Finding Heart Sisters When You Are an Introvert
I watch her as she circulates the room and I can see she feels uneasy.
She shifts nervously from side to side and tucks a rebellious tuft of hair behind her ear. These kind of situations are hard for her and I know because well . . . sometimes, they’re hard for me, too.
I’m guessing she would rather be home wearing sweatpants and a messy ponytail with a few close friends, eating take-out Pad Thai and playing Ticket to Ride.
Instead, she’s mustered up the courage to attend Mom’s Night Out even though she would rather be a mom staying in.
She’s an introvert, and she’s horribly misunderstood in a predominantly extroverted world – because introverts can feel lonely, too.
As an ambivert (equal parts extrovert and introvert), I’ve learned so much about the stereotypes of introverts and extroverts because I’m raising a very introverted daughter.
One thing I’ve learned about raising an introverted daughter? There are huge misconceptions about introverts.
Misconceptions About Introverts
Being an introvert doesn’t mean you don’t like people or you don’t want to talk to anyone. It simply means your energy is derived from being alone. Activities like reading a book, writing in a journal, going for a long walk, or watching a movie are examples of activities introverts might choose as a way to re-fill a very empty cup.
On the other hand, extroverts might have lunch with friends, go to Bible study where they are surrounded by 45 people, and head to the mall where there are even more humans bustling about. Extroverts derive their energy from being around other people.
While it’s true introverts tend to be introspective, deep-thinkers who prefer smaller groups of people, it’s not true that they don’t enjoy people. However, new relationships can sometimes be more difficult for an introvert to navigate.
So how can an introverted woman find true, authentic friends (aka Heart Sisters)?
5 Ideas For Introverts For Finding True, Authentic Friends
- Have the courage to put yourself out there. Yes, I would oftentimes rather slip-on my sweat pants and eat ice cream out of the container, too. However, we can’t develop closer friendships if we aren’t willing to reach past our comfort zone now and then. God tells us to “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9) Spending time with other women will develop and strengthen friendships and before you know it, a Heart Sister is born.
- Silence the lies. “They probably won’t like me” or “No one will talk to me” or “I’m not cool enough” are lies the enemy feeds us to keep us in a state of inaction. God created us to live in community with one another so it makes sense that the enemy won’t like you reaching past your comfort zone to develop deeper relationships. Unfortunately, we so often listen to the his loud, obnoxious voice rather than the soft, gentle voice of God. Choose to listen to that soft, gentle voice.
- Remember it takes time to develop relationships. You can’t just put yourself out there once and not try again if the results weren’t what you had planned. Many factors play a part in developing friendships. Were you with a welcoming crowd? Did you have much in common with the group? Were they positive people? If so, keep at it. It takes time but it’s so worth the fruit that will eventually be produced.
- Don’t let people label who you are. “She’s shy, isn’t she?” I’ve had people say about my daughter – right in front her. I know this seems harmless but here’s the thing: I don’t want her to label herself. When we allow someone other than God to name who we are, we put limits on ourselves that hinder rather than help us. If you get to know my daughter, she’s anything but shy. However, I would hate for her light to dim just because she’s been told so many times she’s shy and should stay quiet and meek.
- Don’t feel guilty about retreating from the world when you need to re-charge. When you are seeking new friendships and being courageous enough to put yourself out there, it can be emotionally exhausting for an introvert. It’s OK, in fact, it’s crucial, that you refill your cup.
God made you to be who you are and He doesn’t make mistakes, sweet sister. Don’t ever try to change your introverted-ness (made up word) because it’s a gift – not a curse. It’s the introverts of the world who slow us down (in a good way), make us think about important decisions, and demonstrate a wisdom that can only come from listening – and not just hearing.
by Natalie Snapp
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