our everyday life

How to Get to Know Introverted People

by Elise Wile, studioD

"There’s a word for 'people who are in their heads too much': thinkers," notes Susan Cain, author of "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking." If you're interested in getting to know people who'd rather spend an hour discussing theory of mind than giggling about the latest celebrity fashion faux pas, it's worth taking the time to get to know introverts. Since an introvert may value time alone and is unlikely to be effusively holding court at parties, you might need to make an extra effort to enter her world.


Go to where the introverts are. Such people can be a bit harder to find because they don't draw attention to themselves. Look for them browsing in bookstores, hanging out in a quiet space at a party or unobtrusively hanging out with a more extroverted friend, advises Sophia Dembling, author of "The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World," in a November 2011 article in "Psychology Today." You're less likely to get to know introverted people if you're always hanging out in noisy venues or crowded parties.


Trying to make up for an introvert's lack of gregariousness won't work. Instead of amping up your personality, lower the volume a bit and approach a quiet person calmly. Avoid excessive small talk about the weather or the venue. After asking him if he enjoys the coffee shop's blend of the day, ask an open-ended question such as, "Do you think Kurt Vonnegut's other books are as thought-provoking as the one you're reading?" or "What do you think about the media's approach to the violence last Thursday?" Doing so will likely engage a person who prefers thinking to constant interaction.

Hanging Out

When you spend time with an introvert, avoid dragging her along to the club with a group of your more boisterous friends. She'll likely feel annoyed, overwhelmed and may feel a bit lost in the crowd. Instead, go for a walk or browse some shops together. Doing something active is often preferable to sitting over dinner trying to force conversation, Dembling notes. Once you both feel more comfortable with one another, then meeting for dinner or coffee won't feel as awkward.


Don't overlook the power of technology when it comes to getting to know people who tend to shy away from crowds. An August 2012 article in "Time" reports that social media entrepreneur and self-described introvert Guy Kawasaki enjoys interacting with his millions of social media followers while sitting at home in the dark. Connecting via email or on a social media platform can help you get to know an introverted person without subjecting him to the stress of constantly needing to enter face-to-face social situations or talk on the phone.

About the Author

Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.

Photo Credits

  • Liquidlibrary/liquidlibrary/Getty Images