually becoming happier with my “problem” as I age, by learning to say no. As I did to the fb request. And I do to anything that makes me really uncomfortable. I no longer feel guilty about it. That has been a long time coming, and I wish I learned decades earlier. Also, I’d like to say that ,yes, somehow the really aggressive extrovert, both men friends and women friends, somehow recognizes the innies and see us as side kicks, or second bananas, if you will. All my long term relationships have been this way. But in the end they all go by the wayside, because of the exhaustion factor on my part. I described my second husband as an “emotional sponge”, not knowing then, as I do now, that the relationship was doomed because of our extreme oppositions. I’ve not been fortunate enough to find a kindred spirit. Thanks for the opportunity to write this book. Now I don’t have to do my memoir.
Hello. I started researching information on introverts because my 13 year old daughter and I just do not understand one another. She has always been shy but in the last year it has become, what seems to me, dangerously isolated behavior. She is unable to even say hello or goodbye to her peers and when I ask why her response is that she doesn’t know what to say. I am the extreme opposite of this and love social interaction. I’m trying so hard to understand what it means to be an introvert but I’m failing miserably at it. I have made things so much worse for her because I keep pushing her to come out of her shell, and she only retreats even more. She has so few friends and she rarely talks to them unless I schedule something for all of them. She insists that she just wants to be alone in her room but it seems so unhealthy at a time when she should be out running around with friends, laughing and exploring the world around her. She is missing out on so much. She insists that I just want her to be like me but that’s not it at all…. I simply want her to be have a fun teenage experience and be able to function in social situations. No one ever reaches out to her because they know she won’t talk. I’ve heard her soccer teammates ask far too many times, “what’s wrong” to her because she just shuts down and looks miserable. I’m struggling to figure out how to help her. It seems impossible to believe that she is happy with such extreme isolation.
Susan your daughter is fine. I’m 63 M and I’ve only recently discovered that I’m an introvert. More to the point I’ve only recently discovered that it’s OK to be like that. I love being in social situations but as an observer – people can’t see that I can possibly be enjoying myself if I’m not up dancing or making merry with the rest of them. You say you’re not trying to turn your daughter into a copy of yourself but that’s exactly what you are doing. She’s not living the teenage life you think is ‘right’ and you think there’s something wrong. Being an introvert is not an illness to be fixed it’s a personality trait the same as all the others. It should be accepted as such and not something extroverts should be trying to ‘fix’ Have you never been in a situation where somebody was too loud and hogging the limelight? or maybe somebody came onto you a little too strong or over familiar? Think how uncomfortable that felt, that’s how introverts feel. Just be a mum and be there for her when she asks – and she will. If she’s in a football team and has a few friends, there’ nothing wrong with her
Hi and thanks for the video:-) That’s pretty much me in a nut shell,LOL. Actually, I’ve been living a “SINGLE & CELIBATE” life for about 14 to 15 years now and I can’t seem to let go of it. All I can think about is all the things I would either have endure to began a relationship or some things I would have to let go in order to have one and I just don’t think I can handle It. Like phone conversations,whether It’s talking or texting,showing up at odd times of the day,etc,etc. Anything that disrupts my time,is an issue. I don’t want to have to hold a conversation while I am busy watching tv or reading or working out. The thing is,I love being alone,but I don’t want to be “ALONE” forever either. I really just don’t know how to make it work.
Wow! such common sense tips — thank you, thank you.
Ya know…I have learned to dislike myself because of the guilt i feel for not being more social. I do want to be more “outgoing”….but can’t. I like people…just get so anxious in public situations. An example is an item I have on my bucket list…I play guitar and write songs and a goal is to perform a song at a simple open mic one day…..however I know in my heart that will not happen…I can’t even do it in front of family. So I feel destined to be a forever closet songwriter….and it is depressing. Soooo…I totally get all the anxiety and sorry for everyone that wishes to be a bit more extroverted…. but the flip side its nice to know I’m not alone…
these are totally right on ! i need to send this to my “outies” so they GET IT 😉 sharing this -its to important not to !
I am an introvert and I can relate well with this. I just wish people do too. I am always worried about No. 5 in relationships.
I’m being too ambitious and at times I even get depressed as a result of underachieved dreams, some times I begin to think if every thing changes the negative way when ever it gets to my turn. I’m confused, I just want to make things real for my self.
Here’s another take on “How to Love Your Introvert” by Kevin Yang
Michaela, Thank you so much for your posts. I feel when I read them that someone is speaking up for me. That means a lot. Question: Have you done any studies or do you have any suggestions for communicating this information into religious settings. Unfortunately, such organizations are the last to understand that (gasp) people are different. I’m 54 and have lived my life being told there is something wrong with me because I don’t fit the mold. Your posts have brought a freedom and acceptance to me that I know would benefit others.
Hi Marilyn, great question. You might find this article I wrote about introverts and religion: //introvertspring.com/introverts-church/
I also recommend Adam Mchugh’s book Introvert’s in the Church.
Thanks very much Michaela.
It is so satisfying to read your insightful analysis of the distinctive experiences, feelings and needs of introverts.
You need to be extremely intelligent and analytical to first understand the special challenge we innies face.
And then to come up with some very helpful and practical suggestions.
Thanks heaps Michaela!