Explaining your introversion to others can quite possibly be the hardest part of being an introvert. It’s enough that we have to deal with our own innermost battles, but once we have to communicate it to the people in our lives, that’s when the real challenge begins! Do we dive deep into the psychological particulars of it? Or do we toss them a book and tell them to learn on their own?
What we can’t do is give up and hope they will figure it out eventually. That’s where misconceptions and misunderstandings thrive. Our introversion is an important aspect of who we are and it shouldn’t be overlooked.
When we can effectively talk about our introversion, it boosts our own confidence and lets the people around us understand us better. This results in closer relationships with family and friends, stronger bonds with partners, and better rapport with colleagues and teachers.
Now, there’s no need to go around explaining your introversion to everyone you meet! We don’t see extroverts doing that so we shouldn’t either. However, I think we can agree that introversion is a much more misunderstood subject, so we should save our explanations for the people who really matter.
But, the way we talk about it with our closest friend is not going to be the way we talk about it with a new partner or a boss, so here are my strategies for explaining your introversion to the various people in your life!
Family & Friends
These are the people you can be the most honest with and the ones whose opinions and feelings you care about the most! These are also the people who probably have the strongest views on your introversion, whether they be good or bad. This is why you should really take the time to open up a dialogue with them, share your experiences as an introvert, and educate them on the subject.
The best way to do this is to start it off by using an outside resource. Use a book, website, or video about introversion to provide them with an accurate description of what it is. Then, go on to connect the definition to yourself by explaining your introverted traits and using personal anecdotes.
Answer any questions you can and don’t be afraid to open up! These are the people who care about you the most and want to see you succeed. Spend as much time as you need keeping this dialogue open – some will learn faster than others.
Unlike family, you may not want to open up as much with your work colleagues! However, it is imperative to speak to them about your introversion so they can work with you and understand you as best as they can. It doesn’t help anyone if the people in your office are going by thinking you hate all of them when you really don’t!
Of course, you’re not going to have a heart to heart with your boss, so this one has to be done differently. My favorite way is to start or join a conversation in which you can lead to talking about your introversion. At my old job, for example, my colleagues had started to talk about zodiac signs one day. This conversation usually leads to people sharing what their sign is and how accurate it is for them, so I took that opportunity to share mine (Virgos unite!). I mentioned how I am very introspective, observant, and independent – all introvert buzzwords. In the end, I was able to get my message across without even saying the word introvert.
Dropping hints here and there will help your colleagues put the pieces together that you are just as dedicated to the job as they are, you’re just doing it quietly!
Start your career on a high note with my career advice for introverts.
Dates & Romantic Partners
In the beginning, dating can be fun as an introvert when the person doesn’t know you very well and you can get away with them not know your true nature. Unfortunately, that will only last so long. When I was on the dating scene, I would get paranoid knowing the day would come that my date would discover my “introverted underpants.”
We introverts are great at pretending to be extroverts, but we aren’t quite experts at it. We slip up and expose some of our introverted ways which makes the other person start asking questions.
To avoid all of this anxiety and masquerade, it’s best to be upfront with your dates about your introversion. This way, no love is lost if it ends up that they aren’t interested in dating an introvert (plus, why would you want to date them anyway?). And if they are fine with dating an introvert, then everything starts off going in a positive and honest direction!
When asked questions such as if you like to go out, what you do in your free time, or how many friends you have, take that opportunity to be honest and share what your personality and lifestyle is really like. Don’t downplay your introversion or say negative things like, “I know I’m a weirdo but…” or “I know I’m such a loner…”
When you talk positively and confidently about your introversion, people will be less likely to want to help, pity, or “fix” you. They will see a proud introvert putting themselves out there unapologetically!
Needing more help with your love life as an introvert? Take a look at my relationship and dating tips!
When it comes to teachers and professors, you are often dealing with the threat of participation grades and their love for the “active” students. This means that you must effectively communicate your desire to do well in the class while remaining true to yourself.
I have found that talking one on one with teachers is the best way to go about explaining your introversion. Schedule a time to speak with them and ask how they think you’re doing in the class, grades aside. 90% of the time, they will bring up your introversion. Phrases like “Well, I wish you spoke up more” or “It doesn’t seem like you’re very interested” will probably be thrown around, which is your chance to take the stage!
Inform them that you are very invested in the class and aim to succeed, but you are naturally a more reserved and timid person. Note that your quietness is not because of disinterest or confusion, but because you would rather listen and observe in the classroom. This may not change their perception of introversion, but it will change their perception of you. You took an effort to make it known that you are a dedicated student and not the slacker they may have thought you were.
Learn more about how to harness your introvert power in the classroom.
Everyone in your life will have different levels of understanding, so be prepared for whatever happens! Not everyone will get it right away and some people, unfortunately, never will. But, the main part of being a confident introvert is to not be afraid to talk about it in a patient, kind, and informed way, no matter who it is. The good part is that it gets easier to do as time goes on, believe me!
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