A while back I referred to a post on IntrovertZone that compared introverts to cats and extroverts to golden retrievers. This was in the context of meeting new people: introverts are like cats because they are less instantly familiar and trusting. Another cat-like attribute is that introverts tend to be more independent, more comfortable going around by themselves than in a “pack” (LOL). But it is also acknowledged that introverts’ long-term friendships tend to be very close and deep. How do these two observations square up?
I think it’s just because we are deep people who are constantly – and mostly unconsciously – processing immense input; compared to extroverts we perceive all sorts of extra subtle nuanced information from other people, and we care about these things. There’s a subtlety to our interactions because of this. We can’t just chat away to anyone, we need to feel there’s a connection there. And it’s only when that connection is well-established and can be relied upon unconsciously that we can spend less mental bandwidth on the connection itself and more on whatever it is we want to chat about. That takes time! The investment is huge and the rewards are great – there is nothing better than nattering away to a long-time friend about the deep and personal stuff that interests you both. This is why those friendships are so special to us.
Independence is maybe more of a learned thing because of how exhausting we find the cliques. I reckon it’s not that we don’t enjoy company just as much as others; it’s just that being with people we aren’t especially close to for long periods takes it out of us, and perhaps doesn’t give us as much back as it does for extroverts. (Living with a partner or going on holiday with a close friend, on the other hand, is lovely, and not exhausting.) So we get to like our own company. And we are never bored on our own because of how much stuff is going on in our minds to keep us entertained. 🙂
I think this is how I am, anyway. Maybe others are different.