1. People & Relationships
Cherie Burbach

Introverts: What Would You Tell Your Extroverted Friends?

By June 18, 2013

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People are often surprised when I tell them I'm introverted, because I'm not shy and I can carry on a conversation. However, there are several things I wish my extroverted pals knew better, chief among them is that sometimes I need to think for a moment before I answer. (They sometimes take this as me having no opinion so they just keep on talking.)

I've tried many times to break out of what's comfortable to me and try to keep up with the conversation. Sometimes this means I talk louder than I would normally, or try to throw my thoughts out there in a willy nilly fashion. But neither of these things feels good, and what it ends up producing is me talking louder and more uncomfortably than usual, trying to quickly get my thoughts out before they are stomped on by someone else. Most of the time, I just don't succeed at this. I'll start to say something and someone will talk over me before I can finish the thought. As a result, people will misunderstand what I was even talking about.

It's frustrating to deal with, but I know that I have to keep trying. Sometimes you can tell friends that you need a little time to think, or even time to recharge your batteries after a party or group event. Sometimes they get it, and sometimes not.

Most of the time, I come home from an event or group outing and take a nap! I'm utterly exhausted. I've worked in the corporate world for many years, and this helped me break out of my shell a little bit and understand that there are times when I need to communicate differently, as uncomfortable and wrong as it feels to me. It isn't a perfect solution, either. In trying to "be more extroverted" I often feel that people don't get what I'm saying because I'm trying too hard to communicate differently and as a result can't get the full concept of what I'm saying.

As an introvert, there are things we'd like to tell our extroverted friends. Here's some more info on introverts and friendship:

June 18, 2013 at 7:57 am
(1) Susan Baganz says:

I may be an extrovert but kind of admire people who can actually think in their head. While I do have some filters (less when I’m tired), I sometimes don’t know quite what I’m going to say until the words are already out of my mouth! Definitely comes with some level of risk! I had a man I worked with for nine years who was an introvert. If I had serious things to discuss or questions to be answered, I would email him a few days before we were to meet because I knew he needed time to think about these things and it would make our time together more productive. Maybe that was also selfish of me. I wanted to get to resolution and if I waited then i would also wait some more for him to come to decisions. Being proactive with my introvert boss helped us both to maximize those meeting times and I think honored his strengths. By contrast, he knew that if he called me with questions, he wouldn’t have to wait for answers, I would give him opinions, thoughts, ideas on the spot. We made our personalities work well together by respecting those aspects and in a way, maximizing them for everyone’s benefit. Neither way is wrong – just different, but it’s good to respect and recognize that, especially when someone is different from you.

June 24, 2013 at 8:11 am
(2) Marianne says:

I get talked over all the time. As soon as it happens, I shut down. I feel I am no longer able to contribute to the conversation as I realize most people are more interested in what they themselves have to say by not giving me a moments consideration to say what I want to say. It makes me hugely resentful unfortunately. People need to learn from actors. One actor says his lines, then the next actor says his. They never talk over each other and they actually consider what the other person says!

June 24, 2013 at 4:49 pm
(3) Nellie says:

I can definitely related to Marianne’s comment. People are constantly talking over me as though I am not even in the room, which makes me feel invisible. I often resort to yelling, “I am still talking!” when this happens. If I have to say this too many times, I just leave the room because apparently the conversations are nothing more than a competition of who talks the most and the loudest. Plus I do not like it when people assume I agree with them because I don’t answer right away. I have to remind them that I need to look at all the facts before forming an opinion, and that may even require reflection time away from others.

June 24, 2013 at 6:40 pm
(4) Marianne says:

I totally get that Nellie. I don’t want them thinking I agree with something they’re discussing either simply because I haven’t been giving the opportunity to give my opinion. I too have tried to lighten things by saying “excuse me, I still have the floor!” while I smile at everyone. This usually works but if the conversation isn’t that important, I don’t bother. I just let them ramble. Imagine if we said what we really felt to these conversation hi-jackers. “you are obnoxious and loud and inconsiderate and really don’t give a crap how my weekend was because you just want to tell me all about yours!” ha Not gonna happen of course.

I am grateful for finding out in the last year or so that the reason I feel so differently and have a hard time “fitting in” is simply because I’m an introvert. It’s been a relief to know I’m not alone. I really have thought over the decades that I was put on earth by mistake! I still kind of wonder that! It’s HARD being an introvert. We’re often misunderstood and given labels that are wrong! My uncle told me once that I lived in a dream world. It was the way he said it that made me realize he thought I lived in LaLa Land. It was patronizing. There is a HUGE difference between being a dreamer and living in LaLa Land!!! I was completely insulted and still resent him for saying that, 26 years later! I feel like I have to prove myself or something. ~sigh~

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