Friendship doesn’t come easily to introverts. We long to experience deep and meaningful connections with others, but struggle to initiate and maintain those relationships over the long haul. When we’re not careful in our choice of friends, we open ourselves (and the others in our lives) to misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
As you approach new acquaintances, look for the following early warning signs that could be telling you the friendship isn’t a good fit.
1. Black and White Expectations
An easy way to recognize black and white expectations is to listen for indications of always and never thinking. If your friend expects you to always return phone calls or never cancel plans, this could end up being a real point of contention in your relationship.
The problem with black and white expectations is that they don’t leave any room for flexibility or compromise. These unreasonable demands are often accompanied by harsh judgment which can quickly crush an introvert’s sense of self-worth.
2. Overly- Clingy Personality
These are the friends that latch on immediately and won’t let go. They refuse to take no for an answer. Needy friends are very poor matches for introverts who value their independence and room to breathe.
It’s kindest to discourage these friendships from the very beginning. An overly-clingy friend will feel close to you in a short amount of time and be deeply hurt when you need to pull away.
3. Trust Issues
When an adult has difficulty trusting, there’s usually a reason that has nothing to do with current circumstances and everything to do with previous unhealthy relationships. Unfortunately, friends who struggle with trust issues often take what they perceive as introverted flakiness very personally. They see the necessity for periods of withdrawal as a rejection of their friendship and feel easily betrayed.
Some trust issues can be overcome by explaining more about your introverted temperament. Preparing friends in advance for possible absences helps them understand that even when you’re taking a few weeks off to recharge, you still care.
Of course, we’re talking about human relationships and sometimes there’s no explaining the mysteries of the heart. You might be drawn to a person who exhibits all three of these tendencies. If you value the friendship, you’ll likely be willing to put in the extra effort it takes to work through the rough patches you encounter along the way.