10 Problems Only Introverts Understand

Introverts are defined as “a person who is energized by spending time alone” who are “simply misunderstood because the majority of the population consists of extroverts”. Meaning that when Introverts experience their problems, and these problems are quite hard to explain to Extroverts, no matter how close we are to them.

I’m proud to say I’m an Introvert. I always have been and I don’t see what to be ashamed of about being one, but I’ve had people I have met who think I have announced a massive inconvenience then try to pity me. When I try to explain (with much difficulty) that it’s a personality type where you have preferences about who you spend time with, where you spend time and what you do with your time. In general, Introverts prefer the opposite to Extroverts. It just happens that Extroverts, at no fault of their own, just don’t understand. So let’s go through the problems that only Introverts understand.

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1. Feeling Drained in Public Settings.

I think every introvert knows the draining feeling of being at a party, wanting to go home and sit in front of the TV or curl up with a good book or even listen to music in an attempt to recharge, but knowing you can’t leave for perhaps one of many reasons, maybe your friend still wants to stay and they’re your ride home, or it’s a wedding for your sibling so you’re required to stay, or something else entirely, but trying to explain to an Extrovert about wanting to go home? It is easier to draw blood from a stone.

For those wondering if we just being rude, we aren’t. There is a difference between Introverts and Extroverts. Carl Jung described the difference between an Introvert and an Extrovert by explaining that Extroverts are energized in social interactions. On the other end of the spectrum an Introvert finds same social interaction energetically demanding which drains them of energy, meaning that after the event, Introverts will need to “recharge” alone. So when we say we want to leave, we really aren’t trying to be rude, we just need our alone time.

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2. Phone Calls! – Two Words to Fill You with Dread.

Please, if possible to text the information, Text it!

Introverts tend to be slow thinkers, and in turn, slow at responding to conversation. So, Introverts avoid them to minimize those long pauses. Long pauses happen when we are trying to think fast about what to say back to the person on the end of the line. Phone calls tend to feature more small talk than deep thought-provoking conversations which Introverts have been shown to favor.

I hate talking on the phone, especially with people who I don’t know that well. All honesty? There is a maximum of three people who I am willing to talk to on the phone. My Grandmother and Grandfather – but they don’t like texting so I talk to them on the phone for their convenience. The third person is my best friend, Skye, who will talk on the phone with me at times, but that is only when truly needed cause we prefer texts over phone calls.

3. Small Talk – The Next of the Dreaded Words.

“Introverts crave meaning, so party chit-chat feels like sandpaper to our psyche,”

I have tried explaining to chatty people what small talk feels like to Introverts, and have had some difficulty with it, only being able to come up with a small analogy for what it feels like.

So, imagine, if you will, each introvert with a dial manometer above their head, for those who don’t know it is one of those things which tells you how much petrol is left in the car or how high the pressure on the boiler is, and at the high-end of the manometer is where the Introvert’s brain is the most active and feeling energized, and at the other end of the manometer is when the Introvert is least energized and disengaged. When we partake in small talk, the needle of the dial which tells you how engaged they are slowly starting to dip into the disengaged part of the manometer as the “sandpaper” small talk drains Introverts as it isn’t the deep conversations Introvert’s “crave.”

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4. People Judging You for Enjoying Your Own Company.

Introverts relish in time alone, no matter how briefly. Solitude is like air, or food, for an Introvert, we need it. Some Introverts keep a quota of time which they split out between social interactions, so not to be drained easily. Other’s, they mainly communicate through the Internet and Technology, like texts and emails – though it is key to remember that Technology doesn’t replace face-to-face interactions as it is difficult to get to know people through an interface.

Extroverts, however, see an Introvert sitting alone and believe they are sad and lonely. This is through no fault as when they sit alone, they begin to feel alone and sad themselves, and believe we feel that same loneliness. So, they want to prevent someone else feeling the same way they have. Extroverts, you honestly do not have to worry about every person sitting alone.

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5. Shyness ≠ Introvert.

For those who don’t know, there is a difference between shyness and being an Introvert. When you’re shy, you fear negative judgment, especially with unfamiliar people, but being an Introvert means you prefer quiet environments which minimise stimulation. I am an Introvert and happen to be quite shy, especially with new people. It takes a particular type of person to make Shy Introverts feel comfortable.

While it does happen that shy and introverted personality types to overlap, that is not the case for every introvert. There are Confident Introverts and Shy Extroverts. People seem to ignore this and believe Shyness means Introvert. It’s just some introverts prefer not to talk for extended periods of time as they feel it is a waste of their energy, or just select the words they use carefully. My Introvert Friend, Skye, won’t always speak in class because if she has nothing to say, then why say anything at all? Simple. It is a reserved nature which is mistaken for timidness. She hates being mistaken for Shy as she just isn’t shy, once you get to know her, she is a very forthright person who is just more reserved than the average person.

Categorising every Introvert as shy means every Introvert gets painted with the same brush, which just doesn’t apply to all Introverts.

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6. Trying to Avoid Conversation with People.

How many of you use headphones on the bus? Or a book to read when waiting for your friend whose running late? Maybe you scroll through your phone while waiting for your lunch to be ready when eating out? Now, how many of you use this to avoid contact with random people? Thought so.

Even this doesn’t stop people from noticing all the signs of Not. Wanting. To. Talk. You will be sitting there and some random person who you have never seen before taps your shoulder and ask “What are you reading?” or “What song are you listening to?” But it’s considered rude to avoid the conversation now, so now you’re forced into small talk, which you hate, with someone as they weren’t able to pick up the signs you sent out about not wanting to talk to them in the first place.

The reason we use these items is that we don’t want to talk to the person next to us on the bus, but don’t want to seem rude, it acts as a buffer. It’s bad enough having small talk with someone you know.

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7. Not Fitting the Cliché of an Introvert.

When most people think of an Introvert, people think of one image in particular. They have a young woman with a leather back journal and thousands of dog-eared paperback books, as she is a religious bookworm. The internet also shows her sitting in a cocoon of blankets and pillows while Netflix plays romantic dramas with Coffee, Tea or Hot Chocolate. Now, these Introverts do exist. Not all introverts fit into this box. Some don’t like reading, others prefer to sit on the beach, or in the park. Others hate rainy days. Some may hate the idea of keeping a journal, and of course, not all Introverts are female. I know plenty of Introverts – and not many meet this online standard.

This stereotype influences how most people see an Introvert. Due to the stereotype, if an Introvert differs (even slightly) then questions are raised as to if they are “faking” their Introverted personality. People, not by their own fault, are unaware of the fact there are different types of Introverts.

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8. Being Put on the Spot.

Now, why is talking on the spot hard for Introverts? Dr. Marti Olsen Laney explained that Introverts favor long-term memory. Information’s stored in long-term memory, which is outside of a person’s conscious awareness. If you haven’t guessed, long-term memory holds information for long periods of time. No one knows how long it will hold the information, perhaps indefinitely. Introverts have been shown to favor long-term memory rather than short-term memory. As the name suggests holds information for short periods of time, sometimes seconds. Due to using long-term memory, it takes a longer amount of time to access the stored information there. It is a long and complex process, which slows introverts down when speaking. It so happens, if you are even a little nervous it is more difficult to find your long-term memory and the right words.

As I said, not all Introverts are shy, and not all introverts have anxiety. However, it is common for an introvert to have some level of anxiety in a social scenario, or when placed on the spot. This factors into the long-term memory, as it makes it harder to recall any information. This is due to Cortisol, a stress hormone, that’s released when you experience anxiety. Cortisol, as it happens, leads to memory loss and problems, which is why you find it harder to recall information.

9. You Just Need to “Come out Your Shell”.

Introverts during school are made to believe that a reserved and less outspoken nature must be “wrong” compared to their extroverted classmates. Teachers report that the ideal student has Extroverted characteristics, as they are more likely to partake in class discussions. Introverts prefer sitting quietly at their desks and provide the same outcomes as Extroverted Students. In an environment tailored to support Extroverts by including group activities and practical learning Introverts are viewed as “problem students” since they are in educational styles which do not benefit them. There is nothing wrong with making sure Extroverts can learn efficiently for them, but forcing all students into one form of learning does not help all of them.

For a majority of Introverts, Parents Evening features their teachers insisting they need to speak more in class. The Introvert has good ideas on paper but doesn’t transfer them in the class discussion. It has also been proven that these comments have lasting effects, with Introverted Adults expressing similar memories of being told they need to come out of their shell more.

10. Trying to Explain Introversion.

Jonathan Raunch wrote an Article that explains the misconceptions of Introverts. In the article, he explains that “Extroverts have little or no grasp of introversion” and that “They assume that company, especially their own, is always welcome. They cannot imagine why someone would need to be alone; indeed, they often take umbrage at the suggestion… They listen for a moment and then go back to barking and yipping.”

The article demonstrates how much Introversion’s misunderstood, particularly when explaining it to Extroverts. Introversion is still largely viewed as being aloof, rude or arrogant by a majority of the public. This is not the case, Introverts are just a person who’s reserved and prefers their own company.

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  1. So true! Every word in this article is the absolute truth! I just wish people understood the concepts of the article. Well-meaning friends think I’m lonely because I choose to do stuff alone – whether it’s stay home, go out to eat or shop…I’m NOT lonely. I’m more lonely living in this house with two people who want to control me! 😡

  2. It took me decades to understand that there was nothing wrong with me! I am an introvert, enjoy my own company, and dislike being around other people for much more than a short period of time. Wish I had articles like this to read, and therefore understand myself, when I was young.

  3. I’m a 55-year-old male, American “confident introvert”, well-educated, and fairly cognizant of societal norms and boorishness. Even before I knew what the term “introvert” meant many, many years ago, I often told others that I needed to “recharge”. Now I’m finally old enough to not give a $H!T if others have a wrong preconception that I am “aloof” or “rude”. Their loss.

    I especially liked the conclusion of Mr. Raunch in #10. “Barking and yipping”, indeed.

    Introverts of the world, UNITE! Or maybe not.

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