Introverts are like cats. Here’s how:
One can often find a cat lounging someplace watching the world. Introverts do this, too. Introverts love observation. It isn’t uncommon for an introvert to be judged (often incorrectly) as anti-social, shy, or socially awkward because they don’t enter a group situation and start talking. They enter a group situation and observe for a while, acclimatizing and getting a feel for the situation and group dynamic.
2. Alone Time
Cat owners can attest that if a cat feels like being alone–maybe hiding under a bed or in a closet or atop a dresser–no amount of calling, tempting with treats, or smooth talking will convince a cat to come out. Likewise, if introverts need alone time they really need alone time. Most introverts will try to be nice about it, saying things such as, “Oh, well I’m just really tired,” or “Thanks for the invite, but I have some stuff I need to do.” While these things might be true, they are possibly exaggerated for fear of sounding rude or having to explain further the meaning of, “Thanks, but I don’t feel like it.”
3. Cats Like Attention… Sort of
Most cats love to have their ears scratched, their bellies rubbed, their backs stroked. But once they reach their fill of attention, if you don’t heed the warning of the twitchy tail, you may find yourself with a scratch. Introverts likewise enjoy some attention and social interaction. But if they are ready to go home but are forced to stay or are done having the focus on them but are forced to receive that attention, they very well might lash out.
4. Loud Noises
Have you ever been in a room with a cat and made a really loud noise, only to see the cat dash from the scene as if the world were coming to an end? Introverts behave similarly. Introverts are not fond of over-stimulation. Situations with too many people, too many or too bright lights, too much noise simply make introverts uncomfortable thus they will often flee at the first opportunity. Introverts prefer quiet, serene places.
Anyone who has met a cat knows that most cats don’t warm up to newcomers immediately. They take their time to decide if new people (or new cats) are good to have around. Introverts also take time in deciding whether or not to let people into their lives. By definition introverts cannot allow just anyone into their lives: introverts lose energy when they interact thus are unwilling to be drained by just anybody. As a result they protect their energy as much as they can until such point that they decide a person is not going to needlessly drain them.
Cats may take awhile to warm up to newcomers, but when they do they are fiercely loyal. Introverts are the same. That’s not to say introverts never have a “falling out” with friends, it is just less likely.
Cats are easily annoyed if interrupted when they are busy. Whether they are hunting, sleeping, or anything else if bothered they can become truly upset. This is also true of introverts. This is especially true while they are reading. One thing that continues to confound introverts is that while they are reading in a public space, people will interrupt them and ask what book they are reading. Regardless of how an introvert responds vocally to this occasion, this is what they are feeling inside:
Really, you should never bother someone reading.