Introverts take a quality over quantity approach to relationships. This means that we tend to have fewer friends, and fewer lovers over a lifetime. Besides those nerve-racking adolescent years when being popular is the only thing that matters, we generally aren’t too concerned with having a ton of friends. On the contrary. Managing too many friendships can be stressful, and overwhelming to us innies. We might also feel put off by the mere prospect of cultivating too many friendships.
Many introverts that I’ve spoken to find it difficult to mix business and socializing, or school and socializing, or pretty much anything that isn’t socializing with socializing. Work is for work and school is for learning. I have to say that this was often a source of shame for me. I used to feel bad that I couldn’t master the art of making friends in the lunchroom. It always seemed like an unnatural setting to cultivate meaningful relationships. Not to mention the fact that I was usually so drained by the time lunch hour hit that I didn’t have the energy to talk to anyone.
Another reason that introverts often feel hesitant about forming new friendships is that we simply can’t be bothered with all the small talk that comes as a consequence of meeting new people. We wish we could skip over the preamble and get to the part where we share our deepest passions and emotions, and then linger in comfortable silences for as long as we want. Conversations with acquaintances can be more painful than constructive.
The upside to having fewer friendships is that we genuinely value those select people who we consider true friends. It’s hard for us to find and connect with others who understand us and accept us for who we are. Part of the reason is that many of us innies don’t let down our guard until we consider someone true friendship material. This can lead those outside our inner circle to misinterpret our behavior as snobby, or cold, or shallow, or rude, or just plain weird.
But that’s okay. I don’t need to be adored by the masses. When it comes to love, and friendship, I’ll take quality over quantity any day.