14 things introverts still wish you understood

world introvert day understood

If you ever needed an excuse to stay home and do nothing, today you have it. Today is World Introvert Day (Jan. 2), and this “holiday” is all about relaxing and recovering from the exhausting social activities of the previous month.


Although not an official holiday, World Introvert Day has been enthusiastically celebrated by introverts 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 for extroverts.

Introversion has gotten a lot of positive attention lately, but many introverts still feel misunderstood. Here are 14 things we still wish people understood about us:

1. Just because we’re not talking doesn’t mean we’re upset or depressed. Introverts tend to be thinkers rather than talkers. We don’t enjoy making small talk and we prefer to speak only when we really have something to say. If we go quiet on you, don’t take it personally.

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2. We like people. Many of us have active social lives. When we’re in our element — and with people we know well — we may even be mistaken for extroverts. However, we get mentally drained (and sometimes even physically tired) from socializing, whereas extroverts feel energized by it. After hanging out, we need a few hours (or days) of downtime to recover.


What’s your personality type? We recommend this free personality test from our partner Personality Hacker.


3. Sometimes we need to separate ourselves from others. We could spend hours (or days) alone and not get bored, because being alone means we get to do what introverts do best — tune in to our inner world. Finally we can relax and do things our way. We’re under no obligation to others and we can stop worrying about what they think and if they’re judging us. Alone time lets us concentrate on our projects and solo hobbies (like reading, writing, art, home improvement, gaming, etc.) without interruptions. We can hear our own inner voice and pay attention to our own feelings — not someone else’s. Being alone is freedom.

4. It’s easier to write our thoughts than explain 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 use short-term memory more), and it takes longer to retrieve the specific words we want from long-term memory. If we “umm” and “ahh” and pause between our words, 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 over quantity. If we’re going to invest in a relationship, we want it to be good, because we have limited “social” 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 you bringing it up is just 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 starting conversations. 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 takes us a while to feel comfortable around new people. We’ve been accused of being aloof or snobbish when meeting new people but this couldn’t be further from the truth. We simply open up slowly. When we’re comfortable with you, our real personality comes out.

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10. Parties and other social events 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 nerve-wracking. If we skip the party or leave early, don’t take it personally.




11. Too much attention overwhelms 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.

12. We dislike talking about ourselves. We tend to be private. We don’t like sharing personal details with other people until we trust them. We’ll talk about ourselves if we have to, but we might be uncomfortable while doing it.

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13. We think. A lot. We have rich inner worlds and vivid imaginations, which fuel our creativity, passion, and ability to solve problems in unique ways: 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.

14. 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.

Not all introverts are the same, so not all these points will apply to every introvert. Which numbers are true for you? Let me know in the comments below or chat with me on the community forumretina_favicon1

Read this: 10 signs you’re an outgoing introvert


Intuitives see the world differently. They aren’t interested in the mundane or day-to-day. They ask, “What if?” They want to create, heal, inspire, or invent. They want to change the world. Only one in four people are intuitive. Are you one of them? Learn more about our partner Personality Hacker’s course just for intuitives.




20 Comments

  • G says:

    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 says:

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

  • Zoey Rain says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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.

  • Kieran says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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!

  • Gloria says:

    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?

  • […] The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, scores of introvert bloggers, and World Introvert Day, most people are familiar with what it means to be an […]

  • Janice Heckert says:

    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/

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