Introverts make good friends! The biggest challenge introverts face is being labled negatively. Introvert is not the same as loner. Many of the challenges of introverts could be avoided if people understood a simple and basic difference between these two concepts.
Many people confuse the term introvert with loner. According to Random House Websters School and Office Dictionary, A loner is a person who prefers to be alone. An introvert is a shy person concerned primarily with inner thoughts and feelings. Many loners are introverts but many introverts are not Loners. Loners prefer to be alone but introverts prefer to think about their own thoughts and feelings rather than talk openly. This does not necessarily mean that introverts prefer to be alone but their thoughtful and reflective nature causes them by nature to be quieter. People sometimes interpret this behavior negatively as someone who is a loner or antisocial
Introspection, the analysis of ones own thoughts, is something introverts commonly do. It is important for introverts to understand themselves this also helps them to better understand others. This insight into their own emotions can be applied to understanding the emotions of others. Introverts often are very compassionate and concerned for other people. They do not always speak often because what they say is carefully thought about so as not to offend or upset someone else. Also because they spend less time talking and more time reflecting they also make great listeners.
I am an introvert. I have traveled to the Dominican Republic and worked with a team of students to teach and mentor underprivileged students that are not fluent in English. I still was able to reach out, play games with, and teach others in spite of my introverted nature. I loved the first trip so much I went back a second time! Being an introvert means I need quiet time to reflect and think. This time of reflection allows me to understand myself and others better.
Growing up was sometimes challenging because the world we live in praises extroverts. I was quiet and never raised my hand in class even if I knew an answer but I also rarely got in trouble for talking to much. I always had a small group of close friends and did quite well in school. I was never antisocial. My parents sometimes had to tell me to be quiet when friends came over. I was open and talkative with people I trusted but quiet in large groups.
Introverts prefer small groups to large gatherings and enjoy talking one on one because they feel like they are more likely to be listened to in small groups and are better able to listen to others without the distraction of a loud party. I still prefer smaller groups of close friends today and am not ashamed to say it. Its not good or bad it simply is a quality certain people possess and most people are really on a spectrum somewhere between introvert and extrovert. Introverts may overcome childhood fear of never speaking up but they will always be more quiet and reflective than those considered to be extroverts. They will prefer the company of small groups of close friends to large groups of new people. There is no shame in this fact, introverts should not feel guilty but accept and be proud of who they are. If you want a life long friend say hi to a quiet person. Chances are they wouldn't mind a chat one on one or in a small group. If your an extrovert You'll have no problem starting up a conversation. If your quiet yourself then don't worry chances are good the introvert will understand. If you open up to them the will probably return the favor. Give introverts a chance!