If you really want to comfort an introvert in your life who is going through some kind of struggle, lean on your quiet, introverted strengths.
Colleen Steele’s quiet son Cullen was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension when he was 8 years old.
Eventually, Colleen writes in her blog post “The Mental Wellness Challenges of an Introvert,” Cullen received a heart and double-lung transplant, which resulted in a lengthy hospitalization afterwards.
Part of Cullen’s recovery and rehabilitation program involved mental health therapy sessions with a hospital psychologist. But Cullen had no control over when—let alone whether—the sessions happened.
“Cullen has always put forth great effort into being a compliant patient,” Colleen writes, “but sticking with his therapy sessions was his Achilles’ heel. The introvert in him felt violated.”
“He would much rather end a long day of appointments and physical pain with quiet reflection and relaxing activities that did not require conversation.”
Cullen ended up feeling “a mix of sadness and anger” during his long hospital stay, Colleen says.
Until one day when a young man knocked on the door of Cullen’s room.
A young man who knew instinctively how to comfort an introvert.
A fellow introvert, it turns out.
No Need for Words—or Even Names
“No words were spoken,” Colleen writes, “just a nod toward the gaming system in the corner.”
“Cullen smiled big, quickly sat up in bed, and the two started playing a video game.”
The young man, a volunteer, ended up returning several times during Cullen’s stay, saying almost nothing.
He and Cullen never even bothered to exchange names. They just kept playing video games, boosting Cullen’s spirits in the process.
The back story?
Cullen’s quiet visitor was once a pediatric patient himself.
And thus, Colleen writes, he knew firsthand “the benefits of silent distractions.”
“His gift of time, but not words, helped to clear Cullen’s mind and rejuvenate his spirit.”
Comfort an Introvert with Actions
Time, not words. Thoughts, not words. Prayers, not words. Meals, not words.
There are so many ways, beyond words, to comfort someone who needs comforting.
Use the ones that speak to you as the introvert you are. Chances are they’ll speak to the person you’re trying to comfort too.
And if you are searching for a few words to add to the mix?
Rely on your introvert strengths:
Less is more.
Deliberate beats fast.
And genuine is all that really matters.