Introverts and extroverts get their energy from different sources. Extroverts usually like being out and about with friends, while an introverted person’s idea of a fun time might be staying home with a good book.
If you have an introverted friend, pay attention to how your interactions affect them. Considering their feelings is one of the best ways to show you care, but here are seven ways to be a supportive friend to your introverted besties:.
1. Listen to your introverted friends.
Just because introverts may not speak up doesn’t mean that they don’t have anything to say. Most introverts want to talk about the things they love but may feel they’re intruding on your conversation or your space.
Take some time to allow your introvert friends to gush about the things they love, be it hobbies or new shows they’re into. Then, find a way to share your friend’s interests with them. If you show interest in their own interests, they’ll feel like what they say is valuable.
2. Understand your friends’ experiences.
Society doesn’t paint introverts in the same light as it paints extroverts. Extroverts get to be the main character in TV and movies, but introverts “need to change” so that they can fit in.
Flipping the narrative can show you how unfairly society treats introverts. How would you feel if people constantly asked what was “wrong” with you or insisted you “tone it down?” You might not be able to understand what it’s like to be an introvert, but you can empathize with your friends and remind them that they don’t need to change who they are around you.
3. Cheer on your friends.
Some introverts might have low self-esteem because of the pressure they might feel to fit into a world of extroverts. Don’t hide away your introverted friends — show the world how great your friends are!
It’s not your job to be someone else’s self-esteem pillar, but cheering on your introvert friends can help them feel a bit more comfortable with who they are. Focus on your friends’ strengths — not the parts of themselves they’re still working on.
4. Make space for your friends’ voices.
Loud people have the power to elevate voices when they need to be heard. Your introverted friend might have something worth saying, but their good ideas can be lost because they don’t speak up for themselves. Extroverts can use their power to create space for them. Let them know their voice is welcome in any situation or conversation, and make sure you pay attention to them when they speak in group settings.
5. Respect your friends’ boundaries.
Every good friendship needs boundaries. You might ask your friend what they’re OK talking about and if there are any places they don’t want to go because they’re too overwhelming. Then, you can express your boundaries to them too.
Boundaries go both ways — if you find that you’re not meshing with your introverted friend, you should ask yourself whether you’re hanging around just because you’ve been friends forever or because you genuinely enjoy their company. You can still appreciate them even if you have to break off the friendship.
6. Practice gratitude.
Introverts don’t often get to hear how impactful their presence is. Even if your friends are more often seen than heard, you can still be grateful for your friends’ presence. If they don’t speak often, let them know that you appreciate what they say.
7. Let your friends make plans.
One side of the friendship shouldn’t take control all the time, but you might want to allow your introverted friend to make plans within their comfort zone. When you plan activities, keep your introvert friends’ preferences in mind. Going to the mall when it’s busiest isn’t the best idea if your friend doesn’t like large crowds. You may find it easier for your friends to suggest plans until you know what they enjoy doing.
If you’re an extrovert with many friends who are introverts, you may wonder how to be the best friend possible to them, but these suggestions will help both you and your friends feel more comfortable. Listen to your introvert friends and remind them that you see and hear them — they’ll definitely appreciate your presence in their lives!