From the beginning of my childhood, I was always a clear extrovert. I enjoyed parties and social gatherings. One time, I even planned my entire day around meals with people. I met with one person for breakfast, another for lunch, and wrapped up dinner with yet another friend.
It’s not just you—I’m cringing at the thought, too. That sounds exhausting.
Growing up, my mother was the primary introvert in my life. Sadly, our differences created a great deal of friction between us in my adolescent years. There were countless times I would ask her to spend time with me, but she said she needed her “alone time.” As a result, I had a hard time finding ways to connect with my mother (if only I had Bria to explain it to me back then!)
Moving forward in my life, the mysterious need for “alone time” greatly affected my relationships. The very phrase instantly sent me back to being a 15-year-old standing in the living room watching my mom walk away from me. To me, “alone time” meant rejection. It wasn’t about focusing on the needs of the other person.
Thank goodness I know better now.
It took me years (five years dating an introvert to be exact) to truly understand and embrace the grace of introverts. Now, even I crave time to myself. I love spending time with just me and totally understand the need to enjoy your own company. In fact, my fiancé and I try to structure time in our weekly schedule where each of us gets the apartment to ourselves.
Because the fact of the matter is, we all need time alone. Whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert, we all need to be comfortable enough with who we are in order to spend time with ourselves.Whether you’re extroverted or introverted, you need to be comfortable spending time alone.Click To Tweet
You introverts are just ahead of the game. And I wish I had caught on sooner!
If you’ve ever wondered what in the world goes on in an extrovert’s brain (and what a loving extrovert thinks of introverts), I’m lifting the veil for you. Now, I certainly can’t speak for all of us, but as an extrovert with 99% introverted friends, I have a new-found view on introvertedness that just might surprise you.
And I hope these confessions open new doors for your relationships with your extroverted friends.
Confessions of an ExtrovertConfessions of an Extrovert: A Message for My Introverted FriendsClick To Tweet
1 | I want you to be happy and cared for.
Whenever I make plans with an introverted friend after she gets off work, I try to give her time to rest and recover before we meet. I might be anxiously waiting like a not-so-patient puppy waiting for her human to get home. But I would rather wait and give you the time and space you need to fuel yourself for our evening out.
Because we’re friends! Sometimes extroverts steamroll their introverted friends into social outings (I’ve totally been guilty of this). We’re so focused on the actual seeing you part that we forget you need some down time to be revved up and ready to go.
Don’t let us steamroll you!
Because more than “just” spending time with you, we want you to be happy, cared for, and loved in the way that you need. So if that means putting buffer (aka introvert recharge) time into our plans, then by all means, we will make that happen!
If you have a friend who’s constantly pressuring you to go out or operate on a higher level socially than you’re ready to, don’t be afraid to say no or schedule in some buffer time. Your needs are important! And while it might be difficult to vocalize them, it’s an important skill to learn.Don’t be afraid to say no or schedule in some buffer time. Your needs are important.Click To Tweet
Because you matter. Your needs, your introvertedness, your quiet soul, every part of you matters. So don’t ever let anyone (introvert or extrovert) steamroll and neglect your needs.
At the end of the day, your true friends want you to be loved and cared for. We won’t mind waiting the extra hour for you to recoup and (omg) have the energy to actually enjoy spending time with us. Let yourself rest, my friend.
2 | I’m a socially awkward mess.
In Bria’s confessions of an introvert, she admits that she creates “situations and conversations in [her] mind that will literally never happen.” Same here, girl! Same here. Extroverts may look super polished and confident on the outside (some do at least), but we’re just as much of hot messes internally as our introverted friends.
If I send an email, 10% of clicking “send” is relief that I actually sent it. The other 90% is fear and absolute terror.
Did I say the right thing? Did I use appropriate language?
Is the person going to get what I’m saying or think that I’m a total idiot?
Did I spell that one word right?
Who am I and why I am on this earth??
Trust me, you’re not alone with that inner monologue. We’ve all been there.
Just like introverts, extroverts fear the judgement of others, stumble over our words, fumble through social situations, and totally feel the deer-in-the-headlights sensation when we’re caught off guard. We certainly aren’t masters of social situations because of our extrovertedness.
My introverted fiancé is totally graceful with small talk. Whereas you put me in an elevator with someone and I’m like “Sooo, wonder if we’re going to get trapped in here and die?” Super smooth social skills, ftw.
Now, where does this difference in social skill come from? Not our extro/introvertedness! It’s because of experience. He’s practiced the art of small talk in his job whereas I’ve barely started working in the professional world.
While some people are blessed with natural grace in social situations, many of us aren’t. It’s a learned skill and it’s totally up to you if you want to practice it. Although, I’ll probably continue questioning the stability of every elevator I get in (just might not terrorize anyone in there with me).
3 | I need alone time, too.
Now, I’ve always admired Bria. But her post on unplugging from social media is where I fell in love with her. Social media is a great tool to stay connected and grow relationships. But it can be detrimental to our hearts and souls if we let it control our lives.
If you haven’t read that post yet, you absolutely must.
One of the biggest tolls that social media takes on us is the inability to be with ourselves. My fiancé gets up to grab a fork in a restaurant and I whip out my phone. I wake up, immediately start thinking of my to-do list, and I reach for my phone. I’m sitting there watching TV and feel the urge to start scrolling.
Oh my gosh, this is getting a bit absurd, right?
Like I said, technology is a great tool. But being constantly connected takes its toll. I’ve actively started to unplug in cases where I normally would use my phone as filler. More than anything, I want to be comfortable simply being with myself. And as scary as that was at first, it was so refreshing to finally be able to sit and not need to be entertained.
Often times, extroverts use their extrovertedness to avoid their inability to be by themselves (at least in my experience). We pack our schedule to the brim and keep going, going, going because the thought of being alone is terrifying. We’re afraid of who we are and often times don’t even know who that person is.
Now, I know that some introverts (my fiancé especially) think that social overdrive is a more productive way of dealing with your issues than handling them hermit-style. Because going out, doing stuff, seeing people is all a way to get things “done.”
But that couldn’t be further from the truth!
Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, we need to be emotionally healthy enough that we don’t need to hide behind our introvertedness/extrovertedness. It’s not healthy for extroverts to bury their fear of being alone in their social calendars. And it’s not healthy for introverts to hermit so much that you feel disconnected from the world. We need a healthy balance of being alone and being social.We need a healthy balance of being alone and being social.Click To Tweet
For extroverts, we need to slow down and embrace the grace of introvertedness. Once I started spending time alone, I surprisingly became addicted. I love the freedom that I have being by myself and the power I get from just doing what I want to during that time.
Your desire and need to be alone does not make you weird, anti-social, rude, or unaccepted. It makes you stronger. Because by simply being with yourself, you’re embracing who you are and validating your existence. You’re saying that your company is enough and that you have value, regardless of how full your social calendar is. Really, we could all learn how to do that more for ourselves.You have VALUE. Regardless of how full your social calendar is.Click To Tweet
4 | I’d love to work in silence with you.
One of my favorite ways of working is with someone else. But not in a study group or even working on the same materials. Surprisingly, I love to work in silence with my friends.
Today, I welcome friends to come to my place, set up our laptops, and dive into our work together. We’re accompanied by the clicking of our keyboards and the occasional squeak of an interested cat. Or maybe we’ll get wild and play a focus track.
I love working in silence together because not only do I get an insane amount of work done, but I have the perfect companion to take a snack break with once we’re burnt out. It’s a beautiful way to enjoy one another’s company without the pressure of performing socially.
Just like introverts, extroverts can enjoy and appreciate the need to be alone, but not lonely (as Bria describes it). We want the freedom to simply exist as ourselves without the pressure of social performance. And we thank you for giving us that freedom and showing us how to live it with grace.
5 | I love your quiet soul.
Bria said it best. Your quiet soul is your superpower.Introverts: your quiet soul is your superpower.Click To Tweet
As a chatty extrovert, I’m naturally drawn to introverted friends. Not only do my friends’ personalities balance me out, but they strengthen me because of our differences.
Plus the whole “I love to talk; they love to listen” dynamic works out great.
My fiancé loves to listen to me. This simple act makes me feel loved and important more than I can even express. One of my oldest friends always gives me the best advice for handling social situations with grace. Her quiet soul and tender touch always soothe me when I’m tempted to impulsively strike back. And another friend has shown me the power of taking time to process your problems alone. I’ve learned to work through some of my issues myself first, before talking them out with others.
The best part? They’ve done all of this while being their introverted selves, just as they are. I absolutely love and admire my introverted friends with all my heart; and I wouldn’t ever want you to be any less of who you are or force yourself to be someone different.
I know the world seems like it was made for extroverts. And I can’t even imagine the pain this brought you throughout life. But trust me when I say that I need you just as you are. Because your quiet soul, your giving heart, and your beautiful mind are just what the world needs.
Thank you for being you.Your quiet soul, your giving heart & your beautiful mind are just what the world needs.Click To Tweet
Read this next: 14 Ways Introverts Can Practice Self Care at Work
Melanie Tsuchiya is a coach and writer dedicated to taking you from not being on your priority list to rocking the #1 spot. She’s fueled by green tea lattes, jalapeño chips, and kitten cuddles. Grab her FREE 1-2-3 Confidence Cheat Sheet to swipe her rinse and repeat method for becoming your most confident you.