Being an introvert means being someone who recharges through solitude & who prefers it to the company of large groups of people. It’s really that simple, yet in spite of that, introverts are often a very misunderstood bunch.
Being an introvert myself, I have plenty of experience in this area. One example that comes to mind is how extroverts who haven’t bothered to get to know me have mistakenly thought I believe that I’m a snob who thinks I’m much better than them simply because I’m quiet & reserved when around most people. Another misconception is people assume all introverts are weird. The majority of people who assume this do so simply because we don’t divulge a lot of information about ourselves to those who aren’t very close to us, so they fill in the blanks with what they think.
Those misconceptions can be annoying, but after being subjected to them my whole life, I’ve come to accept people think that way. It no longer upsets me like it once did. There is one misconception that still bothers me to no avail & I can’t seem to change my feelings on it however. That is that introverts need to do the majority of the work in relationships, & when they fail to meet the other person’s expectations, they are criticized harshly for it. I don’t see this as a common misconception for all introverts, but I have noticed it happens mostly with those who have suffered narcissistic abuse.
Those of us who have suffered at the hands of a narcissist were made to feel responsible for that relationship. We were to please that person at all times, be there for them & basically be & do anything that person wanted. Even after the relationship has ended, sometimes long after, we tend to be people pleasers. People pleasers are naturally the ones who are given the task of maintaining relationships in their lives.
While this often happens naturally, that doesn’t mean the behavior is right. It isn’t.
Relationships should be full of love, care for & compassion for each other. It’s not fair to expect a person to treat you that way if you aren’t willing to treat them the same way. Being the one responsible for calling the other person, planning activities together & everything else in the relationship is exhausting. Those things should be shared among both people in a relationship, not only one person’s responsibility!
If you know an introvert who hasn’t contacted you in a while, it might be time to consider your behavior with that person. Are you expecting them to do most or all of the work in the relationship? If so, it’s time to apologize to this person & make some changes! If not, then rather than get angry with the introvert for pulling away, think about that person. There are a plethora of reasons an introvert may pull away in relationships, & the reasons aren’t always personal.
Sometimes, introverts get overwhelmed with life & need space from everyone. It doesn’t mean they’re angry or hurt. They just need some space to recharge.
Sometimes, introverts just don’t think about reaching out. Again, it’s not personal. It may mean they have a lot on their minds, are working extra hours, have someone else in their life in need of their attention more than you, they might simply be tired or sick or for some reason reaching out simply hasn’t crossed their mind. I am this way & got worse after a brain injury. I don’t think about calling friends all that often. It doesn’t mean I don’t care. Far from it! I do care, & think of them often. My brain just doesn’t seem to make the connection between good thoughts of them & picking up the phone for some reason.
If you’re an introvert & in the position of being treated as if you are responsible for the relationships in your life, know that you are NOT solely responsible for those relationships. You have every right to set boundaries & to expect people to treat you with respect, love & compassion. If they can’t, then you also have the right to remove such people from your life. It won’t make you a bad person. It’ll make you a person with healthy self respect!