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Don’t shy away from people who are shy.

Image via Metro

A bucket of ice cream and hours spent binge watching favorite shows means one of two things: either someone got dumped or introverts are present. Possibly both. But while late night dates with Netflix may take second place to late night dates with friends for many students, that’s not the case for everyone.

Regardless of your favorite way to spend a Friday night, there are lots of reasons to befriend an introvert. Yes, they have a tendency to fade into the background, which often makes them easy to overlook, but making a point of saying hello might be the best decision you ever make.

With that said, here are a few reasons why introverts make the best friends.

1. Introverts thrive on one-on-one relationships—they’ll go deep.

While introverts are often slow to commit to friendships, they don’t back away from commitments once they have been made. Though they want to know your favorite color and your favorite animal, they also want to know you. What drives you? What are your morals and values? What parts of your life have shaped those morals? Who was your best friend in second grade, and what made them so special?

Introverts thrive on deep relationships; they will choose a few important friends over a lot of generic ones, but those few relationships will be packed with depth and meaning. Once they have decided that you are a genuine friend, they will make a point of prioritizing you. They will invest their time and energy into being the best friend they can possibly be, and your friendship will mean a lot to them.

2. You always have somebody who wants to listen to you.

Because introverts prioritize a select few relationships, they will take the time to invest in their friends. The relational depth that introverts crave requires effort, but that effort is something they genuinely want to give. Introverts want to listen to what you have to say and they want you to listen to them as well. There’s a pretty good chance that they’re not going to volunteer personal information, but they will pry it out of you, and they will love it if you pry it out of them in return.

This doesn’t happen without effort, and introverts who genuinely care about your friendship will make times to simply sit and talk with you. This might happen over lunch, at a coffee shop or even in your dorm room late at night, but it will happen. They won’t feel like your friendship is deepening if you’re both at the same large social gathering, but they will make a point of spending one-on-one or small group time with you, and will want to hear what you have to say in those times. They will listen to you, and might not say anything in return. That’s okay. It doesn’t mean that they don’t care, but that they’re trying to truly understand what you’re telling them. They may only input a few comments, but those comments will be well thought through, and it will mean a lot if you listen to them.

3. Introverts are incredibly loyal.

Introverts want deep relationships, and they want to listen to you in order to make that happen, but you don’t have to worry about your darkest secrets spilling out into the world. In fact, it’s because of their tendency toward deep, meaningful relationships that introverts are vaults. Secrets are almost always safe in their presence because they value trust and loyalty above all else, and they won’t let anything get in the way of a quality friendship.

Because introverts put in the time and effort to know what matters to you, they will defend you and your secrets at all costs. Befriending an introvert will be one of the best choices you ever make; you will need to invest in the relationship but you will be rewarded with a large dose of unwavering loyalty.

4. Sometimes you just need a quiet movie night. Even if you don’t know it.

An introvert will always be the first to suggest a night in instead of a night out. A dance may sound fun in theory, but there’s really no way to go wrong if you decide to hit up a Redbox for the new Marvel movie instead. Sweatpants and popcorn may be the norm for introverts, but even extroverts need some quiet nights every now and then.

It’s also worth noting that an evening spent hanging out at home is essentially a gateway drug for introverts. Instead of being confined to one-on-one or small group time, introverts might invite five, ten, or even fifteen people to spend time together at a movie night. A night in is very different from a night out in the eyes of an introvert, and it’s a great chance to build multiple relationships simultaneously without any of the awkward mingling that introverts tend to hate. Host a movie night. Invite introverts. They actually might enjoy themselves.

5. Introverts need you to break them out of their shells.

If you are friends with introverts, break them out of their carefully constructed comfort zones on occasion. Take them to a dance or a bowling alley or anything else with lots of people doing lots of mingling. It will be their worst nightmare, but it’s good for them from time to time, and they will often enjoy it. Being an introvert doesn’t mean they hate people. It simply means that spending time with large groups of people isn’t a way for them to recharge, and that they need to do it in moderation.

With that being said, don’t abuse the privilege. Because introverts place so much value on one-to-one relationships, they won’t want to let you down. So if you invite them somewhere, and their presence seems to mean a lot to you, they will drop everything and go with you. Use that to occasionally pop their introvert bubbles, but don’t abuse the power. If you drag them to places they don’t want to go on a regular basis, you’ll find them distancing themselves from you. If you dial back, they’ll recharge and reengage when they’re ready, but too much persistence might cause them to prioritize other friendships over yours. Be careful, because introverts might be the best friends you ever have, and their investment and trust in you isn’t something to take lightly.

Remember: they care about you, and they want you to care about them in return.

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