These testy and feline-like characters are crafty, difficult, and structured in their lives. Their lifestyles are rather inane and regular, which some can find boring and others have described as sheltered. I am an introverted extrovert, an intense feeler, and I am related to a very intense introvert and thinker. We fight like cats and dogs because she’s the queen of cats and I’m the buddiest of all dogs out there. Yup, she’s my older sister and my worst enemy that I love but can’t stand. And she feels the same way about me.
Not to mention, I’m in a relationship with someone who is also an extreme introvert. Yup. He’s part of my challenge!
It’s difficult for ANY extrovert to unconditionally love and support an introvert of any degree. The easiest way to describe it is trying to mix water and oil. Water combines with any and everything! We need water to survive and live, and it is the basis on which all life needs to grow. And yet, oil is of a similar consistency but will never mix with water or any other liquid. It can split apart and come back together whenever it is swirled. It takes oil to cook most foods, and changes the taste of plenty foods. Extroverts are like water and introverts are like oil. See what I mean?
Introverts are some of the most AMAZING listeners in the world. They are capable of listening and then deducing the best course of actions while delivering it with brutal honesty that might make the other person cry. The important part to remember is that they LISTENED and PROCESSED before offering an ANSWER other may have never considered having only listened to part of the whole thing.
Most people skim the important message and give a general help answer that can go both ways. Introverts tend to take the situation much more seriously and answer based on their own personal experiences. Even if the experience was bad, if it worked, then it’s the answer they recommend. Emotions aren’t taken into account, nor are feelings of those around you. It’s simple, logical, and pragmatic.
They give unconditional support once they are in your fold. Introverts have the SUPER ability of building you into their lives. Read that line again. Introverts have the SUPER ability of BUILDING YOU INTO THEIR LIVES. For most people, others join the lives of others by mutual agreement. Introverts handle things a bit differently. It’s a simpler way of doing things that can offer plenty of support, but the truth is that, by THEM building YOU into THEIR lives, they are ensuring you time and a set amount of emotions to you.
Think of it like this, an extrovert puts themselves in the lives of many though sometimes, it’s a small role that appears and disappears with time. For an introvert, they BUILD SPACE for you to be and that space NEVER goes away. It’s a much more confirmed existence and always welcome. But, do realize that if you prove yourself unworthy of it, that space will be reassigned. As it is with most relationships and life in general. So, if you have the support of a person who happens to be an introvert, know that it might never go away. (Isn’t it comforting?)
Sharing a meal or snack is the best way to an introvert’s heart. I’ve known plenty who I’ve baked, cooked, cleaned, and worked out with. They are so logical and thorough, sticking to the plan without hesitation. But, FOOD is the one thing that gets them to open up a bit. Because everyone needs to eat, most introverts prefer to hide away and do it on their own. However, if you can engage one in a meal, it opens up the world of conversations, activities, and thinking situations that can help grow the relationship and change the paradigm it had been in before.
Most people feel like this is, somewhat, cheating in a way but I find it to be the best times the introverts in my life feel the most at ease, happy, and calm. I’m not saying to feed them as you would do bread crumbs to ducks at the pond. Think of what they like, bring it to them, and as they appreciate your friendship and consideration, they let you more into their lives. Yay!
Nothing inappropriate but a gentle sense of touch is necessary for intensifying the intimacy. There is nothing dirty in this except the pat or tap during a heavy conversation that can offer support and extend a helping hand (literally) to them. Most introverts don’t like being touched.
Hugging my older sister was a task one often needed a helmet, padding, and timing to accomplish. Due to my being a hugger, I would wrap my arms around her and she would push my arms away, dodge my embrace, and sometime, hit me in the face to keep me away from her. Yes, we are related by blood and this was her response towards me for most of our lives.
Now, I wait for her to initiate and appreciate it when she does. When she lets go, I release and step away quickly. Sometimes, during a conversation, when she’s dazed and wandering off verbally, I’ll pat her shoulder and she’ll come racing back to the conversation.
Naturally, I recoil my hand quickly, safely out of her space. Touch is necessary to help and guide, but also to offer support in the smallest way. But, in such times, they need it, too. We are, after all, all human.
Introverts will try their best but sometimes, it won’t work. At times like this, don’t encourage them as you would most people. Don’t tell them you understand how they feel. Remember that they think differently which means, encouragement and sympathy comes off differently. It’s a strange idea, but react the way that speaks to them best.
Try talking them through the situation and surveying the factors involved one at a time, each in turn. Discuss the possibilities and then, after all has been addressed, give your analysis of their failed attempt. Remember not to judge, but find examples in society that logically supports their situation and then, tell them to try it for themselves.
Although it sounds a bit rough and cold, it’s the way to get through to them the best. When my older sister gets stuck in life, I don’t coddle her the way my mother does. I sit down and go through the situation with her, offering a different perspective, and I listen closely. After all has been explained, I offer her my opinion before embarking on a prediction game. To me, it’s critical thinking at its best. To her, it’s just figuring out a puzzle. Fun, eh?
As for me, I fully admire my sister and the practical and detached way she lives her life. Personally, I couldn’t live that way and am very active socially and physically. But, something I’ve come to discover is that, introverts have friends and need time with those friends otherwise something feels off. Some believe that introverts don’t have friends, which is ridiculous.
Friends, to them, might not mean the same to me, but it’s a similar feeling of calming reassurance that they’re not alone in the world. Think of Sheldon Cooper from “The Big Bang Theory” and then, rethink everything in this post. He’s a classic case of an introvert with a set lifestyle. The best example on television!
Share your tips and ideas, too!
All the best!