My grandmother’s funeral lasted for 8 hours. A long homegoing service isn’t that unusual in my black Southern culture. Even still, most of our family members agreed that eight hours was pretty impressive. The thing is, once the pastor asked if anyone had any last words they wanted to say about my beloved grandma, dozens of people stood up to pay their respects one by one. We were shocked to hear the intimate and meaningful ways my grandmother impacted so many lives. Our amazement was doubled by the fact that my grandma was an introvert.
I am an introvert just like her.
Introverts aren’t acknowledged for the ways we make life better for the people around us. We’re frequently depicted as friendless weirdos who hate social situations. I’m not going to pretend there isn’t a little truth in that, but there’s so much more to us than that. There are so many real benefits to being an introvert, with the main one being the ability to form ridiculously personal bonds with folks, as evidenced by my grandmother’s epic send off.
Can we just take a few minutes and pay homage to the personality trait that rarely gets the credit it deserves? Introverts rule, and this is exactly why.
1. We’re experts at creating boundaries.
While everyone else is trying to figure out how to say no to people, introverts learn at an early age how to say we don’t want to do something. We know when we need to stop before we get burnt out, so we go home before it gets uncomfortable. Introverts rarely do what they don’t want to do. Doesn’t that just sound like a dream?
2. Creating intimate relationships and bonds are our jam.
Although hanging out with tons of people for an extended amount of time sounds like a nightmare to most introverts, our personalities really come out when we’re able to get to know folks one-on-one. You’ll never meet a friend more attentive and loyal than one who is an introvert who has made the choice to let you in their circle.
3. Introverts rarely experience FOMO.
Everybody’s going to the Beyoncé concert, or homecoming at college, or the big holiday party? So what. We don’t care. Again, it’s not that we’re anti-social, we just don’t need to be social with everybody. Introverts are drained when we’re around in big crowds and have to cater to many different people, so staying at home is just fine with us.
4. We learn to be self-motivated as introverts.
Introverts do a lot of reflection, so we’re very much aware of where we need to improve in life. Whether we have shortcomings at work, or in our personal relationships, we usually know before someone else tells us. Since we’re intentional about finding quiet space to let ourselves think, we’re able to strategize how to be better.
5. Self-confidence comes naturally for introverts.
It takes a lot of courage to go against the crowd and say “no, I’m not doing that because it doesn’t make me feel good,” and introverts do that regularly. As a young introvert matures, they learn that it’s important to take care of themselves first. There is so much power in knowing that you can do what you need to do in order to take care of your physical and emotional needs.
6. We are very in tune with our physical and emotional needs.
As an introvert, when I’m in overstimulated for too long in crowds or social situations, I get physically sick. I was sick on my honeymoon because the entire week leading up to my wedding was (incredible, but) overwhelming. I’ve learned to leave parties early, not talk to certain people too often, and get 8 hours of sleep when I’m traveling in order to stay well. Every introvert I know can tell you their exact breaking point, which is great because they also know how to stay far away from it.
7. We are great judges of character.
Introverts have a great gift of being able to read people. Even the introverts who don’t know that’s what they’re doing, do it. Because we have to ration out our energy to last as long as we need it to, we usually learn how to spot an energy vampire no matter where we are. People who are negative or draining get identified quickly and we eventually cut them off.
8. Our high standards make us better at everything.
This is going to sound like I’m bragging, but I’m really not trying to. As an introvert, I am very particular about who and what I choose to spend my precious energy on. I don’t need to be around people, so when I hang out with someone, it’s a very conscious choice. That makes me an incredibly loyal friend who values the relationships that I do have.
If I come to your party, it means I’m not going to go do something else social that day or maybe even that weekend because it drains me. I chose your thing because that thing, and you, are important to me. If an introvert chooses to spend time with you or to come to your event, you should feel very special because to that introvert, you’re a real friend.
My grandmother had a full and busy life. She served on committees at church, traveled, and had the best friendships. I’d like to think that being an introvert enhanced her life and gave her a deeper appreciation of the people in her life. I know for sure that it does that for me.