Writing introverts, pt 4: an introvert’s affection

I’m going to wrap-up my miniseries on writing introverted characters with a look at how their approach to life and their values impact their intimate relationships, and how that can be used in writing.

Personality and values

Due to their nature, introverts tend to take longer to form a connection, more so if it is to be something deeper. Shyness may be a trait that’s not directly tied to introverts, but it’s quite common, which adds further challenge in this aspect. Their approach – to avoid pointless small-talk and rather say what you mean or say nothing at all – is a further complication. They may have issues navigating some aspects of relationships (though, again, some of this may have a different cause, such as personality disorders or past trauma), which further complicates things.

Thus, hints may not be enough to get an introvert’s attention. This may prove an additional challenge in courting one – such as when a character can’t see the difference between fliratitious and mocking teasing (again, often tied to their past).

As I mentioned in part three, many introverts have something they like doing and, by extension, talking about. This may be the easiest way to engage in a lengthy conversation with an introvert and thus making them warm up to someone.

How a specific person approaches the conventions they’re not fond of (as they’re mostly set up by extroverts) is another differentiator. For example, when invited to a party, some may give in to the pressure and suffer through it, while others may just straight-up decline.

Another point from the previous part is that, due to their desire to make conversations to the point and to have fewer but closer friends, they tend to value honesty and loyalty. This shapes their approach to relationships a lot, especially when it comes to deeper connection.

Seducing an introvert

If you have an extrovert character and want to give them a challenge… make them fall in love with an introvert.

The easiest way to bond with an introvert is on common interests and hobbies – they’re often the only thing that can make them more approachable. However, due to their nature, it may be a challenge to discover what their interests are – they just don’t tend to share things easily, less so if they don’t believe the other person is genuinely interested. Why? The worst horror for an introvert is to talk with someone only for all the time and energy spent talking to become useless, because the other person doesn’t care.

Side note: on that point, introverts may consider “I don’t care” as very valid answer and consider it honest, not rude – as it’ll avoid the abovementioned issue.

Another thing to consider is to give them their much-needed space. Even if an introvert is interested in you, they’ll need their alone time. They’ll need to think about what’s going on and whether it’s something they’d like. To realize how much they like you. Likewise, spending time together in crowded places won’t be pleasing to an introvert. They’ll prefer secluded places for meeting, somewhere their private feelings can stay… private. Fabricated romantic events (such as present-time overcommercialized Valentine’s day) are nothing short of torture for them.

On the upside, starting a relationship with an introvert is the hardest part. Introverts tend to value loyalty and thus may be better suited as long-term partners. This doesn’t mean that once you bond with them, they’re blindly loyal to you. Yes, due to their struggle when forming relationships, they’re less-likely to cheat. However, introverts aren’t as scared of being alone and while losing a partner will certainly hurt them, they may not be as reluctant to leave an abusive relationship.

An introvert’s affection

Because of their tendency for short, to-the-point conversations, introverts are likely to be bad at giving hints, maybe even more than spotting them. However, if an introvert is talking to you a lot, that alone is a hint – most likely, it’s a sign they believe you may have something in common. If they outright try to spend more time with you, than alone is a major hint.

The fact introverts tend to not talk much will also shape how they express their feelings. Introverts with a romantic and/or creative soul may be more likely to leave you a note with a short poem on your nightstand rather than whisper the same words in person.

As mentioned above, an introvert will make sure their shows of affection stay private. Their shows of affection may be few, but they won’t be half-hearted. If an introvert hugs you, or tells you “I love you”, it means nothing less than having their deepest affection. An introvert will be more willing to listen when you need to talk about your issues, but they may not talk much. Instead, they’ll listen without interrupting you (which they don’t like), and offer a gentle touch or a shoulder to cry on. If they’re an analytic mind, they may come back to you later and offer a solution, after they’ve had a chance to analyze the issue alone.

Should it come to an argument, an introvert is likely to try and get his point across in a simple, matter-of-factly way, and if it leads nowhere, disengage the conversation. Often with similar reason as above – to analyze the problem alone and, hopefully, come up with a solution.

How all of this comes together when writing an introverted character…

  • An introvert is a challenge at first, and their affection is specific. They offer few gestures of affection but fully mean them. Discovering whether an introvert is resisting to one’s advances, or oblivious to them, may be a challenge.
  • Introverts, as mentioned in the previous posts, tend to have a lot of inner thoughts – use them when writing a scene from their PoV. Show their doubts, how they see the situation, what options they consider…
  • It affects how they’d approach dating – they’ll prefer places where their privacy will be preserved.

This is all I had to say for today, and for this mini-series as well. I’ll welcome your opinions and experiences. Is there something I forgot? Something you’d like to add? Feel free to leave a comment.

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