Introverts may need plenty of alone time, but we also need love, and we love our special person fiercely. I was asked a few days ago to get into how introverts handle love and possibly rejection, so this post is a start. There are so many in-depth things about introverts and love that will also need to be talked about in the coming days and weeks, so I’ll start with some general observations about how love may be different for us.
1. We think a lot. We ruminate and dwell on things, while extroverts are chit-chatting about what happened in traffic or talking over each other about the game they saw on TV. Of course we’re busy thinking of all sorts of things, but our brains are working so hard it’s a wonder we don’t smell smoke sometimes.
2. We have only so much energy to spend with other people each day, so when we have someone to love we have to choose how much time to spend with them. If we just go on and spend all of our people time with our loved one, then we end up not nurturing other relationships – friends and family. We may even find ourselves drained spending as much time with our new loved one as we want to. We want to be with them, but after an extended time we also may find we are so exhausted we can hardly talk.
3. If we are dating or married to an extrovert, they may find life boring when we don’t want to go to parties every night (or even many nights). They may decide to make it a project to “draw us out of our shell.” They may be hurt when we don’t accompany them everywhere or tell them all of our thoughts. In fact, they may report to us that their other friends and family ask them, “Is there a problem?” if we are not at every single event that is held, no matter how many of those exhausting events there are. It is so important to try to talk to our extrovert and come up with a compromise so that he/she is not bored or lonely and we are not exhausted or filled with dread of social events all the time.
4. If we are dating or married to an introvert, we may find a wonderful time of doing things together, sharing undemanding, comfortable time together. The main problem I have seen here (don’t ask me how I know this) is that since we may both avoid conflict at all costs, little things that annoy the other person will never be heard until it is a big thing. We may go on for years with another introvert and each think the other knows how they feel about things, because neither of us is going to talktalktalk about our *feelings* all the time. Once again it’s important to talk to the other introvert and try not to hurt his/her feelings, but try to make sure there are no long-term misunderstandings or resentments.
5. When we start dating someone and have to start doing things around their family and large group of friends, we may find ourselves feeling really awkward at gatherings. What can we do except sit with a self-conscious smile as they all make their inside jokes and talk about things we know nothing about? What I’ve done in the past is to start talking first to whichever person seems the most approachable, listening to them and responding appropriately. I don’t want to be an anchor around their neck though, so I move on naturally after a reasonable time and talk to another person who looks friendly. In that way there won’t be a big group consensus of, “Dave’s new girlfriend is stuck up and aloof,” since gradually I will have talked to everyone in a friendly manner. Just not all at once.
What about rejection?
Rejection is awful for anyone, but for us we might think about it night and day, replaying the fatal argument or what-ifs.
Sadly, if we have neglected friendships and other relationships during the happy time with our loved one, we may now not have one intimate friend to sympathize with us. Of course we vary in the amount we’d want to tell someone else, but as a woman I’ve always enjoyed to my sister and one other close friend. The rest of the world may keep asking, “What’s wrong?” or telling you “Smile!” but we really don’t want those people talking about us or our lives anyway.
Since we are introverts and don’t have boundless energy for people, we are not as likely to go to activities in the evenings after work where we might find someone new. Instead, we may go home from work each day totally spent as far as people-energy, spending the evening alone in our homes. My suggestion here is to go out when a friend does invite you out. Go out for a drink or dinner with friends, but take your own car so you know you will not have to stay late. Also I have had one girlfriend try a dating service that was a really nice one, It’s Just Lunch. She met a couple of great boyfriends through them, and eventually married one. The point is to keep your mind open to meeting someone new when you are ready.
The worst thing of all is the huge hole the rejection will leave in your life. We introverts don’t have 30 close friends; we have fewer relationships and they are very deep. The loss of this person feels like a death to us, and we need to grieve. There’s no getting around that part, but time does help. So will finding someone new.
There are 16 personality types (8 of them introverts) according to the MBTI, and there are two genders. So all of the above considerations are going to be a bit different for each introvert. I would truly appreciate if anyone has anything to add to this that might help another introvert. Please leave your comment below, or you can just click “Reply” to reply to each others’ comments. I will write more related posts in the coming days.
Photo credit: CAVE CANEM