Introverted best friend seems to be withdrawing


Dear IntrovertZone,

My best friend of the last year and a half recently tried explaining to me that he was an introvert. I had briefly studied this is psychology, but was not expecting to hear that from him. We both had a really HARD situation that popped up last summer, and we helped each other through the turmoils of the issue. Now that the turmoil is over, we do not hang as much, and at times, it feels strained or one sided? I am a extrovert, but am trying to understand his viewpoints better. So, I have offered hanging at my place, his place, and even those encounters seem strained. We have good talks, but they are limited, and they are brief. Am I simply thinking too hard about this friendship?

Photo credit: Washthebowl



  1. It may not be your imagination that you’re seeing less of him or that you’re having to initiate it all. Without knowing what you both went through, I have a few suggestions to think about.

    1. Maybe he never wants to think about that issue again. Are you bringing it up? He may be trying to keep it from having any space in his head and does not wan to talk about it.

    2. After going through a big turmoil, maybe he needs EXTRA time alone to thoroughly process everything that happened. Can you tell if he’s hanging out with other people or if he’s really alone when he’s not with you?

    3. If he has found a new close friend to hang out with or if he’s started to do things after work (like a sport, or drinks) with other people, then he may not be seeing you simply because he must have his alone time and he’s not making time for you. I think many of us introverts have been “guilty” of that – we like you, we really would like to be your friend, but someone else is taking most of our people time so you never hear from us.

    Anyone else have some good ideas?

  2. I think it’s great that you’re trying to understand your friend’s introverted ways, but I have to be honest and tell you that just reading this as an introvert, I feel smothered and I’m not even your friend. Just give your friend some space, that seems to be what he is needing right now. The more you try, the more he’s going to pull away from you. This is pure speculation on my part as we’re only hearing your side of the story. Have you tried just talking to him about it? Otherwise, I say relax and quit trying so hard to force the issue.

  3. It also could be the fact that he may have been getting too much of you, meaning just spending too much time with you to the point where your introvert friend needs more space and time than you are willing to do. I went to las vegas with an extreme extrovert. believe me…it is a miracle that i did not choke her or worse. needless to say…after vegas i don’t care to talk or spend time with her ever again. yes, it was that bad. i’m not saying that your situation is this bad, i am saying this story to let you know to back off of your introvert friend even more. and keep it to light messages every now and then. keep things simple, ‘i’m dropping a line to say hi.’ things like that. and send him an email or text message. don’t call him anymore. give your introvert more space.

  4. Issac Albertsen on

    The way you have approached this situation is commendable. It is great that you have tried to keep your friendship healthy.
    I hope you have an everlasting friendship.

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  5. “I have offered hanging at my place, his place, and even those encounters seem strained”

    One possible reason those encounters might feel strained is that some introverts find ‘hanging’ situations quite stressful. I know that when I spend time with my friends, I’m much more comfortable when there’s a purpose, something to bond or connect over, something to be DOING. Just having to fill up space with talk can be quite stressful for some introverts – which is why parties are often stressful too. That’s why if I have someone round, I always make sure that we’re cooking, or going somewhere to do something specifically, then talking is much more natural.

    • “Make them understand THEIR situation”? I think that introverts understand what they want in life. To not be smothered. We’re quite well alone. I for one don’t stress over missing parties or “hanging” with people. A good friend is one that doesn’t get upset or offended if I don’t want to hang out or talk on the phone. One that respects the way I am. There is nothing for an extrovert to make me understand about my situation. In my experience, it seems that extroverts are the ones that need to understand introverts so they won’t smother us or get offended by or need for privacy. I think it is this way because introverts are outnumbered by extroverts 3 – 1.

  6. Introverts have an inward focus and aren’t usually the life of the party. They have a strong sense of self that can make them feel highly self-conscious around other people – making walking into a crowded room a little nerve-wracking. Introverts have a hard time being goofy in front of the camera and telling jokes to more than a couple of people at a time, but they can be extremely witty.

    • Hmm. I don’t feel at all self-conscious around people. I do fine speaking up in front of others. I simply get tired if I’m around a lot of people too long. It’s just exhausting, that is all. I’m a very outspoken person. I love my privacy and alone time. I don’t need outside stimuli at all whatsoever. When I was a teenager however, I was a bit shy and self conscious. But I outgrew that in my 20’s. That isn’t real uncommon.

  7. Yes give him some space. Being introspective, though, does not mean that an introvert never has conversations. However, those conversations are generally about ideas and concepts, not about what they consider the trivial matters of social small talk.

    • Exactly. I have trouble with trivial small talk, only because it is very boring and a waste of energy to me. I love to talk about things that are deeper than gossip and such.

  8. Hello. Maybe my comment is late and the situation between you two has been resolved, but if not, well…it’s not like I can just ignore you without attempting to help in some way no matter how small. So I’ll try my best and I’m sorry if my comment is of no help.

    As an introvert, we need space and lots of it (sorry to keep repeating it, but it’s important to keep in mind). We have our personal space, which we sometimes don’t want intruded upon by anyone at that given point in time, and then there’s the space we need to form the words we want to say, to gather our thoughts and feelings and make them coherent…which can take hours or days even.

    Why are you offering to hang out with him? To merely hang out (remember to limit the time you spend together because introverts need to be alone to recharge and reflect and what-not), to understand his viewpoints (talking of nothing but his viewpoints can get tiring for him, perhaps), or to discuss the hard situation you went through (like IntrovertZone’s comment said, he might not want to think about the issue anymore; or maybe he needs extra time on his own to process)?

    And does he know about the concerns you’ve written here? He’s your friend. Just talk to him. However, make sure to always give him the space to think and leave him to reply on his own time, don’t smother him.

  9. I know you are trying to be a good friend. 🙂

    However, your friend needs some space so I would back off. He knows where to find you when he’s ready. Stay busy with your own life and other people and let him come to you. He won’t forget you.

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