Everyone has that one introvert friend who is always absconding whenever you make plans with them. They use their introversion as an excuse to not attend the wedding of your sister, hang out with mutual friends or go shopping with you. They often disappoint when you ask them a favor. For example you want them to pick something from your mother’s house, or make an important call on your behalf. They are never there when you want them. Ironically they will be the one to approach you if they need you to make a call for them or pick up their grocery. Narcissist much?
I have an INTP (Introvert iNtuitive Thinking Perspective) friend whose sister recently got married. I was there to help her throughout the wedding. Making fall calls to the Flowerist, looking after the caterers, attending the guest, whole nine yards. She was extremely grateful. I did it because that’s what friends are for. A friend in need is a friend in deed.
Two months later I organized a Christmas party at my place, invited all the friends and family. My INTP friend was completely uninterested and apathetic. She did attend the party, but then quickly left. I couldn’t understand how she could not reciprocate the favor. This was not the first time. I thought to myself are INTPs really self centered and selfish. How can someone be so unemotional and apathetic? Is the excuse of being an introvert valid? Or are the introverts inherently selfish and narcissist?
Introverts like INTPs and INTJs are infamous for their apathy. They don’t see the human interactions like others. My other INTP friend from years back made an absurd comment when we went to zoo. He said “It’s great the animals are in the cage. I wish humans lived in the cage too, that way I won’t have to worry about having unanticipated awkward interactions with them.” It was said in a funny way, but it got me thinking. Do introverts hate human interactions so much? Is it that they don’t see humans as people with feelings and emotions? Do they only think (not feel) humans as biological organisms with flesh and blood? It is strange to be an introvert, especially an INTP.
So are the Introverts selfish or is it something else?
Yes it is true, introverts accept human interactions only at the time and place of their choosing. The unwanted small talks and interactions can drain them of their energy. But, the choice not to interact with other unless it is absolutely necessary doesn’t make them selfish or self-centered and definitely not a narcissist. From my experience introverts do avoid human interactions, but they will help you with all their might when interacting with others is not required.
I realized that though my introvert friends were not there for me when I needed them, they did help me in other ways. They didn’t make phone calls, interact with guests at parties, or help me bargain with the shopkeeper. However, when I wanted to know which is the best university to pursue my Masters degree, they spent hours searching all the useful information for me on the internet, when I had health issues, they looked up for the best remedies and took care of me throughout my illness, they knew where to get the best shopping deal online. They got me the best software for my work. Basically they helped me with everything that didn’t require them to interact with other people.
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Introverts or Extroverts, every individual has their set of strengths and weakness. It is crucial to appreciate the person for who they are. If you ask an extrovert to cut down all social interactions and sit in a room quietly, they will probably get frustrated with boredom. Similarly an introvert might curse you if you force them to have social interactions. Everyone is unique and it takes lots of patience and perseverance to understand that uniqueness.
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