What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you see someone sitting alone in a corner and not interacting with anyone? The first obvious thought is that she/he must be shy or quiet or reserved. Another thought that could cross our mind would be: she/he might be an introvert. But then again, not all introverts are shy and reserved. They just don’t like interacting with too many people. They don’t hate people; they just prefer to interact with only their close ones who understand them and accept them for who they are. This makes people think they are weird!
However, we live in a society where the concept of being an introvert is always misunderstood. People often find it difficult to accept individuals who are introverts and this creates difficulty for the introverts to interact with others. A student shared her experiences of being an introvert with me. When she was six or seven years old, her teachers sent a complaint to her parents through her elder sibling saying that she didn’t talk to anyone in the class. Another time, some other teacher warned her again of sending a complaint, this time: it was for talking too much! She was made fun of by being called dumb; some even considered her to be very rude and as a result, she was often bullied. Unfortunately, these instances often lead to episodes of social anxiety, depression, loneliness, etc.
Introverts are excellent observers and listeners. Most of them are quiet and reserved, but if you bring up a topic that interests them, they often engage in animated conversation. They may sometimes pretend to be extroverts but at the end of the day, they need their alone time to replenish themselves. Introverts may not open up at first, but once they get comfortable with you, they’ll prove to be great friends. They love their alone time but this should not be misunderstood as being anti-social or rude. One of the most important rules of interacting with an introvert is to never ask them questions like, “why are you so quiet?” or “are you very shy?” or “why don’t you talk?”
Introverts believe in long, meaningful conversations instead of making small talk. If an introvert is opening up to you, it means that you are special for them. But the problem is, people want everything to be fast-forward these days, even relationships, so in this way, the introverts are getting left behind. People always think that individuals who want be left alone or don’t want to talk to anyone are either rude or depressed. That’s not true at all. An introvert’s social battery gets exhausted when she/he has to interact with a large group of people or be in social events for a long time. Hence, to recharge themselves, they need to be alone for some time.
Take a moment to understand introverts. All they need is your time and acceptance so that they can come out of their shell willingly.