We all want to feel free to be ourselves, but relationships run more smoothly when we're aware of one another's needs and sensitivities.
Extroverts tend to be so exuberant and enthusiastic, they sometimes feel like bulls—or at least calves—in a China shop around introverts. They might ask, "Must I always restrain myself in order to not offend?"
The following information and suggestions are intended for both introverts and extroverts, for when two introverts are in a relationship, one tends to take a more introverted and one a more extroverted role:
• Ask if now is a good time to talk instead of taking it for granted introverts want to have a conversation.
• Unless you ask some clarifying questions, you often can't tell whether introverts are worried about something, involved in their own thoughts, or want to be left alone.
• Treat introverts gently—loud or dramatic expressions of emotion often frighten them. Your point of view will come across better through gentle persistence than if you come on strongly or put them on the spot.
• Think of creative solutions if pacing is a problem:
I used to call introverted Bob "passive aggressive" for keeping me waiting so long for a response while he looked around and ruminated—as if I wasn't there. But I realized he wasn't trying to "get" me, so I would have him follow me into whatever activity I was doing while he considered and finally came out with a response. That worked well for both of us. —Elaine Chernoff, an extrovert.
• Respect introverted friends' and family members' wishes if they prefer to be alone in times of stress or sadness:
In a culture in which interpersonal relationships are generally considered to provide the answer to every form of distress, it is sometimes difficult to persuade well-meaning helpers that solitude can be as therapeutic as emotional support. —Anthony Storr.
• When introverts opt for privacy, remember this goes along with their inborn nature and is not necessarily a rejection of you.
Anthony Hopkins, an introverted actor, likes to socialize occasionally, but feels his main non-acting activities (playing the piano, composing music, and taking road trips) would be less pleasurable with other people along. "Most of the time," he told an interviewer, "I am enough."
"One's company, two's a crowd."
—Oscar Levant in the movie, An American in Paris.
• If you feel let down because your introvert isn't expressive enough, pay more attention to the words than their delivery.
Extroverted Elaine multiplies her introverted partner's expressed emotions by ten; he divides hers by ten.
• Look for nonverbal signs of affection. Introverts are sometimes more comfortable expressing their feelings in writing or by their actions than through speaking.
• If your introverted friends or relatives go off to watch from the sidelines alone, don't assume they're unhappy:
We extroverts belong to a club where we share the belief that interacting is always wonderful and fun. I'm sorry that introverts don't get to be part of this club. —Nancy Kesselring.
But it feels so good to read or play the piano alone...
"How to Get Along with Introverts" is based on The Happy Introvert.
Liz' piano on YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzsIGB5NKhw Jack and Jill variations
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RmX79JYLNg&feature=related Chop Sticks Variations
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVBpAd_70c4 Happy Introvert