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Extrovert/introvert friendships from the extrovert’s perspective - do others sometimes feel as I do

HoggirlHoggirl 1730 replies197 threads Senior Member
I am an extrovert. I have a wonderful introvert friend whom I adore. She is a dear to me, would do anything for me, terrific listener, etc.

However, I am ALWAYS the one who reaches out to her. Asks her to do things with me, calls her, texts her, etc. If I go too long without contacting her she gets her feelings hurt. In the past, I have shared with her that I would love for her to reach out to me from time to time. Her response was, “I don’t want to bother you.” When I explain to her that that’s silly and that her contacting me would not bother me, I would welcome and appreciate her reaching out, etc. nothing ever changes. She doesn’t have very many close friends at all (maybe this is relevant? She is VERY attractive, and her introversion often makes others think she is stuck-up, aloof, etc), and I know she considers me to be one of her best friends. Most of the time I go along resigned to the fact that I have to be in charge of communication and making plans, but sometimes it just bugs me.

Are there any other extroverts out there who feel like they have to “carry” the responsibility of the friendship with their introvert friends?

Introverts - please don’t throw tomatoes at me! Just trying to understand.
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Replies to: Extrovert/introvert friendships from the extrovert’s perspective - do others sometimes feel as I do

  • 1214mom1214mom 4579 replies182 threads Senior Member
    I do have friends that seem very happy to hear from me or do things with me IF I REACH OUT. I don't know if they are truly introverts, but it bothers me sometimes too. I do believe in one case she feels like I work and she is retired, so I will call when I have time. Another is happy to get together, but really doesn't like to talk on the phone. Fortunately these are long term friendships so I just do whatever feels right to me. If they were new friends I would probably feel it was too much trouble.
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  • bajammbajamm 1660 replies19 threads Senior Member
    I am an introvert. I generally get enough socialization by going to church on Sunday morning. Sometimes it is hard to remember that others may enjoy seeing others more often than that.
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  • HoggirlHoggirl 1730 replies197 threads Senior Member
    So maybe I characterized/labeled that incorrectly? This particularly friend is an introvert. She loves one-on-one time, but if the group is, say, four women, she just doesn’t engage much - even when she knows the other three very well! Maybe introversion is the wrong label for that.

    I have, in the past, had to coach her on how to make small take at holiday parties her husband has to attend. It’s hard for me to understand as I can (and do!) talk to just about anybody.

    But, that is a different animal than not reaching out to your close friends and waiting on them to initiate.
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 38752 replies2126 threads Super Moderator
    Yes, two entirely different situations. Initiating outings is different than interacting socially with multiple people. I have difficulty with the latter and that's why I call myself an introvert. When I'm in a group of several women, I feel like it's hard to know when to "jump in" and say something. And if there are extroverts in the group, they tend to dominate the conversation. I don't think they even realize they're doing it. Perhaps if you're in a group setting with her, you can ask her specific questions so she knows when to say something.
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  • abasketabasket 19508 replies867 threads Senior Member
    I don't think you understand the concept of introvert if you feel like you are having to "carry" a friendship!

    Your friend may know how to carry on conversations with anyone at a party - but she may not want to. Or it may be socially stressful.

    I am an introvert. I do have the personality characteristic where it is very awkward to ask others to do things - be it a favor, go out or whatever - but I'm not sure if that is an introvert characteristic or just a personality trait.

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  • deb922deb922 5691 replies191 threads Senior Member
    I like that explanation @calmom. It does explain things.

    I wonder if there is some social anxiety. I think that anxiety is one of those things that young people have and older people (me for one) thinks as a quirk, lol!

    Like parties, I don’t mind once I’m actually at the party. But the whole idea of going is not something I find at all comfortable. Suggest getting together spur of the moment, I’m all for that. But invite me a week ahead of time, all week I think about what to wear, what to bring, am I going to talk too much? I kinda get in my head. But I go and have a good time.

    And oh boy, having people at my house. I equate it to reinventing the wheel, so hard for my husband and I. . Another reason to decline a party, they might expect me to have them to my house.

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  • PrdMomto1PrdMomto1 153 replies5 threads Junior Member
    I completely agree with calmom. While not ALL introverts are the same, it is true that many will find it difficult to initiate making plans. While I know it may be annoying to you, and it's probably worth explaining to your friend that you'd LOVE for her to reach out occasionally and that she is NOT bothering you, it might just be a part of your friend's personality you will have to accept.

    Being more comfortable in small groups is very typical of many introverts. She might be fine in larger groups as well but will not be the most outgoing in those situations. Making small talk if often also a struggle for introverts. Remember, social interaction can at times be exhausting for an introvert, so "wasting" energy on small talk might not be something your friend wants to do. Sometimes introverts sort of save their energy for more meaningful conversations.
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  • HoggirlHoggirl 1730 replies197 threads Senior Member
    edited October 13
    @calmom and @PrdMomto1

    Those explanations are definitely helpful. It’s sometimes more than annoying, however. It’s sometimes hurtful to always have to be the one initiating.

    Maybe I’m just in a mood today - lol

    I guess just like you are trying to explain it from your side, I am trying to explain it from my side.
    edited October 13
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 38752 replies2126 threads Super Moderator
    Like I said, if I didn't initiate getting together with people, I would never go out! I used to find myself resentful, but then I decided not to waste the energy feeling that way.

    My husband will sometimes say, "You're always going out! I'd like to do that sometime!" and I tell him he has to arrange his own playdates.

    I've attributed it to living in New England, ha!
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  • PrdMomto1PrdMomto1 153 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Actually, I'm not an introvert. But I have a kid who is and we talk about this a lot.

    I can see your point though. And while an introvert might have difficulty initiating, it's doesn't mean she's incapable. And knowing it's something that frustrates you and hurts you, she COULD try. Being introverted doesn't mean she shouldn't consider her friend's feelings!
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  • thumper1thumper1 75184 replies3300 threads Senior Member
    I don’t think it’s an introvert vs extrovert thing at all. Some people are just more comfortable initiating calls and plans than others.

    I will say, I had one “friend” who I just don’t see anymore. She never...and I mean never...contacted me, but was fine with going out for an outing or coming here. I decided to wait to see if she would ever call. The phone lines go in two directions. She never did. I did reach out to her again about a year ago...it had been two years since I had seen her. I haven’t heard from her since.

    I think most folks would call me an extrovert...but I don’t want to be the only part of a friendship making all the plans.
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  • HoggirlHoggirl 1730 replies197 threads Senior Member
    @thumper1 - had to lol on the phone lines going both ways. My mil never calls/initiates contact. She and my (now deceased fil) would complain that they rarely saw or heard from my niece (their granddaughter). It hurt their feelings, but they didn’t reach out to her either.

    @PrdMomto1 - yes, thank you.

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  • TS0104TS0104 917 replies26 threads Member
    There is a brief discussion about this ("reacher-outers" vs non reacher outers) in the most recent episode of Happier in Hollywood podcast.

    If she's a close friend, I think sharing your feelings with her about not wanting to carry the burden of always making the plans is appropriate. If she's not close enough for that kind of convo, I agree that a regularly scheduled plan could help.
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  • downtoearthdowntoearth 3410 replies19 threads Senior Member
    I am an introvert and as I age it is worse.. I have always liked a smaller circle. I care deeply about people but don't need to see them all the time. It is not a requirement or need for me to socialize. I realize that others feel this way. I don't feel understood or actually valued . so am anxious to make plans. Not sure if this is due to my introversion or cultural because extroverts are more valued. Anyway, I do make plans, but not as often because of my work I am so dang tired. I think I will make more of an effort. when I am retired. I value people highly. they are just exhausting. Its hard for me to be superficial which is often required during social events.
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  • yucca10yucca10 1281 replies38 threads Senior Member
    Introvert here, kind of similar to your friend. I would have an honest talk with her. Explain that you might also feel you're bothering her too much (even if you don't actually feel so) and that she needs to start initiating things if she ever wants to have more friends. It's a touchy subject but if you already coached her on small talk she might be open to other suggestions. Just be gentle and don't push her or act like you're offended. My guess is she feels so comfortable with your relationship she allowed herself to relax and not worry about when to call and what to suggest - you might not realize this is really hard work for her. However, she does need to put some work into the relationship, otherwise it's not fair. You might also start by talking about the next meeting when you're together so you both participate in planning.

    I would love to have a friend like you, by the way. I let several budding friendships drop because I got tired of the "you invited me, next I have to invite you" dance.

    @MaineLonghorn hit it on the head with the group issue. For me it's all about timing. Introverts tend to ponder longer on their next phrase, and when I finally have something to say I often feel like conversation already moved past this topic - or I'm just a fraction of a second late and somebody else is already talking instead. Ask specifically for her opinions in group settings.

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