Extraversion vs. introversion is a central trait in assessing personality, and it's as divisive as it is misunderstood. A lot of people think it refers to whether someone is shy or outgoing, but what it really boils down to whether one is energized by being around other people or by being alone. Extraverts tend to be stimulated by being around others and will feel drained by too much time alone. Introverts, on the other hand, gravitate toward self-reflection and self-stimulation, so they recharge their batteries with solitude. While they can enjoy hanging out in groups just as much as extraverts do, there is a limit on how much they can withstand before needing to retreat inward.
Introverts also tend to want a lot more control over social interactions than their extravert friends, and that's where things can get tricky. If you're an extravert by nature, here are some things you might be doing to stress out your introvert friends without even realizing it.
Invite more people to a gathering without notice.
In a recent AskReddit thread on this topic, this was the comment with the most upvotes. If you're an extravert, your whole motto in life is "the more the merrier," but for an introvert, the size of a gathering can actually be a major factor in whether they even feel up to attending. "Bonus points if they said, 'it'll just be you and me' and then proceed to invite more people right. In. Front. Of You," wrote Shinigamigirl123.
An extravert with the username RocketPoweredRedneck even admitted to doing this once to a friend she invited to a coffeeshop, and watched her friend deflate as the gathering got bigger. They know better now!
Ask "why are you so quiet?"
This one's a hot button for a lot of introverts, because whether it's intended this way, it makes them feel like they're being rude for... being them. As several commenters mentioned, it makes them feel as bad as an extravert might feel if asked, "Why are you so loud?" IDK, that's just how I am, man!
"I think the best response to that question is either, 'I don't know. Why do you talk so much?'" said NecroticWitch, who also advised "most of the time when someone is 'too quiet' it is because you are dominating the conversation."
Call attention to them.
Not all introverts avoid the spotlight entirely, but most would probably agree they don't enjoy being thrust into it without notice or without their permission. So while an extravert may think the best way to acknowledge they're grateful for an introvert's hard work or proud of their accomplishments is to make a big public speech about it, please just know your poor introvert friend or colleague pretty much wants to die when you do that.
Ignore cues that they don't want to talk.
A major complaint some introverts have is that extraverts tend not to pick up on nonverbal cues that they don't want to engage in small talk or go somewhere."When people get pushy about going somewhere or doing something, I tend to hem and haw a little bit," says brokenhippie91. Unfortunately, they find people "don't tend to pick up on that hesitancy as a no unless they are also that type of person. They just double down and get more pushy."
Talk your ear off right when you get home from work.
Introverts with extraverted significant others or family members often express frustration when they're expected to be "on" immediately after a long day interacting with other people. "After a 12 hour day of work I get the 'WYD, wanna hang right now?" text the second I get home," wrote PoseidonsHairyNipple.
"No, I don't. If I don't already have plans, then I spent the past 12 hours thinking about taking my pants off and drinking a beer in silence," they added.
"We need to pull you out of your shell!"
Sparrower1 pointed to a big frustration among introverts, which is that their extravert friends treat them like they have a personality defect that needs to be corrected, and that if you would just get "out there," you will be better. "I don’t need someone to come along and 'fix' me. If I am unacceptable as I am, then please move along." I have a feeling most people who do this are well-meaning, and think being reserved or withdrawn equals sad, because that's how sadness tends to manifest for more naturally outgoing folks.
Not giving them adequate alone time.
Introverts want to hang out with you — just on their terms. MarchHymns expressed frustration about people who "Never give you the time you need to recharge your social battery, and then they have the audacity to complain about you being cranky and ''ruining'' whatever social event they dragged you to."
Constantly filling the silence.
I know a lot of extraverts who are comfortable with silence to a point and respectful of introverts' need for it, but it can certainly be a blindspot for the less self-aware among them. A user called gets annoyed "when they just can't stop talking, even though you are showing them that you are not interested. I really think that they can't stand silence at all. Another user called arcsine said they knew someone who would do this, to the point they would just say, "oh s–t that's my bus" and walk off — in the middle of a nightclub.
Hanging out always has to be a big thing.
For an extravert, the ideal hang is out somewhere fun with a ton of people, and they often accuse introverts of not wanting to be social because they decline these invitations. Now, these kinds of gatherings can be fun even if you're an introvert, but most would agree they need to be fairly spread out. And they would push back to say just because they don't want to go in a big group to a loud club doesn't meant they don't want to hang out with you.
They'd just rather a smaller gathering doing something more chill, like watching a movie or a game night with a small guest list of people they have gotten to know before.
Laying on the guilt when they'd rather stay home.
I have a feeling when extraverts do this, what they're trying to tell the introvert is that they love them and want to spend time with them. But most introverts say all this does is make them feel bad and even less inclined to hang out. "I know you'd rather go to a bar instead of watching Netflix at home, but it's loud and it's smelly and it's crowded, says InkMage94. "Go if you want to go to the bar, stay if you want to hang with me, but stop berating me because I don't want to go."
So here's what you can do to make your introvert friends feel comfortable.
I'm sure some staunch extraverts out there are probably rolling their eyes and thinking, "OK, fine, so am I just supposed to ignore my introvert friends and never invite them anywhere?" Definitely not! Here are some tips to make group situations more pleasant for them and forging a stronger connection. First, gradual exposure to new people is pretty key, and providing adequate time for introductions.
Also, extraverts tend to be a lot more comfortable with fluid plans, but that's not the case for an introvert. If you really want to make a more reserved friend feel welcome, they will likely want to know roughly how many people to expect and have a set venue so they can mentally prepare.