14 Ways To Handle A Christian Introvert

December 13, 2012 — 137 Comments

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If you ever met me, you would think I was an extrovert — I preach, I lead praise, I talk to everyone, I talk too much, and you can hear me laughing from across the street — but I am a full-blooded introvert.

If it were up to me, I’d rather be in my boxers all day eating Godiva while browsing food photo blogs and bothering my dog and cracking up at YouTube videos of Whose Line Is It Anyway and leaving dry ironic comments all over Facebook while reading the latest theory on how Sherlock survived the second season finale. 

I intensely guard my personal space and my private life.  It takes a herculean effort to step outside my comfort zone and interact with messy, fleshy, real live human beings.

Here’s how you handle us.


1) In a small group or Bible study or cell meeting, do NOT make us talk.

Introverts are much more methodical and tend to process things.  In a group discussion, our silence doesn’t mean we’re not listening.  We’re just trying to fit the pieces together in our own head.  We aim to be thoughtful and deliberate.  Please be sensitive to our secret mind palace.  We’ll talk when we dang well feel like it.


2) We just don’t sing like the front row.

It’s great that extroverts can freely express themselves during worship time.  But introverts sometimes just read the lyrics, connect inwardly, and keep their hands inside the vehicle.  If you see us raising even one hand and singing a few words, we are seriously pushing the gas pedal all the way to the floor.


3) Do not ever rebuke us in public.

Or you and I are done.  Forever. You should never do this anyway.


4) Extroverts: be patient in conversation and don’t treat my every word like your personal victory.

Extroverts, it’s okay if you monopolize the conversation.  We do like to listen.  But please don’t treat us like your personal project with a precious pearl inside.  And don’t try to squeeze out my life story as if you’re trying to save us.  Earn trust by being a friend first.  Unlike extroverts, we’re not good at being best friends on the first day.


5) Fellow introverts: find us quickly.

See me standing awkwardly on the side of the sanctuary watching everyone else have fun?  Hurry up and find me so we can make amusing sarcastic comments about life and possibly grow a lifelong spiritual bond that these extroverts can’t understand.


6) We can do anything an extrovert can do.

I’ve seen an entire spectrum of personalities take the “front stage” of church.  Not every introvert is meant for “behind the scenes.”  Just coach us with extra grace.


7) We get super-tired around a lot of people.

My limit is about four hours, and then I actually get a headache from just hanging around human beings.  My Sabbath rest is leave-me-alone-time with my non-judgmental dog.  Give us that time without trying to counsel us about it.


8) Don’t be offended if we don’t reply right away.

Sometimes when we see a Facebook invite to that next big church event, we just let it sit there and think about it periodically throughout the week and then come back to it before committing.  We do the same thing with text messages, emails, phone calls, and you showing up at the door.


9) Don’t be offended if you see me being extra talkative or friendly with someone else.

Sometimes introverts just interact with people in different ways.  It doesn’t mean we don’t like you: it just means we choose to reveal that specific part of us to another pastor, another church buddy, or that cool introvert I just met five minutes ago.  You should be cheering us for even opening up at all.


10) Please do NOT bring a lot of attention to us.

Not in the church bulletin, not the church site, not for my birthdays, not for that nice thing I did for the homeless — just please, no spotlight.


11) Sometimes we’re just moody.  It’s not depression or a “spiritual attack” or “unconfessed sin.”

One word: space.  Lots of it. 


12) We don’t always know what to say, but we still care about you.

We use less words and we don’t always use them well, but if we chose to spend this time with you, that means we care.


13) When life gets hard, you don’t have to say anything.  Just be there.

Sometimes we just get totally flustered and want to give up: but that’s not the time for lectures or theology or super-awesome advice.  Bring a movie or something; bake a cake; bring cookies.  Be there for the meltdown and we’ll eventually ask for the wisdom.  We very much treasure your scalpel-like gentleness with us.


14) When we get hyper, we are weird and corny and loud and awkward — so be ready for that and embrace it.

On the third day of a church retreat or when it’s five in the morning at a lock-in, the inner-beast might be unleashed.  But it’s not very cool and calculated and witty like an extrovert.  It’s all kinds of nerdy and neurotic with a shaky voice and twitchy flailing, as if we’re learning to use our bodies for the first time: and in a sense, we are.

When that happens, please don’t humiliate us.  Roll with it, laugh with us, and endure our horrible dance moves and bad impressions. 

If you do, we are loyal to you for life.



Originally posted here on my Tumblr.


– J.S.




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137 responses to 14 Ways To Handle A Christian Introvert

  1. 

    Good stuff. I have a few of those in my group, so I’m always curious to figure out if I’m talking too much and stuff. These are solid tips.

  2. 

    Thank you. I tried not to cry reading this because people REALLY don’t get us introverts. It ain’t easy, true enough, but like, seriously… 1-14. #thatisall

  3. 

    Reblogged this on theflufffreejournal and commented:
    Probably my favorite reblog ever….

  4. 

    Reblogged this on Sophia's Voice and commented:
    What I would have written if I’d thought of it first…

  5. 

    Haha this is so true! I especially liked this one:

    11) Sometimes we’re just moody. It’s not depression or a “spiritual attack” or “unconfessed sin.”

    One word: space. Lots of it.

    Amen and amen from a fellow introvert :)

  6. 

    I love this. It all rings true for me, with the exception that I do raise my hands in church. But I don’t sing out loud. lol. I love 7, 8, 10, and 11!! Actually, I love them all! I need to make everyone I know read this so they will understand me better.

  7. 

    Thanks for the honest replies!
    This also got a pretty big response on my Tumblr:

    http://jspark3000.tumblr.com/post/37804515166/14-ways-to-handle-a-christian-introvert

    I recognize that not every single point will fit all people, and extroverts feel some of these too.
    Also: Not everyone stays an introvert or extrovert over a lifetime. I believe the greatest transformation I’ve seen is George Foreman, who went from a cold steely competitor of few words to the happiest grill salesman in the world. He has a great testimony as well.

  8. 

    Love this post! It took me the longest time (decades, really) to realize that being an introvert is not a short-coming or a deficit. Now I embrace my rich interior life and how I’m wired! Blessings to all the introverts out there!!

  9. 

    Love this so much. Thank you for sharing it with the WordPress world!

    ~Kim

  10. 

    Reblogged this on Dear Someone, and commented:
    Me: In a fallen nutshell in a dark, shaded corner of the backyard, under a pile of leaves.

    This is everything I have learned about myself, fought hard against, tried to stifle, cried over, got angry about, questioned God, didn’t want to accept… But now I do accept it. I may not always like it, but it is me.

    • 

      Some of us chatty people really love and appreciate you!! I married a quiet lass and when she speaks, I listen because I know that what she says is distilled and worth savoring and pondering. My Grandfather said very few words, but when he did speak, wisdom poured out and I listened with all my being. I want to be more like them and you.

  11. 

    You nailed me to a T, JS…. well done!

  12. 

    Reblogged this on Musings of a Perpetual Dreamer and commented:
    Oh my goodness! I love this person for writing this! This post describes me to a T!

  13. 

    Oh…my….God….yes…to….it…all. YES! *awkwardly flailing arms*

  14. 

    I’m all for trying to understand people better, esp introverts. But most of these statements just talk about everyone else catering to the introvert and it doesn’t sound like the introvert shows any grace themselves. Someone can just write an article about an extrovert and everything that people should do to make the extrovert feel comfortable and cater to them.

    • 

      D,

      In some ways I totally agree. I was an extreme introvert because I was most concerned about me and didn’t want to put myself out there. While some people are naturally quiet and thoughtful people, some “shy” people are just all about being concerned about making themselves comfortable and not considering that they could help make others comfortable. Again I know this because I was this. Now I’m just ankwardly extroverted . . . yet not a real extrovert. I just realize that though I am uncomfortable at least I’m speaking and at least I’m trying to make the other person comfortable, even if it’s by allowing them to laugh at my stupid faux pas ;-)

    • 
      Brittany Renee Parks June 25, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      You’re right but God calls us all to basically test ourselves I am am introvert but I always push myself even if I’m uncomfortable with it because I know God had so much more for me. Its not about making ourselves comfortable but growing and allowing God to mold us which sometimes requires people to make themselves uncomfortable.

    • 

      In an extrovert world, it’s okay to have one article about us.

      • 

        you might be surprised who around you considers his or herself an introvert. from what i’ve seen, it’s not an extrovert world. it’s just the extroverts who want the attention

    • 

      Exactly what I was thinking. Being moody isn’t a characteristic of a certain personality type, but rather a lack of grace and respect for the people around you. It seems everyone wants a label and to be treated a certain way anymore. Life sometimes requires compromise, and that’s hard for folks on both sides.

    • 

      I was sort of thinking the same thing. I think I am neither an introvert NOR an extrovert so this article seemed full of inconsistencies to me. I felt like it was saying, “Hey! I need to be handled and here’s how to do it: Read my mind.”

    • 

      Yes because all the “one another’s” in the Bible of how we are to relate to each other within the body of Christ are universal instructions to all personality types. You don’t get an exemption because it’s not your natural bent! Like it or not, a disposition of not reaching out to others or allowing others to know youis UNloving and SELF focused.

      It just seems like there is so much rudeness and selfishness that’s defended in the name of “Being an introvert,” which is really dangerous since its not a biblical category.

  15. 

    This was published on ChurchLeaders.com here!

  16. 

    Reblogged this on Christopher C. Randolph and commented:
    God loves introverts too. Here’s some excellent advice and a bit of insight into the inner workings of an introvert.

    God. Bless,

    Christopher

  17. 

    Christopher, I feel like I just read my bio! I’ve been in leadership positions most of my life and at the end of the day, I’m WHOOPED! I’m glad that I’m not the only one who doesn’t belt it out in church too, I’ve been humming for years! Thanks for posting, that was a real treat! Have a good one friend.

  18. 

    I really like this post, but there is a misconception about talkativeness and introversion/extroversion, which really has nothing to do with that. It’s determined by how one is energized – by being alone or around people. There is also a difference with introverted thinkers and introverted feelers – the latter are much more relational (especially NFs) and are often the first to open up in small groups or one on one. Lastly, you have to consider the male/female difference. Women, even introverted ones, and especially feeling types (which is 60% of us), are more relational. So I get tired of the introverted thinking males putting everything about their personalities under the umbrella of introversion. There’s more to it than that.

    • 

      I really appreciate what you said here. I am a talkative introvert. I love being the center of attention as long as I can go home and relax with no one but my family around. It is all about where your energy comes from and not about how talkative you are.

    • 

      I have a public persona She has a quick wit and talks to anyone. The public person has no problem taking charge. She hides the person who just wants to curl up with a book or the computer and be left alone.
      I cannot stand to be asked questions about personal things. My family and I have a lot of conflict because, they can’t realize they are being nosy. It is none of your business how much money I make. I’ll tell you the great deal I just got on the new car. Just don’t ask how much my payments are.
      My therapist is always amazed at how easily I talk and laugh with people in the waiting room because, I am diagnosed with major depression. My depression is related to chronic pain. But, that is my business. No one wants to hear about it anyway.

  19. 

    Amazing…I’ve never heard someone nail it so perfectly. I always just thought I was some freak of nature that could pull off being an ‘up front’ leader…teaching, preaching, leading worship…while at the same time still feeling like such an introvert!! Thanks for providing words so that I could just hit ‘share’ and say “Here…this is me. Now you know.”

    • 

      In fact, after commenting I read this much out loud to my kids…

      “If you ever met me, you would think I was an extrovert — I preach, I lead praise, I talk to everyone, I talk too much, and you can hear me laughing from across the street — but I am a full-blooded introvert.

      If it were up to me, I’d rather be in my boxers all day eating Godiva while browsing food photo blogs and bothering my dog and cracking up at YouTube videos of Whose Line Is It Anyway and leaving dry ironic comments all over Facebook while reading the latest theory on how Sherlock survived the second season finale.”

      My daughter said “DUDE!!!, It’s you!!!”

      (And then my son said…”You wear boxers???… I *knew* it!! bwahahah!!”)

      Yeah, you definitely nailed it. :)

      • 

        Hilarious, encouraging, and awesome!
        Again, I do think churches tend to be a little biased for extroverts and against introverts, so I wrote with that in mind. I’ve met so many introverts who were untapped goldmines of talent waiting for an opportunity to shine. Seems like you’re one of them!

  20. 

    Finally, someone understands me! Thank you so much for writing this. God bless you! It’s not wrong to be an introvert; we just approach things differently!

  21. 

    Thank you so much for this post. I can truly relate. I serve “out front” as an associate minister in my church. My church is very expressive where you’re more likely to get a hug than an handshake. I’m naturally more comfortable with the handshake, but I’ve learned to become comfortable with the hug. Honestly there are times after service that I feel like James T. Kirk & want to call on Scottie to “beam up me” rather than wading through the congregation to exit through the rear of the church. I can take solace in that I believe Jesus was an introvert. He served publicly, but you also him retreating from the crowds to spend time alone with the Father or his disciples.

    • 

      Thanks for sharing! I realize I’ve written a pretty extreme case of the introvert (or perhaps the normative case), and there are so many different kinds as there are people. I label myself an “extroverted introvert,” because while I can be loud and outgoing, I really lean towards time by myself.

      On your point about Jesus: the interesting thing here is that most of us put Jesus into our “own image,” which Scot McKnight showed in his timeless article here. I tend to think Jesus incorporated a distinct personality like any of us: some shyness here, some loudness there, not exactly easy to pinpoint, but relatable with anyone. I bet he’d get along with the ADHD 17 year old as much as the quiet 40 year old single mother. I wouldn’t expect much less of Christ.

      • 

        I personally believe that introverts take longer to build trust in others, but once they do all the reflection on the inside begins to find a way to be expressed without feeling threatened…but always need more time being in quiet surrounds than an extrovert .

  22. 

    Recently read “Introverts in the Church” by Adam McHugh and it delves even deeper into this issue. Also puts it into perspective with extroverts. The only things I”d add is “Realize it takes us longer to process things emotionally, than it does others. So the ‘other word’ would be TIME.”

  23. 

    I could never put my introvert-ness in to words, and now you’ve done it for me :P lol

  24. 

    This was so great! There has been so many times of people trying to make me “come out of my shell”. But there is no shell. That is me, just an introvert! Wonderful post!! Thank you:)

  25. 

    Reblogged this on A man, a woman, and two cats and commented:
    This guy just became my hero.

  26. 

    Very well expressed will share with others.

  27. 

    So many of these resounded with me! I appreciate the comments that have been made that made the distinctions between talkativenes/introverts/extroverts, etc. I’ve had several leadership positions,including all of my career positions, that have required me to speak in front of others. And my heart and ministry in our church for years has been to create and foster community. But I still am energized and restored when I’m alone (or with just my husband) at home.

    One book that I’ve found to be so helpful, and really healing for me, is called Introverts In The Church by Adam McHugh, I believe.
    So many aspects of our churches are catered toward extroverts, which leads to introverts feeling like they don’t belong, getting quickly burnt out, etc. Great read!

  28. 

    Oh my goodness… you just told my life’s story… my spiritual father once told me – “dude you a closed book”

  29. 

    Just found your blog. I can relate to this topic on so many levels. Thanks and may God bless!

  30. 

    Hi,
    Thanks for following Under the Cover of Prayer. I am an introvert too – a mad writer who loves to paint, write and read. But I am okay in groups for short periods of time; great with one on one; and i do praise and worship with my hands and feet (must be the Holy Spirit – eh?); but I love my quiet time (even without music – just quiet).
    Thanks for a great post,
    Blessings,
    Janis http://www.janiscox.com

    • 

      Thank you for sharing! It’s awesome you’re so creative. While I know extroverts who do the same, I think introverts find it easier to express themselves in written/drawn mediums — the process goes at our own pace. Also I would say I love doing Quiet Time when I’m amidst people at Starbucks; for some reason the noise of people conditions me to remember that my faith is never apart from the people around me.

  31. 

    Hey, an autobiography/mirror! Thank you :-)

  32. 

    I just discovered this post you wrote. Recently my husband and daughter both told me I am an introvert. I must admit I was somewhat insulted! LOL! Not much insults me anymore however I was somewhat intrigued by their perception of me. I have never thought of myself that way. My daughter who has minored in Psychology took the Myers Briggs personality test and recommended I do it. Shocked I found out I am 89% introvert. However even more surprising is I am in the 1% of a category that is very rare; thus I am an INFJ according to MB test. I do so appreciate this post here and did recognize myself in most of it. Actually I feel a lot better having read it.

    • 

      Some of those personality tests are not very reliable since they force a binary choice, only one or the other. The Myers Brigg test is constantly called unscientific, but tons of HR departments use it (google Nothing Personal, the article by Guardian.co.uk which exposes the MT fallacy; great article). I scored nearly down the middle, hah. Plus, labels can make you crazy. I suppose the tests are fun.

      Glad we could find some common threads. I’ve definitely become more introverted over time. I enjoy my bat cave and a good book much more these days.

  33. 

    All of this is gold. I should put#s 3, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13 and 14 in the “about me” section on fb:

  34. 

    Reblogged this on Forgiveness Factor and commented:
    #s 3, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13 and 14

    Thank you!!!

  35. 

    Reblogged this on One Christian Dad and commented:
    Anyone who knows me should read this. I am sure this was written about me. It fits me to a tee. Read this you may understand me a little better. Ah we introverts truly are a strange lot. :)

    • 

      I appreciate this side of things! I was trying to write something similar, but couldn’t quite get there.
      I’m still surprised by the reaction on my post, even to non-Christians (especially on Tumblr where it sort of went viral). And again, I know there are so many different types of introverts and extroverts — these are really just shorthand labels. We can only hope to make it less intimidating for introverts to mingle in environments like the church.

  36. 

    Reblogged this on Who Is Maria? and commented:
    It made me think of who I really am, of what God has been doing in the background in my life. :)

  37. 

    Thank youk

  38. 

    Reblogged this on Vallaura's Blog and commented:
    …if you do, we are loyal to you for life.

  39. 

    Great post. I certainly fit in most of the introvert descriptions above and never liked that about myself thinking I was just odd and a dud. I wanted to be like the fun and adventurous people I saw and especially didn’t like my struggles in social situations. When my kids were growing up, my middle child was my introvert. I often tried to bring her out of her “box” because I didn’t want her to grow up a wallflower like me or feeling odd. Of course, trying to bring her out more only made her hide more. A couple of years ago, I realized through articles like this that she was behaving the way she was created to be and I was also behaving that way too. It gave me freedom to be myself without having to fit into “the mold”. Now I understand so much more about the time and space factor of introverts, including why time alone and time to think is so important to me. I like myself more finally, thank God, and feel more comfortable with who I am; but surely wish I had read something like this when my daughter was younger to help me understand both of us better. Thanks for the reminder. I think we need this reminder at least once a year! :)

    • 

      Thank you for sharing about you and your daughter. I think it’s still okay to attempt getting someone out of the “box.” It just takes a different approach. I do believe introverts have their “extroverted” moments when they are first comfortable with themselves, and it can take a while to get there.

      Plus most of us do not really fit totally in one category, we just lean one way or the way. I had always believed I was an extrovert because I get energy from big crowds, but I would get extremely exhausted after a few hours every single time; I soon realized I was an introvert with some extroverted qualities. There’s probably no binary black-and-white category, but it’s definitely helpful to know so we can flourish accordingly.

  40. 

    Wow! Glad you mentioned “Sherlock” – and “mind palace”! =D
    And it’s interesting that Mr. Holmes gets mentioned here since he fits several of the characteristics in this list (though it’s be quite a stretch imagining him in a Bible study group …).

  41. 

    Introverts Unite! I loved this post! It is all me! I can be talkative when around the right people and quiet around others. I can do well with groups if it’s small and I already know most everyone, but if not I’m quiet and just listen maybe adding a few words here and there. I feel like I’m generally misunderstood by most people because of my introverted personality. I don’t voice my thoughts very often. Weird thing is I seem to get along with people who are not introverts. Most other introverts I know seem to be overly sensitive around me. I don’t know if they mistake my quietness as a rejection and then act awkward around me or avoid me all together. I don’t get that. I’m still learning to embrace my introverted-self. I do love my alone time! And I need lots of it!! It takes a lot for me to get out into new situations and environments! Thank you for this post! P.S. I too enjoy sarcasm. I’m also a fan of irony! :-)

    • 

      Thanks my friend! I think that’s the tough part: being misunderstood by so many as antisocial and lethargic. Even introverts misunderstand other introverts (hah).

  42. 

    Number 3 really resonated with me. I’m not sure it even goes far enough. Perhaps it should also say “and if you rebuke us at all make sure you are wearing kid gloves!” Sue

  43. 

    This is a very insightful post. It made me think of myself and of people I know. Is one a true introvert or a mixture of both introvert and extrovert in the same soul? Good posts I have read thus far!

    • 

      I definitely believe we are all mixtures across the spectrum. It can be really unfair to just pinpoint someone in a binary label with “You’re either this or that.” However, I do think some descriptions and labels can be helpful, and many of us lean towards one or another. I tend to call myself an extroverted introvert …!

  44. 

    I spent a good chunk of my life thinking my Christianity was sub par mainly because so many in Christian leadership equate speaking out, shouting out, singing out, standing out with being the spiritual norm. I finally have accepted the fact that people are different and God doesn’t love us based on how many people we tell “isn’t Jesus wonderful” in any given day.
    All the evangelism seminars in the world will not change the way God made a person. No matter how comfortable I feel with a group of people, no matter how much I trust you, I will still get most of my energy in alone times.
    Introverts can learn many skills to help them cope with a pro-extrovert world but it’s very important that we never think less of ourselves because of our personality. Change what God is calling you to change in your life not necessarily what the extroverted leaders are exhorting you to change. God may want you to work on forgiveness today instead of working on evangelism skills.

    • 

      Agreed. I would never want to use introvertedness as an excuse to stay stagnant, but you’re right on about the pro-extroverted world. May we have wisdom to discern these things.

  45. 
    Brittany Renee Parks June 25, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    I’m an introvert but only a few of these apply to me because I’ve allowed and desired for God to change me and he did now I go all out in worship and I no longer despise the spotlight (still don’t Care for it but I don’t utterly hate it). I mostly think and listen in discussions still but recently I pushed myself and learned that God has given me some leadership skills and and loved every minute of it. I don’t always know what to say but I am always there for people who need me. I also don’t like to be alone very often but that’s probably because I’m almost always alone.

    • 

      It’s great that God is changing your heart to be more yourself. I do believe some introverted traits can even be harmful when they’re pushed too far (and the same with some extroverted traits), so you’re very wise to know where to draw those lines. As for being alone: it is totally a good idea to seek company. Part of meeting good friends is being one. It’s okay to find them!

  46. 

    this so true and amazing.

  47. 

    Reblogged this on Cambodia Bound and commented:
    Pretty much my life. Read it, understand me, be gracious. (:

  48. 

    Yes! Yes that’s it exactly!

    5) Fellow introverts: find us quickly.

    See me standing awkwardly on the side of the sanctuary watching everyone else have fun? Hurry up and find me so we can make amusing sarcastic comments about life and possibly grow a lifelong spiritual bond that these extroverts can’t understand.

  49. 

    I can’t even describe how I relate to this post. Thank you for writing it!

  50. 

    Reblogged this on adeliaboni's Blog and commented:
    One of my most favourite articles ever.

  51. 

    I see nothing wrong with being an introvert. We are all different. Extroverts and introverts have similar and different challenges. This article struck me as a bit self-centered. I heard loud and clear “Don’t change me! There’s nothing wrong with me!” And “if I do something in our relationship that seems incongruent, don’t ask me about it. Just realize I’m an introvert, chalk it up to that. No challenge please.” There’s no excuse for being moody, talking to some people more and telling others you don’t talk b/c you’re an introvert, or not sharing parts of yourself. I don’t think being an introvert is the common theme to those issues. I think it also has to do with integrity and vulnerability. What if extroverts said not to challenge them to be better listeners, more dependable, calmer at appropriate times, etc? That doesn’t fly. Just my thoughts. I think these are relational issues. We are all continually growing up. Accepting ourselves as we are, introverts or extroverts, is part of it and also considering what others need in relationship with us is important.

  52. 

    Bless your eloquence! I have felt like an alien my entire life, like I was on the edge of the human race and just could not communicate with anyone else (except for my second husband; he was my personal miracle). I have had employers try to “reprogram” me because I did not conform to the corporate groupthink (Target comes to mind; they threatened to fire me if I did not make nice with an obnoxious, loud coworker who said I was unfriendly. So I quit.) I gave up on organized religion years ago, but I might make an exception to attend your church. Thank you for voicing my quiet desperation with wit and humor.

  53. 

    This post fits me to a T! I attend different events and join different groups to try to get to know people, but when they see that I don’t talk much they give me extra space, but I actually want them to challenge me to open up more. I get along with outgoing people that’ll take the time to get to know me, better than people that give me space.

  54. 

    I was at a party with people from my Bible study, and a Pandora pop station was playing in the background. I was talking to just a few familiar people at once (introvert-style, aww yeah) and a song I love came on. It was a song that I enjoyed enough to take the risk of actually *bopping to the beat* a little bit (gasp!) as I continued to talk and listen to my companions. One of them goes, “UH OH! Emily’s DANCING!” and of course, I had to stop. After that unnecessary attention, instead of feeling cheerful and animated, I wanted to crawl into a hole and die.

    • 

      Haaah, I totally relate. Once I saw a family of fellow church members walk into Barnes and Noble, and for some reason I panicked. Maybe it was because I was sitting in the middle of the cafe instead of near a corner, so I didn’t want to draw attention. I quickly packed my stuff and left the bookstore. They never saw me. It was intense.

  55. 

    Great article! As pretty much the middle of the road between introverted and extrovertedness, I related to a lot of it from both sides. Despite hating it myself, I’ve definitely been guilty of trying to talk introverts in to be my friend. But, as someone also guilty of introvert blues, I wonder whether its OK to write off moodiness and snapping at people as a personality thing? I take the valid point that extroverts often get the upper hand in church life, but should we all be fighting sin (and the urge not to love people) wherever we find it? I feel the I/E divide is helpful to know yourself and your triggers – but it can definitely at some point evolve into an excuse system for sin. Just a thought.

    Cannot wait to find out how Sherlock survived!!!!

  56. 

    A friend of mine just shared this article with me, and I was just wondering some things. I feel like this article is really having a go at extroverts and not really considering their views much at all. Also, point 11 sounds more like an excuse to be angry :/

    • 

      You’re right, I wish I had a much more balanced expression. Yet no post can possibly contain all angles or cover every base. To write with constant disclaimers would dilute the intention of the writing. And a post that supports introverts does not automatically imply that I’m against extroverts nor endorsing anger against them. I absolutely love extroverts, and most of my friends are indeed extroverted. Several have responded in the comments section about extroverts, and I agree with their viewpoints as well.

  57. 

    J.S.- this is so on point. I’m married to an introvert and it can be maddening sometimes. I’m a full blown extrovert and I just can’t understand how “in his head” my hubby can be most of the time. I’ve learned through our friendship and subsequent courtship how to allow him to just be. Number 14 is the absolute best! I love to see him come out of his shell and it is a real sight! (I adore his dorkiness.) Thanks for sharing this and for letting brag on my babe.

  58. 

    We have a hard time getting along with my husband’s family because we are introverts. They think we don’t like them because we aren’t entertaining them with crazy stories about all the people we know. I’m very frustrated being an introvert. It feels like a curse.

  59. 

    Just had a meeting with some of our Life Group leaders discussing a new introvert in the ministry. He is faithful to LG and our large group meeting, but doesn’t connect socially to anyone. From the introverts perspective whats the balance between letting you sit on the sideline observing and trying to connect you into the group? As an introvert at what point do you feel connected to the group? (of course I am coming from an extrovert perspective and if i don’t make 3 meaning social connections the first time i visit a group i feel like an outsider)

    • 

      Thank you so much for asking this question.

      It’s really okay to keep trying persistently. This post ultimately isn’t meant to say “back off,” but rather the opposite: that introverts do want friendship and sociability, but are often misunderstood that they don’t want this. It simply takes longer for us to get there. There’s no special formula, really.

      To specifically answer your question: I feel connected to the group when I realize the atmosphere cultivates grace without judgment, honesty without ridicule, and patience without pressure. Again, these are all things that extroverts expect too! Even with extroverts, it doesn’t help to force or coerce “opening up.” It just takes an introvert a bit more time to process it and a bit longer to trust others. Extroverts in general will be quicker to form an opinion about this; introverts will keep the radar up more, hence their guard up more too. Please don’t get discouraged if an introvert takes a while; we really do want to open up eventually …!

  60. 
    rayontremblant July 9, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Reblogged this on A Catholic's Journey.

  61. 

    Very interesting article. As someone who’s been told she’s an introverted extrovert or an extroverted introvert I felt myself going oh yeah more than once. I’m a pastors wife who sometimes feels comfortable and sometimes just wants to get away! Small talk is such a trial for me at times, yet hate the silence that follows asking a question, where no one has any type of answer to share, when pushed into leading a bible study. Therefore I talk when I should be quiet. Oy vey! Know what it’s like to want to be included yet dreading it. Seems to get worse the older I get – yipee! Thanks for a really good read.

    • 

      I too am a pastor’s wife that is introverted! Sad thing is I have let people convince me my whole life that there is something wrong with me. So I have tried so hard to be someone I am not and am pretty miserable when doing so. God is working on helping me to understand he made me just the way I am for His purpose. I look forward to the freedom being me will bring, once I learn how to really be me!

      • 

        B I hear you! :-)

      • 

        I’m sorry that’s happened, B. I still believe that once we can embrace our awkward, nervous, stumbling selves, that’s when we become truly comfortable with ourselves, because we quit trying to pressure ourselves into being something we’re not.

    • 

      Thank you for sharing, J! I do notice that pastor’s wives are almost always the opposite personality of their pastors, which would make many of them introverted. But we seem to be in the same boat, what I now know is called a “social introvert.”
      By the way, I wrote something similar for Bible studies too:

      http://jsparkblog.com/2013/02/13/the-totally-awkward-bible-study-and-four-ways-to-push-forward/

  62. 

    Reblogged this on squeeze it into little inkdrops and commented:
    Being an introvert and a Christian myself, I had to reblog this. I particularly relate to 3, 6, 7, 8, 11, and most definitely 14. I’ll be the first to say I’m loud, corny, and awkward. What about you, beloveds? Any of these stand out to you?

  63. 

    Wow….are you me? lol I have reblogged this with a link on tanyalogan.com/blog
    Awesome article. I’m right there with you.

  64. 
    Proverbs 10:19 July 16, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise.”

  65. 

    I think some of these are great tips because not only am I an extrovert but I’m an awkward one! And I never know how to talk to my Christian introvert friends. However, please remember that when you are “moody” or open up with someone else, it actually hurts others. I have had my feelings hurt wondering what I had done wrong with my introverted friend when sometimes she was hugging me and sometimes she was scowling or she was connecting with someone else so easily. So please consider our extrovert feelings, too!

    • 

      Absolutely agree, I think both introverts and extroverts can get aggressively moody. Sometimes it’s just enough for me to know that someone is having a bad day, so I know where to apply patience.

  66. 
    Arabella Hille July 22, 2013 at 7:31 am

    Great article, I just joined a new church and i think all of them are extroverts. I am sure they thought I did not enjoy myself but i actually had a great time. It went for three hours and that was a bit much for me because my limit is about 2-3 hours before i get a buzzing in my head from all the sensory overload and need a break. I hope that my new church friends will understand im not shy or weird im just introverted.

    • 

      I am glad to see that you still have faith. I use to follow your posts before.
      Do not believe the lies of the world. Jesus Christ is our only hope. We should only look for his approval. Even if it means we are alone in this world. May the will of God happen in your life in Jesus Christ name. (and ask him for power to forgive everyone)

  67. 

    #3 once upon a time just about destroyed me. The shockwaves linger, even decades later. Odd, I know.

    This is a lovely list. Even those of us who can and do get up in front of others can be introverts – we need to recharge when we’re done and folks will think we’re sick or mad.

    Lovely list. And I very much enjoy your blog. :)

  68. 
    wandergeselle July 26, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Reblogged this on Captured Moments of A Journeyman and commented:
    Just because introverts like me, him and all the others are all basically the same – most of the time. Read on to find out how and why. :-D

  69. 
    wandergeselle July 26, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Introverts, we are, indeed. Thanks for this post! :-)

  70. 

    “If it were up to me, I’d rather be in my boxers all day eating Godiva while browsing food photo blogs and bothering my dog and cracking up at YouTube videos of Whose Line Is It Anyway and leaving dry ironic comments all over Facebook while reading the latest theory on how Sherlock survived the second season finale.”

    THAT IS MY LIFE.

    All this article is me!

  71. 

    I’m one of those. I don’t think anyone but my husband would ever label me an introvert, but it’s true. I may be able to chatter away in group discussion and lead worship, but honestly walking out the door is a challenge for me. I enjoy myself when I get somewhere, but before I leave I dread all the social interaction. I don’t like to waste my time on meaningless “hangouts” and the idea of seeing other people generally makes me nervous. And I get real cranky real quick if I’m out for more than a couple hours.

  72. 

    Oh man! i am hosing myself! This post is SO about me hahahahaha. Number 11 takes the cake! Brilliant!

  73. 

    For all the backlash against introverts I’ve been seeing lately, here you go:

    Also, this recently on Huffington. Introversion was once almost considered a psychological disorder by the DSM V. So a little slack, please.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/20/introverts-signs-am-i-introverted_n_3721431.html

    How’s about we all just get along?

  74. 

    Reblogged this on HappySmallChurch and commented:
    This is poignantly written and wonderful advice on how we can be more loving to those who may not as outspoken…..simply because not a lot is said doesn’t mean a lot isn’t going in between the ears!

  75. 

    This was great, poignant, helpful read! Thanks so much. I reblogged at happysmallchurch.wordpress.com.

  76. 

    Reblogged this on iconobaptist and commented:
    This is fabulous–in fact I am preparing a post on being a Christian extrovert. We will have to compare notes.

  77. 

    Thanks so much – I completely relate (and it helps to hear others feel the same way!). I shared it with my young adult group @ https://www.facebook.com/mbark.me

  78. 

    This is sooo true. As an introvert, I heartily approve.

  79. 

    This is so awesome…as a leader I see these traits in people, and sometimes without the wisdom of God you will start comparing Church workers or judge people blindly. Thanks for sharing J.S.
    – McDaniels Gyamfi
    http://www.graceology.org

  80. 

    Fellow introvert here. Although I don’t even do the shaking hands part, if I can get away with it. The very last row is where I’m always parking myself. And if I’m visiting a new church, I’m always on the lookout for any side exits, so I don’t have to shake hands with the church leadership folks at the main door. I lip-sync to the worship music (for others’ sake, really) and don’t even want to walk to the snack/drink/potluck table, no matter how many times I’m told to get myself over to there. I just do my quick nods and skiddadle myself outta there. Same with weddings and any other parties and get-togethers.

    So that’s why I like to blog. I say all the stuff I would’ve said, had I been an extrovert. GREAT post!

  81. 

    As much as I appreciate the new push to help Introverts feel comfortable in this world, i think there is a GIANT misrepresentation of who and what extroverts are. It’s my opinion that this world is NOT an extrovert friendly world. I am a Christian extrovert and I feel like I am one of only a handful of people at my church who IS extroverted (i go to church in a “artistic” part of town). I often feel isolated and misunderstood because introverts just assume things about me that are not accurate.

    Introverts say “don’t make me talk, I like to listen” and “don’t you EVER shut up!” out of the same mouth. Why is it MY responsibility as an extrovert to know the perfect balance of conversation? That’s not really fair. I think that a lot of the items on this list are applicable to extroverts as well…sometimes directly and sometimes conversely.

    Just because I am an extrovert doesn’t mean I want to be “on” all the time or that I don’t enjoy working behind the scenes. I’m not constantly talking and if I am it’s because I am an external processor and don’t know what I am thinking until I say it. Just like introverts NEED time to process, I do too…I just do mine out loud. I am SUPER moody too. I am quiet with some people and chatty with others. I am very smart and enjoy quiet time reading. I’m nerdy and awkward.

    People also make me tired sometimes…especially introverts. It can be laborious to form a relationship with an introvert. I married one and it can be quite exhausting to have an unplanned conversation or disagreement with him. I NEED other extroverts like you NEED other introverts…there is no club…no special exclusive meeting that we are not allowing you/pushing you to participate in…people just gravitate to people who make them feel good. I want everyone to feel good.

    Let’s just get to know one another and not make broad generalizations about each other’s temperaments. There are always exceptions to every “rule”.

  82. 

    I want to say that I hardly write things, posts, blogs, etc etc…

    But I just wanted to say that this is terrific…thankyou for making me feel normal. Love it!

  83. 

    I agree with the fella above, the idea of being “christian introverts” is becoming so ridiculously used.

    • 

      Hey there friend. A few things to consider.

      1) This post was written in December 2012, before it was “cool” or “relevant” to be introverted.
      2) Just because something is old or overused to you, doesn’t diminish the issue for others.
      3) Not everyone thinks like you (or me), so what’s ridiculous to you is exactly that: from your point of view.
      4) I’m well aware that much of this is a first-world problem, but that doesn’t make it go away nor less personal.
      5) I know that introversion can be used as an excuse to be moody or antisocial, but there are a ton of people who are afflicted with debilitating anxiety and social ineptitude. I would hope you’d be more gracious for our wide spectrum of personalities, especially when it comes to your children or loved ones.
      6) In the end, it’s never “cool” to be introverted, because in every circle, we’re generally treated as second-rate substandard people. We’ve been shamed long enough. All the recent backlash against introverts (and all the whining about “I’m an extrovert and that’s hard too”) only exposes what’s wrong with our hasty culture. Unless you remotely know what this is like, then I doubt you would be making a drive-by comment like yours. And I doubt you would do that if you sat down over coffee with any one of us. So goes the internet: easy to criticize and romanticize, but hard to truly build one-on-one understanding. Let’s be part of the solution, and not the problem.

  84. 

    As I am also an introvert…this is right on key.. You did a great job of explaining an introverts personality! :)

    • 

      Thank you my friend! I know there’s been a “backlash” against introverts lately but I do hope others find both the humor and sympathy in the post. :)

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