Hey, my friends. Welcome back to Let’s Encourage One Another. If you have been listening to the podcast for any length of time, it is probably no surprise to you that I am an introvert. A pretty big introvert, at that. And I know that either you relate to me, or perhaps you are an extravert but have a close friend who is an introvert, and maybe there’s a lot about them that you don’t quite understand.
Today, I wanted to share 5 creative ways that you can encourage an introvert in your life—whether they are going through a difficult season or if you just wanted to show them some care.
Now, please realize that even though I’m an introvert and your friend/colleague/family member is also an introvert, it doesn’t mean we’re exactly alike. What might be encouraging to me might be frustrating for him or her. So consider my ideas and maybe use them as a springboard to brainstorm other ideas, and prayerfully discern how you can be an encouragement to them personally.
Okay, here we go.
1. Create Some Time for Them to Be Alone
Number one, create some time for your introverted friend to be alone.
I know it seems a little counter-intuitive to send someone who is having a hard time to have some time by themselves, but for the introvert, this can be such a gift.
Family commitments or work projects might make it nearly impossible for our introverted friends to have any time alone unless it’s late at night or early in the morning. And since introverts tend to re-charge when they are in a quiet space by themselves, giving them the opportunity to do so really is such an encouragement. It shows them that not only recognize their need to be alone, but that you value them as a person and want to make sure they have that chance to relax and get refreshed.
So, what can this look like?
- Offer to watch their kids for an hour so they can read a book or get outside by themselves.
- Let them borrow your house for the day as a sort of “day away”–because sometimes when we try to do this in our own house, we get caught up in all the things we need to do. So having somewhere else to go can really help us get the break we need.
- Answer the phone over the lunch hour so your colleague can get a true break from work and have some time alone and away from the office.
2. Write a Heartfelt Note of Encouragement
Number two, write a heartfelt note of encouragement.
Many introverts treasure handwritten notes of affirmation and support. While text messages and emails can mean a lot, too, there’s just something about a handwritten note.
So grab a piece of paper or stop at the store and get a card and take a few moments to write them a message that will uplift them and let them know you care.
The content of your note will be determined by the kind of encouragement your friend needs, but there are a couple of things that will make it extra-special for them.
- Be specific. A general “You are great” is nice, but using specific examples or more precise words shows that you put thought into your note and that you truly see them as a person and what makes them special and unique. They don’t want a card you could have given to anybody.
- Be clear. Have a point to your message and don’t “mumble” in your writing, talking about one thing and then jumping to another. Your note should flow well and make sense to your friend. Including a short and memorable phrase at the end will help. Something like, “You are not alone” or “You will get through this.”
- Share a story or memory. Sometimes people don’t notice things they do that are an encouragement to you, or that mean a lot to you. So go ahead and write it out. Tell them, “When you held the door open for me and asked me how my day was going, and stopped to really listen, that meant a lot to me.” Or something like, “I remember when you sang at church last year. It really touched me.” Again, share the details as you can.
Your note doesn’t necessarily have to be long, but it does have to be genuine.
3. Gift Them a Membership to an Online Community
So you can give your introverted friend time to be alone, and you can write them a heartfelt note of encouragement. Number three, you can gift them a membership to an online community.
Online spaces can be a great place for introverts to connect with like-minded people without the pressure of in-person social interactions. Plus, if they like to learn and grow professionally, it often allows them the opportunity to do that, too.
Now, it’s important to know for sure that they want to be a part of this community. Maybe they are already a part of one and their membership dues are coming up. Or maybe they’ve been eyeing one for a while and simply can’t afford the fees.
Ask them if there’s a group they want membership in and then see how you go about paying it for them. Some online communities have a place for you to do this on their website; others, you may need to give the money to your friend and have them sign themselves up.
There are memberships for all sorts of things: for Christian women business owners, for those striving to exercise more or eat healthier food, for homeschool parents, for those in ministry or leadership, for those who want to explore art or music.
By gifting them a membership, you communicate that you believe in what they are doing, and that you support their desire to learn and grow. You don’t want obstacles like a lack of funds to get in the way of that.
4. Give Them a Book
Number four, give them a book.
Now, my family jokes that they never know what books to buy me because I have so many. But books are still one of my favorite gifts!
I understand it can be challenging to pick out a book for someone else. We all have different tastes and preferences. However, if you can find a book that would be a good fit for your friend, I bet it would really mean a lot to them. Browse their bookshelves when you’re over at their house, or take note of the books they mention on any social media posts. See what they like or if there’s a book being released soon that they are excited about.
What can make it even more special is for you to write an inscription on the front page, or include a little note with it, that explains why you chose that specific book. It demonstrates the thought and care you put into picking it out.
I still have a book on my shelf that a mentor bought for me with his inscription inside the front cover. It reminds me that I have people who believe in me and what I’m doing, and encourages me on the days when things might get hard.
And if there’s any off-the-wall chance you can get the author to sign it… seriously, do it. Some authors will allow you to order a copy that has been signed, especially if it’s a book that’s just coming out. It’s that extra-special touch that can mean a lot to an introverted friend.
5. Sit and Just “Be” with Them
Finally, number five, sit and just “be” with your friend.
This can feel awkward or challenging to someone who is more extraverted, but a lot of introverts like to just “be” with their close friends sometimes without the pressure of having to talk.
What can this look like?
- Sit on the porch with them and enjoy the day outside.
- Take a quiet boat ride or car ride.
- Invite them over to watch a movie or their favorite TV show.
- Read your own books while sitting together in the same room.
- Have a game night that doesn’t require a lot of talking or hoopla.
You certainly don’t have to do this all the time, but if they are especially down and out, or tired, or just having a hard day in general, giving them the space they need while still being near might be one of the most encouraging gifts you can give them. They’ll talk when they are ready.
What Would You Add?
Okay, so those are my five ways to encourage an introvert: give them some time alone, write them a heartfelt note of encouragement, gift them membership to an online community, give them a book, or just sit and “be” with them.
Are you an introvert? What would you add to this list? What else has been encouraging for you? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know. Remember, my name is spelled K-A-R-I. I’d be happy to pass along more ideas from all of you.
Now, these ideas came from a list of 92 ways you can encourage and support a friend that I created a couple of years ago, so if you’d like to explore more ideas—and not just ones for introverts—I invite you to check that out. You can find the link in the show notes.
Also, be sure to come back next week, because I’ll flip this around a little bit and talk about how to encourage others AS an introvert. What might we introverts need to keep in mind as we care for those around us? It’s one you won’t want to miss.
Okay, that is all for today, my friends. Until next time… let’s encourage one another.
RESOURCES + BIBLE VERSES:
- 92 Ways to Encourage and Support Others (blog article)
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