Even though the “introvert positive” movement is here, there are still a lot of misconceptions about introversion. So, sometimes, it’s easier to say nothing at all about needing time alone or finding certain events to be overstimulating. In fact, if you’re an introvert, you probably do a lot of things that other people don’t realize are related to your temperament. Here are 21 of those things. I can’t speak for every introvert, but these are themes that came up again and again when I interviewed introverts for my book, The Secret Lives of Introverts.
1. When people interpret your quietness as you being stuck up, standoffish, or rude. It’s not that you think you’re better than other people; you really do care deeply about others. It’s just that you often don’t know what to say.
2. When your friend invites you to a party/event and you have no energy to go. What you really need is to stay home and recharge your introvert batteries by watching Netflix, reading, gaming, or just relaxing. But you don’t want to hurt your friend’s feelings, so instead you make up an excuse like, “I’m not feeling well” or “Sorry, I have other plans.”
3. When you order takeout online instead of calling because you literally can’t talk to one more person today.
4. When you check your phone at a party/get-together for a long time simply to avoid talking to more people (you already feel an introvert hangover coming on).
5. When you hang out in the bathroom for just a few seconds longer than needed, because it’s the only quiet place in your school or office.
6. When people say, “Tell me about yourself!” and you momentarily freeze, then mumble a few generic sentences because you have a hard time being articulate when you’re put on the spot. As an introvert, you tend to process your thoughts deeply and need time to think before speaking.
7. When you go to a party and end up spending the whole night talking to the one person who you feel comfortable being around.
8. When you’re at a party and say, “I’m getting really tired, so I’m going home.” You’re not actually sleepy, you’re just tired of being around people. You go home and stay awake for three more hours, checking Facebook, watching YouTube videos, or reading.
9. When you’re having trouble explaining your thoughts or feelings. Everything makes so much sense in your head, but it never comes out as eloquently as it seemed in your mind. Other people are like, “Come on, spit it out, what’s the problem?”
10. When you say, “Sorry, I already have plans that night.” Your “plans” are to watch Netflix, color, or read — basically to chill at home.
11. When you’re staring out a window, just daydreaming, and you can’t be bothered by anything.
12. When you were supposed to be paying attention in class, in a meeting, or to your friend’s story, but instead your mind started thinking about outer space, time travel, and the fate of humanity.
13. When you’re playing out a fictitious argument in your head and you get so into it that you find yourself making corresponding facial expressions or mouthing comebacks. You promise, you’re not really as crazy as you look.
14. When you’re awkward at making small talk. Or you don’t do it at all. You cut right to the chase and everyone is like, “Where did that come from?”
15. When you finally speak your mind and people get offended because you were really blunt. You didn’t warm them up with small talk first or sugar coat your words. You just spoke the truth.
16. When you say, “I want a low-key birthday this year. Like, dinner with two friends.”
17. When you ask the teacher if she can make an exception for you to work alone instead of with a group. You know you'll have to do more work this way, but you figure it's worth it because it will be so much less draining.
18. When you wear headphones in public so people don’t talk to you.
19. When someone tells you to call them, but instead, you text. You’re more clever/confident/clear when you can write your thoughts instead of say them out loud.
20. When you avoid getting your hair cut for a few weeks because you know you’ll have to muster the energy to make small talk with the stylist for at least 30 minutes.
21. When you get off work and you’re so mentally burned out that you don’t even want to turn on music or a podcast in your car. You just need everything to be quiet for a few minutes, PLEASE.
My book, The Secret Lives of Introverts, has been called a “decoder ring for introverts” and one of the “best books” on “introvert empowerment.” It’s available now on Amazon, or wherever books are sold.