Introverts love the idea of even exchange, because our need for energy balance requires it.
Friendships for introverted women can be tricky.
We want to fit in, but also love to individuate. We want to be seen, but not too much (and most people don’t know how much that even is – because maybe we have trouble communicating it).
We desire closeness, but not to be smothered. We want to love & respect our extroverted friends as much as we do our introverted friends.
We want freedom in friendship and the truth is, it can feel very hard to find. The reason is because we have these paradoxes at play in our lives very few people actually understand. (For example, we can be assertive and introverted, shy and secure).
I’ve been surprised at how many views this post has continued to get on women and friendship I initially wrote several months ago. I worried I had framed it negatively and that’s never how I wanted it to come across, although, in all things, honesty is just the best policy.
But I went back and read it again (classic introvert) before writing this post, and I really resonated with it once again. I felt like it was a valuable account of some of the true struggles you and I can both have in friendship. I kept noticing it was getting a lot of visits over the last couple of months, so I knew instinctively it was time to write on this topic again.
I also just finished up talking recently about how both empathy and expression are needed for deeply satisfying relationships, both with ourselves and others.
As introverted women, navigating friendship can be very very enjoyable if we connect with people who really desire the friendship and/or want to grow with us – and really, who doesn’t want that?
That said, these are 10 things to keep in mind (because it’s in our mind – you just may not know it):
1. We’re not always up for going out. (No secret there, right?) As with any other time, we just love our alone time – and some of us are more social than others. Each of us has our own boundaries and social-to-alone-time quotients. Getting to know our specific inclinations and needs will serve you really well in being friends with us.
2. We REALLY loathe being embarrassed or called out in front of people. Yeah, just don’t do that. And, can we be honest? If we find out you’ve violated our trust, we see that as slightly shallow. We know no one’s perfect, but our worlds are extremely deep. We feel deep and we process deep. There are many layers. Anything we share with you is because we’re either a) thinking about it deeply or b) feeling it deeply or c) both.
3. We may not be able to stay at your house or your party or your “thing” for like 6 hours. Maybe two. Please don’t take it personally – if we’re there 6 hours, your party could really turn into an emotional storm or frustrated disaster, because when energy runs out, frustration sets in. We don’t want that for anyone involved. We’ll probably be there a bit then leave.
4. We don’t necessarily need to meet or be friends with all of your other friends. We’re open to it, but please don’t force it. Especially not all at once.
5. If we’ve given up on a friendship, there is a soul and energy reason for that (one or the other or both of some kind). Trust that there is some reason connected to our energy or intuition for why the relationship changed. It may not necessarily be negative, but at the end of the day, introvert or not, we’re still human too.
6. Trying to make us jealous for missing out usually doesn’t have that affect on us. It’s no offense to anyone, but we typically are either a) happy we weren’t invited, b) know there will be other opportunities or c) really wanted to read our book at home anyway and we’re totally cool with it.
7. You can feel that something’s off and not know what. Usually, that means there is. Talk to us about it – don’t avoid it. We’re introverts, so we’re usually going to take the passive approach and “see what happens” in our next few conversations before making any decisions or taking a more assertive approach. If something feels off, just ask. And please be open and mature about whatever it is we have to say – conflict is not something we just throw our hand up for.
8. We don’t need to be highly entertained to thoroughly and completely enjoy ourselves (and your company). We’re used to spending time alone, reading, watching our favorite movies or tv shows, on social media or the like, so sitting and having dinner with you is a delight for us, especially if there’s good, stimulating conversation. We really don’t need anything else – attention is golden these days and, as introverts, we appreciate anyone who even acutely understands that (you know, doesn’t talk about themselves the entire meal). You don’t also need to spend hundreds of dollars on us for our birthday, take us to the movies, then a concert, then an after-party, then breakfast. We might like that once a year, yeah, but we don’t need it every time we hang out. Pick any 2 of the above and you’ll probably have us on cloud 9 (or some other happy cloud)!
9. Please don’t call us on the phone and take 30 minutes to say something that could’ve been said in 5. Our energy is draining faster than normal in this scenario (whether we like it or not – it’s how we’re hard-wired). If you’re family, we may endure this beyond what we can handle and rarely say anything, but our energy is being tapped out just the same. If we get quiet, we’re either thinking and processing, our energy is drained, or maybe a little of both.
10. We want to deeply, madly, and with great great conviction love and adore you as a friend. We absolutely hold respect, transparency, and honesty in the highest regard. If we get the slightest clue whatsoever we’re being toyed with, you will see the withdrawal mode quickly.
This list absolutely doesn’t apply to every introverted woman out there, and it certainly isn’t an across-the-board for us all. However, I encourage anyone who is friends with an introverted woman to ask her which one of these apply to her, because I’m sure there are a few.
For me personally, in my own experience, friendships have taught me the most about myself, my inclinations, my gravitations, and my preferences for how I want to encounter and blossom with another person. They have revealed to me my authentic personality, and what I truly long for in friends.
I feel that relationships are our greatest assignments, period. They have the power to teach us the most about ourselves.
I believe through others, we’re able to more clearly see ourselves.
What is a current experience you’re having in a friendship where this post might be useful or strikes a chord? I’m interested to hear your personal account as always.
To friendship that frees us,