In this article, I will try to explain, based on my experience, why introverts are awesome personalities.
I am an extrovert. I admit it, I embrace it and I like it. Never does anyone stay a stranger in my presence very long. To me, people, noise, and rather constant activity is a way of life.
After graduating from college, I moved to a new city for my first job and saw it as an entirely new “playground” of new people and experiences. After moving into a new apartment, it became clear that I would need a roommate if I wanted to do more than just pay bills and eat.
Fortunately, there was someone at work looking for a roommate too, so we, of course, hooked up, and she moved in – money relief, and we could carpool to work on most days.
I knew that my new roomie was quiet at work, but then she was a techie, and her job was quiet. My position was in the creative department, and we were a louder bunch. She had found a great career without a degree, and she was amazing at what she did. I had a degree and debt. Our salaries were about the same.
Our lives as roommates began well. We liked the same foods; we shopped together and enjoyed each other’s company. She spent more time in her room than I did, but then she was a reader, and I wasn’t – TV and music were my thing. And we were happy to have things quiet by midnight on weeknights.
The first sign of trouble came when I wanted to have a party. It was late summer, still warm, and I thought we should have a big barbecue – after all, we had a great patio with lots of green space beyond it – perfect to set up volleyball – and the community pool was just beyond that.
We would invite our co-workers and make a whole afternoon and evening of it. She agreed, a bit tentatively I thought. We shopped and prepared for the big event. Guests arrived and things got busy and loud. What a great time!
Midway through, my roommate disappeared. I found her in her room with headphones on, listening to music. Wow. What was this all about? Was she sick? No, she was just on overload. That was my first lesson on living with an introvert – they can get overloaded with noise and people and need to get away to re-charge.
There were 9 more lessons I learned over our two years together, and here they are.
Introverts are not antisocial.
My roommate likes people, just in small doses. After living with her for two years, I have come to know her as someone who is interested in the thoughts and opinions of others and who really enjoys conversation and discussion.
Introverts need longer processing time.
Extroverts tend not to want to spend too much time making decisions. I became frustrated over this on several occasions. We needed items for the apartment – some new pots and pans, a new lamp in the living room.
It seemed to take her forever to make what should be a pretty simple decision. I wanted to get a cat. She wanted to think about it. While I thought she was rejecting my ideas, in fact, she was processing.
Introverts have great ideas if others will listen.
One time, I was trying to figure out how to de-clutter my bedroom. She didn’t say much while I continued to complain and grouse. A couple of hours later, she showed me a drawing of exactly how shelving could be designed in my room. It was perfect!
While I was complaining, she was finding a solution.
Introverts stay calm during a crisis.
We had a small grease fire in a pan one evening. My response was to scream and hop around. Her response was to quietly and calmly get the baking soda out and take care of it. I need an introvert in my life for these times!
Introverts are good analysts.
Girlfriend problems. Who doesn’t have them at our age? This roommate saw me through two failed relationships and provided some of the best advice I have ever received.
Introverts are listening even though they may not be responding.
I am a talker. Sometimes this can be dangerous because everything that is in my head has a tendency to come out of my mouth.
I really did not think my roommate listened to all of my talking because she did not respond much. I was wrong. One day I complained because I had lost my umbrella, just an off-hand remark to hear myself talk. The next day, there was a new umbrella on my bed.
Introverts can really focus
When extroverts get frustrated with the detail, introverts take over. Taxes are my downfall. I just took everything to someone smarter than me and paid whatever it cost. Not my roommate. For the two years we lived together, and even now, she still does my taxes.
Introverts are independent
I was always a people-person – still am. This sometimes makes us dependent upon others for our entertainment and, at times, our fulfillment. My roommate did not have such dependencies. She was just as happy shopping by herself, reading, or going for long walks.
She had mastered being alone with herself and being happy. This is a lesson from her I am still working on.
Introverts are determined
They will stick with something, no matter how much time and energy it may take. We received permission from our landlord to get rid of the ugly wallpaper in our apartment and paint. The problem was, that old ugly wallpaper didn’t just peel off.
It took wetting and scraping, and more wetting and scraping. I gave up many times and suggested we just hire someone to do it. Not her. She doggedly pursued that task until it was finished.
Today, we still live in the same town and work for the same company. But she is married and expecting her first baby. I can’t wait to be the in-town “uncle.” More importantly, however, I am thankful that she is my friend.
Her influence on me has been significant. When I need a steady person to advise me; when I need someone to reign me in; when I just need quiet time and slow even conversation, she is my “go-to” person.