A Guide to Caring for the Introvert in your Life

We at the Institute for Introvert Understanding would like to congratulate you! You have been allowed into the life of an Introvert! This will be a journey of joy and excitement as you are the recipient of love and compassion that only an Introvert can give.

We would like to offer you some tips and suggestions that will make life with your Introvert run a bit more smoothly for both of you. We hope our years of study, research  and fieldwork will be useful.

Crowds, People, Talking

One of the most notorious issues with Introverts stems from extended time in areas where they are required to engage with others. We believe this is the one item that scares most people away from the Introvert. But, fear not! With a few tips and tricks up your sleeve, you can safely navigate a night out with your Introvert. 

First, when in a crowd, especially when mingling and conversation is expected, be attentive. In most cases, Introverts will do fine for a given amount of time. Only experience, coupled with trial and error will determine just how long you have. If you find your Introvert doing the following, you should intervene immediately.

  • Staring into the middle distance while someone talks uncomfortably close to them.
  • The exaggerated wide open eye intensely tracking you throughout the room
  • The above is generally coupled with the “get me out of here” psychic signal they are sending
  • Carrying a bottle of wine with them rather than a glass

Second, don’t be discouraged when, despite your best efforts, they disappear. If this happens, don’t panic! Just check the car, the stairwell, the coatroom and the bathroom. When you find them, approach gently and kindly. Coax them out with something they enjoy. Often a nicely chilled glass of white wine will do the trick, especially if they’ve finished the bottle they were carrying around before.

Third, you will want to provide a promise of the exact time that you will be taking your Introvert home. This gives them something to look forward to.

Remember, they often feel what others feel and pick up on subtle emotions unconsciously. This bombardment generates an energy that drains them very quickly. It doesn’t happen intentionally and often it leads to amazing traits. This sensitivity to others makes them very kind, empathetic and intuitive.

But, it can also become overwhelming very quickly for the Introvert. Generally, they can manage a few people at a time. After all, they are adults and know how to behave in a socially acceptable way. But, if you ask your Introvert to navigate a large crowd, for a long time, and talk to people, (especially needlessly loud ones) don’t be surprised if they retire to their nest the next day and read – a lot.

Ah, the Nest

This is the one place in the world your Introvert wants to be. Ideally it is quiet and has most of their needs (and wants) within arm’s reach. This area will be comfortable. Most likely there will be soft blankets, sweaters and socks involved. It will smell good and be the perfect temperature. There will be burrowing. 

Over time your Introvert will gather items to store in or near the nest. Things like colored pens and pencils, fancy paper and art supplies, books, note cards and planners, favorite mugs, eye glasses, and candy wrappers will begin to appear. Best not to remove anything. In fact, don’t even touch it.

On a side note, we at the Institute have noticed a trend of Introverts who wish to wander around outside. Sometimes they will wander aimlessly, other times they appear to be very intentional in their speed and direction. Either way, they will most likely want to do this alone. There is a lot happening in their minds during this time and it’s best to stay away unless there is a very specific invitation to join them. Even then, do so at your own risk. 

Food, Your Introvert, and You

This is a topic of great debate among the members of the Institute. Some less experienced suggest healthy food only since many Introverts have health issues stemming from the gut area. They want to explain this to the Introvert. Teach them how to be healthy and help them.

The fact is, the Introvert knows all of this and they know way more than anyone else. They’ve done the research. They devised the plan. And they most definitely do not need to be told how to care for themselves. They know healthy foods heal the digestive tract. They know the benefits of exercise. They know they have to manage stress. They KNOW, dammit! THEY KNOW!!!!!

Ahem….

Anyway, one of our more seasoned members from the field sums it up nicely.

“I understand the desire to encourage the Introvert in your life to eat well, exercise, and manage stress. We all want our loved ones to be happy and healthy. Introverts are notoriously riddled with stress-related ills that often affect digestion and many other things. However, having lived with an Introvert for the past thirty years, I can tell you that when she decides she wants something in particular to eat…well, let’s just say there is a dark side that no one really talks about. I don’t want to scare anyone but take it from an old pro. If your Introvert is determined to have an unhealthy meal, you DO NOT want to be the one offering them a carrot. Trust me.”  Benton S., thirty-year Introvert survivor

While not all Introverts are like the one above in regards to food. This does serve as an example of the single-mindedness and determination exhibited when they have made a decision. It took a lot of weighing options and internal debate to lead them to their decision. Even if it’s just deciding to eat a cheeseburger. Don’t try to derail the train.

Alone Time is Critical

Finally, we cannot stress enough how vital your Introvert’s alone time is to their well-being. This is when they will feel safe and relaxed. They relish not fixing or solving anything. It soothes their souls to not have to be polite to assholes or make small talk with idiots. They can complete a thought and reflect without interruption.

You must remember your Introvert’s mind is always running full speed. They are generally a few steps ahead in any situation and are scouting and weighing options all while considering the emotions and feelings of others. They constantly exhibit an insane amount of patience. Until they don’t. 

Your Introvert will need their alone time. Often it will occur in the nest or in nature. At times they will spend what seems to be an alarming amount of time being quiet. Do not worry! They aren’t angry or upset. They simply have nothing to say.

Remember, with a little peace and quiet to recharge and gather energy, your Introvert will burst onto the scene full of energy and ideas. They show up when needed, every single time. They make major strides in most any project they set their mind to, blowing through stagnant waters and guiding others out of the muck. Their productivity is focused and true. Ideas become reality, plans take root, progress is made. It’s times like this when your Introvert will change the world! 

Then they’ll take a nap.

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