“No offense, but I thought you were a little stuck-up when I first met you,” a friend of mine confided in me a few weeks ago.

She went on to say that when I didn’t talk much the first time we met—and then politely declined a few invitations shortly thereafter—she wondered if I thought I was better than her.

The truth is, that’s not the first time I’ve been accused of being a little snobby.

It’s something I always worry about after meeting someone for the first time. Did I say enough? Was I making eye contact the whole time? Did I smile? Did I seem friendly?

Sometimes I wish I had a shirt that said, “I PROMISE I’M NOT RUDE! REALLY!! I’M JUST AN INTROVERT.” I’d take one in every color.

I feel like introverts are sometimes misunderstood—or worse, confused with being unfriendly. But I promise you, from the depths of my introverted heart, that couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Introverts aren’t any less kind, 

They’re just a little less people-y and a little more shy.

So if you’re reading this and someone comes to mind—take a second to consider this:

Maybe the reason she doesn’t talk much is just because she doesn’t know what to say. Small talk is definitely not a talent of hers. She feels a little awkward and uncomfortable—wondering if what she said sounded dumb. She can talk for days if you carry the conversation, but she dreads lulls—because if you don’t fill them, she might not know how to.

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Maybe the reason she said “no thanks” to the barbecue or birthday party you invited her to is because the thought of being around a ton of people just exhausts her. It takes everything in her to be social for hours on end. She’s refueled by alone time—and honestly, after a long week of hands-on wife-ing and mom-ing, sometimes the thought of being social is just too much. 

Maybe the reason she’s so quiet at gatherings isn’t because she’s unhappy to be there, but because she prefers observing and listening in on conversations rather than being the main contributor to them. She likes you and genuinely cares what you have to say . . . but there’s a good chance she’s also glancing at the clock and dreaming of the sweatpants and quiet couch waiting for her back home.

Maybe the reason her friend group is small is because she feels most comfortable with a few tight-knit relationships over a big social group. But the friends she does have? They’re everything to her—and they know her soul.

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She’ll never be the life of the party.

She’ll never be someone who can make friends with a wall.

She’ll never be one to talk your ear off about alllll the things.

And I know she’s a little tricky to understand at times, but I promise—

Underneath the quiet . . . 

Underneath the introvert . . . 

Underneath the smidge of social anxiety . . .

There’s a girl with a really big heart who honestly just wants to be your friend—and I hope next time you see her, you’ll remember these words and breathe a little easier.

Because maybe she’s not rude. Maybe she’s just an introvert.

Casey Huff

Casey is a middle school teacher turned stay-at-home-mama to three littles. It's her mission as a writer to shine light on the beauty and chaos of life through the lenses of motherhood, marriage, and mental health. To read more, go hang out with Casey at: Facebook: Bouncing Forward Instagram: @bouncing_forward