Do you find that it can be a challenge to be an introvert in a culture that embraces extroverts? Have you ever been told, “Just force yourself to be more sociable?” Yet you tried this and were miserable?
Is it possible for introverts to be in a relationship with someone who is an extrovert? Yes, it is. Challenging? Definitely. I am the typical introvert who is married to an extrovert. My husband is outgoing, sociable, is okay with attention, does not mind large crowds, being around people energizes him, is good at small talk, enjoys hospitality and having company, does not meet a stranger, and is a born-leader. The key to understanding and maintaining a healthy relationship with one another is RESPECTING YOUR DIFFERENCES, and not to try and change each other. Introverts and extroverts can complement each other, but you must respect the differences in each other.
As an introvert, I have not always respected and appreciated the strengths of my personality. I prayed for many years for God to change me and make me like others, but He did not! Then because of my insecurities I tried to copy what others were doing, but I ended up miserable. Trying to be somebody that you are not will leave you frustrated and maybe even depressed.
7 things you may not know about introverts:
- Introverts are not shy. We love people, but in very small doses. Our preference is mingling with one or two close friends. Introverts may appear to lack social skills and be antisocial, but this is untrue. In fact, introverts can make some of best friends; they are loyal, great listeners, and attentive. Introverts, however, do not like small talk. Introverts are deep thinkers and analytical. Talking just to be talking is frustrating to the introvert. They thrive on deep, meaningful, and thought-provoking conversations. You will not find an introvert talking on the phone very much. They would much rather meet for a cup of coffee, look into your eyes, listen attentively to you, and respond after reflection from the conversation. When introverts do meet with you, they want to know what is going on in your life not the latest weather or who won last night’s ballgame.
- Introverts tend to be creative. Albert Einstein and Vincent Van Gogh were introverts. Some of the most creative people are introverts. People with this personality make great writers, researchers, scientists, and artists. Introverts enjoy spending large blocks of time alone because in doing so their minds are open to all sorts of creativity. Being around a lot of people zaps an introvert’s creativity.
- Introverts are quiet, subdued, and do not like attention. They would rather sit on a mall bench and observe the people rather than shopping with girlfriends. Introverts do not like discussing their achievements, or be called out for an award. If given a choice an introvert would rather express their ideas in writing than speech. Introverts may be quiet typically, but if they are interested in a topic they can talk incessantly.
- There is some data that suggests introverts are highly intelligent. Seventy-five percent of people with an IQ above 160 are introverts. Introverts make-up 50% of the gifted population. Highly intelligent people are more focused on their inner world than the outer world as with introverts. Introverts are more analytical, insightful, and intuitive. They are also very reflective, deep thinkers, and are able to concentrate. They are dreamers and are constantly thinking of ways to improve things around them.
- Introverts do not like change. Introverts work best with consistency and stability, this also includes having stable and consistent people in their lives. An introverted person will shut down if there are too many changes or inconsistency. They do well when they are given a warning about change.
- Introverts need time alone and personal space. Introverts are not like extroverts who gain energy from being around people. Introverts need time to process their world, and they need time alone to do this. Being around a lot of people can drain an introvert, and they will need to pull back and get into their place of solitude to recharge. Introverts can find house guests intrusive. They need and crave personal space. If they have been around others too long they can become irritable, and even get headaches. Introverts have difficulty with back-to-back social engagements and will get overwhelmed if too many things are booked on their calendar. Introverts can usually spend on average of about four hours engaged with people or social interactions, any longer than that irritability and tiredness sets in. This does not mean an introvert can never spend longer than four hours with someone, it just means that when they do rest afterwards through solitude to regain energy is a must. An introvert knows best where to place their energy, and will be choosy about which people and places to engage with.
- Introverts make great prayer warriors, encouragers, and mentors within the church body. Unfortunately, being an introvert in church can be most challenging. Introverts do well with small, intimate bible studies that have a clear start and end time, and there is not a lot of small talk at the beginning of the study. If an introvert feels forced or pushed to join a group, they most likely will not join, but the introvert who listens to the gently promptings of the Lord will join when lead by God. Spirit-filled introverts can spend hours with the Lord, waiting on Him to hear His voice. When they allow themselves out of the comfort zone, they can share with others what the Holy Spirit placed on their hearts.
God created us with different strengths, personality types, and weaknesses. God can use anyone who submits to Him, and He is most glorified through our weaknesses.
My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boost all to more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
What kinds of challenges have you faced being an introvert? What traits of an introvert do you line-up with?