The Internet comes in waves. There are trends. A topic becomes popular – one person writes a post or makes a video and it goes viral. As it spreads, more people respond, agree, disagree, create their own versions. The topics vary – cats, twerking, religion, cronuts.
One topic that I’ve seen fairly consistently in recent months is the subject of introverts. Various articles and cartoons have been shared on Facebook by multiple friends. The over-riding theme is: “How to Love an Introvert”. The title, of course changes. Maybe it’s “How to Interact with an Introvert” or “How to Live with an Introvert.” A quick Google search of “how to love an introvert” provides 6,910,000 results. The same search for “how to love an extrovert” provides only 2,200,000.
These articles drive me crazy. Why? Because the overarching idea behind them seems to be that introverts are special. They need to be handled delicately. They might be nice enough people but they suffer from this disease called “introversion” and so you can’t possibly interact with them in normal ways. They will freak out if strangers talk to them. They need to be in bed early. Frankly, it’s amazing any of them ever have jobs because their social skills are so astonishingly poor.
I am an introvert. I am married to an introvert. Want to talk to me at a party? Come up to me and say hi. Excited to see me again after a long separation? Go ahead and give me a hug.
Want to know how to love an introvert?
- Tell me things you appreciate about me.
- Offer criticism gently.
- Hang out with me or call me or e-mail me.
- Be patient with me when I’m driving you crazy.
It’s the exact same way you love an extrovert.
Being an introvert isn’t something that makes you special. It isn’t an excuse to be rude to people who are just trying to be friendly. It isn’t an excuse to lock yourself away or avoid others.
Recent studies suggest that as much as 50% of the general population may be introverts. At the least, it’s about 25%. That’s hardly a delicate and unique minority.
Instead of learning how to love introverts, let’s learn to love people. Just people. No qualifier. Let’s approach people on an individual level and love them for who they are.
Let’s learn to love people the way Jesus loved them. Unconditionally. Sympathetically. Over-the-top, uncontrollable love because He knew exactly who they were. Not because they were rich or powerful or suffered from that terrible disease of introversion.
Let’s start reading articles on “how to love a person”.