At first (or second…or third…) glance, introverts might look, well, rude. When we’re out in public, chances are that the looks on our faces are less than inviting. We seem to be scowling, appear cold or even come off as rude. But please know this: just because we don’t have the friendly countenance of someone who wants to engage with the world doesn’t make us angry monsters (not all the time, anyway). Behind the resting introvert face is usually a pretty friendly person and a very good friend.
The cold shoulder
I understand completely. You see someone reading on the bus and politely smile as you sit down next to them, only to be met by a cold glare. Or, someone comes into your shop and as you ask if they need help, they brush you off. How rude, right? We’re not trying to be.
Being inside our own heads all day means we’re, well, inside our own heads all day. If we’re in deep thought, we’re not paying attention to what’s happening around us. I’m not going to smile at you on the subway not because I’m being rude, but because I’m working on actively shutting the world out. I’ve got my head down, looking at my phone. Or I’m deep into a book. Or I’m focusing on the music I’m playing and thinking deep thoughts (like, “what’s the answer to this problem I have?” or “what should I cook for dinner tonight?”).
We’re not the best at making friends, but I’d hazard a guess that we are the best at keeping them. Once you get to know an introvert and that introvert lets you in, you’re in. The initial stages of any relationship with an introvert can be tough. For one thing, we hate small talk. We have precious few words and a limited amount of social energy to give throughout a day, we just hate to see it wasted on discussions about the weather. We’d much rather get straight to the good stuff and discuss a shared interest or trade funny stories.
Once you’ve drawn that introvert out of their turtle shell, you’ll probably find that they’re quick to establish a deep and lasting connection. My favourite way to enjoy time with my friends is one-on-one or in very small groups; my social energy lasts a lot longer when it’s divided by fewer people. This, coupled with my affinity for listening, leads to a more intimate friendship and a closer connection.
My social circle isn’t vast, but it’s held together by a solid bond. I’m just thankful for the friends who introduced themselves to the quiet girl.