A common misconception concerning introverts is the belief that we do not like other people, or that we just want to be left alone in our hidey-holes. Often it is assumed that we do not have any desire to interact socially. Really, many “introverts” not only like people, but even deeply crave interacting, and being able to connect with others. They often can be very caring, sensitive, deep-feeling, deep-thinking people…. but find it difficult to reveal those things about themselves to everyone (especially if they feel they have to be selective with who they make themselves vulnerable to). For these reasons, introverts are likely to have just a small number of people that they truly consider friends—people that they have a bond with, trust, and feel comfortable with allowing their true selves to be exposed to. They might not be “butterflies” with extensive friend lists, or have a schedule packed with social activities….. but on the flip side, they often have a deeper understanding of, and place higher value on true friendship, and even love. Once they consider someone a friend, they truly mean it, and are more likely to be someone who is loyal and committed. In a world where many can be fickle in their feelings and relationships, and where it can be difficult to know who in the sea of faces truly cares for you…..those initially hard-to-crack introverts can sometimes become true touchstones.
You really cannot depend on truly knowing an introvert (their personality etc…) based on what you have seen from them while interacting in social circumstances with other people around. Some of us are very talented at “covering”, and can even appear comfortable and out-going (when really we might have to push ourselves into that for whatever personal reasons, anxieties, or challenges that we may have). As a teenager/young adult many thought that I was a giggly, not-so-bright “airhead”. It was my means of concealing, and pushing past “quiet and shy me” so that I could achieve the interaction that I craved. It resulted in people often underestimating me, and thinking that they were able to talk over my head about things that I would not understand (including talking about me). Though I just put on the smile, and kept silent for a long time, eventually some shocks resulted for people who got close enough to get glimpses of what was under the surface. I still run into past acquaintances who make comments on how different that I seem now that I have shed my bouncy false protective layer.
Sometimes that person who may seem stuck on themselves, over-confident etc….could really be a sensitive introvert with self-doubts under the surface that they are trying to compensate for. That bubbly smiley person might actually be highly observant and deep-thinking, but feel that those things do not translate well in social environments. So the “do not judge a book by it’s cover” advice applies in a big way to those who are introverted…..especially if they are “hidden introverts”. You need to give us a real chance, spend alone time with us, gain comfort levels etc…. to see what is really in “the box”. That may sound daunting, but it is possible that what you discover will be worth the time and effort.