They walk among us, quietly sitting in a corner minding their own business. They smile, a cordial smirk that aims to state “please ignore me” more than serve as an invitation to talk. If you approach them and start up a conversation they will carry it flawlessly and exceed your expectations. However, deep down inside, they are asking the gods for you to end the exchange quickly and move as far away from them as possible. They are knowledgeable, sweet, kind and engaging souls that can’t really find comfort in human interactions with strangers. And they don’t want you to invade their personal space either, that’s why they hate rows of two seats. Yikes!
All over the internet I have seen a few comic strips pop up to share the struggle of the highly functional introvert. Just check out Finnish Nightmares to understand how funny yet harrowing it is to walk among the extroverts. On the sueface introverts may look normal to the rest of the world and what gives them away is their mild social anxiety. Yes, they can hold a conversation with almost anyone except deep down inside they are dreading to tell you they’d appreciate your silence more than your chit chat. Every day they have to cope with the demands of unsuspecting extroverts that don’t even bother to fact check their opinions. How those people have made it this far in life without killing themselves or bringing harm to others phases them.
In the future, when you spot someone that looks uneasy in a social setting be kind, keep your distance and engage the individual with information they can relate to. Check their clothes, ask them about their favorite movie or book. Break the ice in creative ways. Follow the advice provided in this link and prepare yourself to be amazed. Once you get introverts going on about things they are passionate about they may become the center of attention. If they start to feel uncomfortable reassure them they are awesome. I know it works for me! 😀