13 Things Introverts Still Wish You Understood About Them

IntrovertDear.com world introvert day understand

If you ever needed an excuse to stay home and do nothing, today you have it, because Jan. 2 is World Introvert Day. Although not an official holiday, World Introvert Day has been celebrated by introverts around the world since 2011. It began when psychologist Felicitas Heyne wrote this post calling for a day to raise awareness about introversion, because introverts tend to feel marginalized and overlooked in a society that seems geared toward extroverts. It’s also supposed to be a day when introverts set aside time to relax and recharge after the busy holiday season.

So, on this day devoted to introverts, here are some things we introverts still wish other people understood about us. I can’t speak for all introverts, but I believe that these 13 things are generally true:

1. Just because we’re not talking doesn’t mean we’re upset or depressed. This happens to me all the time. When I’m deeply focused on something (or simply daydreaming), someone sees the look on my face and asks, “Are you okay?” with concern. “I’m perfectly okay,” I answer (although this isn’t entirely true, because now they’ve broken my concentration). Nevertheless, I’m not upset or sad. I am simply being quiet. Unlike some people who say every thought that crosses their mind, introverts usually only talk when we have something of value to say. Small talk can feel inauthentic, and you don’t really learn anything meaningful about the other person. If we introverts go quiet on you, we may simply be exploring our inner landscape. Don’t worry, we’ll come back to the real world soon.

2. We like people. We really do. The stereotype of an introvert being a reclusive hermit is just that — a stereotype. Many introverts have active social lives and deep, cherished relationships. Socializing is simply a matter of dosage for us. We don’t feel “high” off our surroundings like extroverts do, and socializing is less rewarding to us because we have a less active dopamine reward system than extroverts. This means we probably won’t party every weekend. But we may party every once in a while, for a few hours — as long as there is a quiet place for us to retreat to afterward to recharge our depleted energy.


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3. Sometimes we need to completely separate ourselves from others. This goes along with #2. Even when we have fun socializing, it drains us, so at times we need to be alone. No texting, no phone calls, no interruptions from loved ones. This behavior may seem odd to extroverts who gain energy from interacting with others. But solitude is crucial to an introvert’s well-being and sanity. When we’re alone, we relax and do things our way. We indulge in solo hobbies like reading, writing, gaming, etc. We tune into our own voice — not someone else’s. Being alone makes us feel like ourselves again.

4. It’s often easier to write our thoughts than say them out loud. Writing allows us to edit our words and express exactly what we mean, whereas coming up with the right words on the spot in a conversation can be hard. Think texting instead of a phone call and journaling instead of explaining. There’s a scientific explanation for this: introverts rely more on long-term memory than short-term memory (whereas extroverts generally favor short-term memory). It takes longer to retrieve words and information from long-term memory, which means we may speak slowly or “umm” and “ahh.” Don’t let this diminish what we say.

5. We’d rather have a few close relationships than a lot of shallow ones. It’s about quality vs. quantity. If we’re going to invest in a relationship, we want it to be good, because we have limited “people” energy.

6. We might be awkward at making small talk. Talking about the weather or our weekend plans doesn’t interest us, so we avoid small talk whenever possible (although savvy introverts recognize the utility of small talk and know they can use it as a gateway to more interesting conversation). We’d rather talk about ideas or deeper topics: What’s something you’ve learned lately? What are your hopes, dreams, and fears?

7. It makes us feel self-conscious when you point out how quiet we are. We already know we’re quiet, so when you bring it up, it’s another painful reminder of how we’ve tried our whole lives and often failed to be more social and fit in. Rather than telling us we’re quiet, ask us questions to draw us out. Introverts crave connections with others but we may need help getting there. Above all, accept our reserved nature as part of who we are.

8. We work best alone. Forget group projects. We’d rather work on our own in a quiet environment with few interruptions. Interestingly, research suggests that whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, simply being around another person sucks up a certain amount of the brain’s attention, making some tasks harder. To introverts, this comes as no surprise.

9. It may take a while for us to feel comfortable around new people. We may be quiet and reserved around people we don’t know well. Please don’t mistake this for rudeness — introverts tend to take a while to open up. When we’re comfortable around you, watch out! Our real personality, quirks and all, comes out in full force.

10. Parties can be sensory overload. The noise and activity level can be too much, especially for highly sensitive introverts, who are more easily stressed out by busy environments and intense stimuli. For shy or socially anxious introverts, just meeting new people and making small talk can be extremely nerve-wracking. If we leave the party early, please understand that it’s not about you. We probably just need to retreat to a quieter, less busy space.

11. Likewise, too much attention may overwhelm us. Even positive attention, like when our friends sing “Happy Birthday” to us in a crowded restaurant, can be too much. We’ll put on a brave face, but inside we might be cringing.


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12. We think. A lot. Many introverts have rich inner worlds and vivid imaginations. Our inner landscape fuels our creativity and incredible ability to problem-solve. Think J. K. Rowling, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Rosa Parks, and Mahatma Gandhi, all famous introverts. The downside is we may get stuck in our heads, overanalyzing and replaying events (both positive and negative) over and over in our minds.

13. We express our feelings sparingly. We may not gush with flowery words of love. And many introverts feel embarrassed by public displays of affection. We’d rather show that we care through our actions. Know that if you’re in our life, you matter to us. We don’t let just anyone in.

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Read this: The Science Behind Why It Can Be Hard for Introverts to Put Their Thoughts Into Words


  • G

    That is a really interesting post. I’m 39 and have never really understood myself often thinking that I just have a strange personality. So many of the points above ring true.

    • I felt the same way for a very long time. Some how having a name for the way I think, feel and act makes me more at ease with who I am. You don’t have to have all of the points to be an introvert.

  • DeeDee

    I can relate to all 14. Especially 1, 8, 11-14. Hopefully one day they will understand we are being our natural selves.

  • Funny thing about how the introverted brain works… at least, my introverted brain. When I’m with my partner, I don’t need alone time at all… as long as I’m alone with him, I recharge just the same. He’s an introvert as well, but we find we actually recharge each other. We never get drained by each other’s presence… actually, we need to be with each other to thrive.

    • I find that with my husband, too. Sometimes after a big family gathering or event, my interaction batteries will be drained and I’ll say “I just need a day or two alone to recharge–you don’t count–in the good way.” There are one or two other very close friends over the years I’ve included in my “need to be alone” time.

  • Stephen Barraclough

    So THAT is what I was enjoying? I saw no-one all day to talk to, and apart from two or three phone calls that was it – BUT IT WAS O.K.!

  • Heather

    I can relate to all of these except maybe #2 liking people 😄 It’s not that I dislike people in general, but I don’t really enjoy socializing and am never mistaken for an extravert.

  • This is so accurate – except for me, not so much the last point (#14). I find that I rush to explain my emotions, mental health problems etc. I think I probably do this because I’m worried about appearing ignorant or rude because I find it so hard to interact or make small talk, so I try to explain myself. I’ve been told that this can be endearing and frightening in equal measure… But it does mean that I can sort out the ‘good’ people (the people I might have a chance at relating to) very quickly.

  • Rebekah Layne Anderson

    My adult son is an introvert and has always been. I have never understood his behavior until recently when I’ve really tried to listen to the tidbits he’ll sometimes share. His outlet in his quiet moments has become beautiful poetry, which he won’t share with anyone directly, but which we read when he posts it on one of his blogs. He’s a beautiful spirit and we now enjoy his personality. He struggled all through high school and now I understand. All those people, all those demands, interrurupting the dialogue going on in his head and heart. I’m basically an introvert, too, but because I’m so much older, I’ve learned to fake it for so many years that most people and even myself would never label me an introvert. In fact, I admire and love my son and respect this part of his personality. I strive to be free like him.

  • Robert

    Thank you for posting this. Every single one of the points describes me perfectly. I always felt something must be wrong with me, so it is comforting to know that there are others who are like I am. Point 7 especially struck a chord with me. It definitely can be a painful reminder of my past failings at attempting to be social when people point out how quiet I am.

  • I’ve spent 54 yrs ” not fitting in “, ” being standoffish “, understanding people from a distance better than they understand themselves, aware of odd looks when I withdraw and just watch, told I think I’m better than everyone else…if only they FELT the TRUTH inside of me!!

  • ALL of these are true for me! 1,4, and 10 especially. I have and EXTREMELY extroverted aquaintance who often makes fun of me by calling me “Eyore” because I’m so quiet. I don’t think he’s ever befriended an introvert before and he mistook my silence for depression. it bothers me incredibly, but hey!-what can you do? 4 is also sooooo true for me! people often mistake me for lacking sincerity when they read what I write or type because it’s much more poetic than my everyday speech. I find that my creative juices flow better when I write or type rather than speak and I can therefore convey my sentiments more accurately. it’s always been that way for me, even when I was in elementary school. I also get really tired and irritable after extended exposure to too many people, specifically at social outings. So, I tend to leave early so that I don’t offend people or drag down their moods with my own. I also agree with “Kieran’s” above comment, I also rush to explain myself, in fear of people misunderstanding me. but I find small talk intimidating, so I stumble over the spew of words that consequently fall out of my mouth after a lull in a conversation, in an attempt to fill the silence. And though-as I mentioned above-I rush to do so, I find it extremely difficult to articulate my feelings. I often struggle to find the “exact word” that will convey my feelings best, and thus take away the value of what I’m saying to whoever I’m saying it to, because they had to sit through a full minute of me searching for one word! this also translates into my school work, with papers that I have to write, because I want to articulate my point as precisely as I can, so I often turn in my assignments late because I needed more time to work on them. nonetheless-I seem to have rambled a bit, sorry (also proving my point of rushing to explain myself but also conveying things best in writing)- this article is a God-send, it’s extremely accurate and a tool i will positively use in the future to explain myself! thank you!

  • Sofia

    All these things have happened in my life and i definitely thought of myself when i read them!We are gifted people but for me the most awkard thing is when i have nothing else to say,this silence makes me feel a boring or not an interesting person which i think its exactly the opposite with introverts

  • It’s amazing what you guys are putting together here with your site and this article describes me to the letter. I really do wish people understood that because I am always being mistaken for boring or anti-social and worst part is, I believe them sometimes. I am neither.

    I completely agree with your point of loud venues or parties are sensory OVERLOAD. I can concur with that based on years of experience and trying to push myself to be more “social”. It is good to have the information put out there, like what you’ve done, to spread the awareness of what is really going on.

    Great post, seriously! We should connect, come check me out! Just search “Toronto Life Coach” on Google, I am studying under Master Life Coach Bruno LoGreco. Keep up the inspiring work!

  • I can relate to that definitely… I found your blog through Tumblr and i’m glad I came across this post.

  • Excellent post. I was writing about it over here and I wanted to embed it using the new embed feature in WordPress 4.4. Are you actively blocking embeds or have you just not updated to 4.4 yet?

  • Pingback: 8 things you shouldn't say to an introvert - Introvert, Dear()

  • Janice Heckert

    I found these very hopeful and 100% accurate. I’m becoming to know my self-awareNess. Thank You! For sharing. God bless you. May you continue do good work.

  • Great Article Jenn! I have many great articles to help people be happy, strong, and with high self-esteem. Here’s my article called: “Depression Is Not A Chemical Imbalance In The Brain”: https://inspireyourselflc.org/2016/04/08/depression-chemical-imbalance/