The exact moment after I discovered I had an opportunity to write for The Grit and Grace Project, I did what most excited women do right before posting a status on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter… I called my best friend, Caleigh. She’s my brilliant, beautiful, and bashful best friend whom I have shared many years laughing, crying, and learning with.
She’s an avid reader, a fellow bookworm, and a bright mind filled with creativity and appreciation for all things artistic and crafted. I naturally asked her advice on articles she would be interested in reading for the magazine, explaining that her and I were the type of demographic who fit the Grit and Grace lifestyle. Her response was an immediate question wrapped in a cheeky comment, “A go-getter and an introvert?”
I laughed out loud.
It’s true. We are different in a lot of ways, but I’ve come to love those dissimilarities in our friendship because I cherish every moment I get to learn from her each day because she doesn’t think like me.
5 things I’ve learned from being best friends with an introvert:
For her character traits. For her privacy. For her thought process. I value her opinion and the way in which she reaches a conclusion. Even when, or especially when, it’s a different journey than my own. If we were traveling the exact same paths, life would be boring and I’d basically just be friends with myself. If I want to ride on a rollercoaster, participate in a 5K Zombie run, or drive an extensive distance just to dip my toes in the ocean, there is a good chance that I’m going solo. Sometimes she just needs to be alone. She doesn’t always get the claustrophobic feelings that I have when cooped up inside too long. I might just need a change of scenery with someone and she might just need some time to herself.
2. (Try to) Plan Ahead
I take her into consideration and give her plenty of time and notice upfront so she doesn’t feel pressured or caught off-guard. It reduces stress on both her and me when putting a couple extra minutes into plans for dinner; times, little details that I don’t always think about, or thoroughly, enough. I might be more of a spontaneous, learn-as-I-go type. I often get an idea and have no clue what I’m doing. Sometimes that’s part of the excitement for me, but it could be one of her biggest fears. Since I’m not interested in scaring my best friend to death, I try to plan ahead. I look up directions to a new place before we go, make sure I’ve got gas in the car, money in my wallet, my phone fully charged, and plenty of spare chocolate around in the event that everything goes terribly wrong. (Which it hasn’t yet. Fingers crossed.) She helps me focus on details I often overlook. A lifestyle I now try to consider with or without her. I have found that it is just good practice in any friendship.
I admittedly am too quick sometimes for my own good. I process a lot mentally on hyper speed. She slows me down. She pulls me back to look at a problem, to explain the situation, to evaluate, and research all my options before proceeding with any decision. If it’s a struggle we are facing together, I might want to run at first, move too quickly. I feel the urge to problem-solve, take control, but because I care enough about our friendship, I learn to jog at her pace. Life is so much better with her by my side than running alone.
4. Social Sensitivity
Due to our different backgrounds and upbringings, we view the world and the people in it differently. Where I falter in being too quick to judge or too close-minded to understand a perspective, she opens up my tendency of being naïve and reminds me of other cultures, other beliefs, other lifestyle practices that differ from my own.
We wouldn’t be able to maintain the friendship that we have if we couldn’t communicate clearly and honestly with each other all the time. This didn’t happen overnight. It took years of building a rapport and trust to reach a point where we’re both secure enough in ourselves that we can talk about anything. No topic is off limits. Books, music, politics, cultures, religion, and family—it all makes up our conversations as long as we have an understanding that we’re different, but we’ll always be friends.
Because I care enough about our friendship, I learn to jog at her pace.
She’s my person; the girl I text first, snapchat without makeup, go apple-picking with, talk about movies, television shows, books, music, and baking. I’m a little country and she’s a little soft punk. I’m crafty and she’s artistic. I jump into action and she observes first. I’m outspoken and she’s self-preserved. I’m shades of black and white and she’s every color of the rainbow.
She makes me a better person. She encourages my crazy ideas, supports my interests, and motivates me to set a healthy example for others. She’s my stable rock when I’ve gotten in over my head with work and projects. She’s my shoulder when I’ve gotten my heart broken. She’s my safety net if I’m too careless. She’s the best sidekick a girl could ever ask for; the partner in crime I plan on recruiting to cause trouble with me when we’re old and racing wheelchairs in the retirement home.
No topic is off limits as long as we have an understanding that we’re different, but we’ll always be friends.
You’ll love this episode of our podcast, This Grit and Grace Life Grit, Grace & Girlfriends: How to Make Healthy Relationships – 003.
You’ll also like Rules for the Introvert Vs. Extrovert Fight, How Friendship Changes as an Adult, In Need of Mom Friends? 7 Ways to Reach Out, Establishing Healthy Boundaries in the Grit and Grace Life and How the 5 Love Languages Can Change Your Relationship.