I think the most important thing to any introvert is a safe place to retreat to. It has to be a place that other people can't enter without the introvert's cooperation; whether an office, a bedroom, an apartment, it has to be theirs and theirs alone. There needs to be a place that they can be left alone and feel no pressure to be with anyone else. A place whether they can do what they want, to refocus, to reenergize and be themselves. I'm not saying noone is welcome, typically a partner who can humour the introvert's ways is welcome, as is any family who does the same, but for the most part, it's very much theirs and respected to be their space.
Introverts, by nature, either are "on" or "off." The "on" mode is the mode they take when they're around others. The stereotype is introverts are antisocial, but the truth is far from that. I am an introvert and I'm quite social. I'm happy go lucky, I like meeting people, I love talking with people, I love travelling, I enjoy new experiences. But, all of those things take energy from me and I need a time and place to recharge. When I don't have that opportunity to recharge I become, quite rapidly, like a caged animal. There are some who don't bring out that need to perform, to expend energy. There are people who I can trust to just sit and be without expecting anything of me. They don't pester with questions and wanting attention, they don't try to engage, they just let me be. Partners who don't respect that tend to go out the door pretty quickly. My family recognizes this and mostly respect it. It would be easier, of course, for everyone, if my brother and I's introvert cycles were ever in synch.
I'm told extroverts get their energy from exchanging ideas and being with people. I find that drains my energy and I need time to myself to recharge. It's why I rarely stay with others for long; that private space is impossible to achieve. Even if your hosts leave you be, there's still an expectation of socialization. While I am a performer at heart, I love to entertain whether with verbal or written stories and humour, there's only so much steam in the engine. Often when I get home from travel I lock myself in my home for as long as I can get away with before I wander back into the world of the social. The fact that I'm in pretty sorry shape physically after travelling is a happy coincidence.
I'm told I'm a good counsellor; a good listener. The problem is, when someone just keeps treading over the same ole ground over and over I get bored and restless. It's very hard for me not to say "Do you even listen to yourself?" Or when people feel the need to point out what I consider obvious, I find it hard not to say "Yeah, and?" I don't deal with ego well, which is humorous since I have quite the ego on my own. I don't deal with negative attention whores (those who need attention and will steal it at any cost and do not like others to have attention) well. I've never quite worked out if it's an introvert trait to be the unwilling counsellor to every Tom, Dick and Harriet, or if it's just a me trait.
I've noticed most bunny people tend to be introverts, I think it's probably because that rabbits themselves tend to be. Look at how long it takes them to accept somebun new to their territory! They too require their safe retreat where they don't have to deal with anyone or anything. They too have their time of "Yeah yeah, talk away, just don't expect more than grunts in reply."
Sometimes I wish I could have a way to express the need to be left alone without offending. Extroverts just don't understand, I won't say they don't *try* to understand, but I've yet to find any extrovert who doesn't sit near the introvert personality line who groks it. How do you say to someone "I don't want to deal with humanity at the moment, how about tomorrow?" without them taking it personally? It's not that we introverts prefer our own company, it's just that sometimes we need our own company with no expectations or wants from others attached.
I think it all boils down to introverts need freedom. We need to be able to flap our wings and fly into the sky, to soar and sail, to do as we will, to be free. We also need someone to land for and to be with. Sometimes I think a great reality show would be "Introverts and the poor bastards who love them."