4 Needs for the Misunderstood Introvert

As an introvert, I tend to feel misunderstood. Yes, I need a lot of space for myself, I have a preference for quiet time over parties, and social situations are exhausting. However, I do need to socialize. Sometimes I feel that my other needs are overlooked because they do not fall under the stereotypical umbrella of introvert behaviors. I do take responsibility for that, it’s often hard to communicate, but that’s a struggle most people experience. Not being able to put your thoughts into words is a classic introvert trait. Sometimes, as introverts, our needs are confusing, they’re ambiguous and difficult for other people to interpret. They are not mind-readers after all and sometimes our demeanor can unintentionally push people away. Here are four simple needs your friends may not understand.

1. Relationships

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Romantic and platonic relationships are both desirable and intimidating. As much as I enjoy my own company, I also seek compatibility with other people. Will I make the first move? No way! But I will want to learn your interest and try my best to give you subtle hints that I want to be your friend or partner. Introverts are often viewed as loners, we’re in our heads, most likely overthinking something. It’s true, but sometimes we want to be in our heads around someone else. It may take me a while to open up and share the inner workings of my mind, but if we’re both patient, I am sure we will get a kick out of it. I certainly don’t want to be isolated, but I also don’t want to be surrounded by a lot of people who will drain my energy. It’s about finding a balance.

2. Invitations

I am a homebody. I look forward to putting my key in the door, making a pot of tea, and binge-watching one of my favorite shows. I am not going to lie, I prefer to spend my free time chilling at home; it’s fun and I am already paying to spend time there, why go out? Unfortunately, my affinity for staying home has put a damper on the shred of social life I have. Sometimes the invitations to hang out stop rolling in because I usually decline. But, there are times where I do want to dress up and hit the town, it’s just sparse. It hurts my feelings when I find out I wasn’t invited to something, usually the reason is “I knew you were just going to say no”. I also know that it can be tiring for the person on the other side to keep extending invites to little or no avail. I like knowing that you thought of me. Sometimes I don’t want to go out at all, sometimes I just haven’t been given sufficient amount of time to recharge before venturing out. It’s not that I don’t value your friendship or time, I just need time to plan and mentally prepare.

3. Feelings

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Have you ever been referred to as cold? I have. I have feelings, deep feelings, but I don’t always want to express them. Sharing feelings requires a safe space, a deep connection, and mental energy; not exactly components that are in high supply. You have to forgive me if I don’t openly cry in front of you or let you in. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t have to check on me or think I have everything figured out because I am so sensible. Nope, I have internal struggles just like everyone else. If you ask me if I am okay and I say yes, ask me if I am sure and I just might open up like a faucet, letting go of everything I have been ruminating over for the past week to a month. I have feelings and I do need to express them, just on my own time. Which leads me to my next need.

4. Deep conversations

Having deep, stimulating, conversations can be both liberating and draining. Usually, after a healthy heart-to-heart, I visibly become tired and I need to lie down. But, I have thoughts that need untangling and passions I would like to have shared. This goes against my nature of being quiet and reserved; I would understand if you think I want to keep things light. Once again, there’s a balance between small talk and deep conversations. I enjoy the stimulation, exchange of ideas, and problem-solving, but the rebound time can be lengthy and that’s not always enjoyable.

I am not a social butterfly, but I do need social interactions. Introverts can have a bad rep for being too quiet and introspective. If you’re an introvert, what are some of your needs?

Author: MutedMouthful

Native New Yorker, amateur artist, sarcastic social worker, professional people watcher, and alliteration addict. Writing about mental health, introversion, social anxiety, and my imagination.

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