20 honest confessions of an introvert

introvert honest confessions

As an introvert, I often feel misunderstood. I’ve been called everything from shy and rude to stand-offish, snobbish and disinterested. After first dates, guys have told me they thought I wasn’t interested in them even though I’d had a good time, and once a boss told me I lacked passion and enthusiasm for a job I really liked. In other instances, good friends have told me years later that when we first met, they thought I didn’t like them. Not only does it hurt to hear these things, but these accusations just aren’t true.

I’m not saying I’m a perfect person. Ask anyone who knows me and he or she could relate several stories of times I really was rude or disinterested that had nothing to do with my introversion. I’m a human, it happens. I’m also not saying the world should cater just to me (that really would be rude of me, wouldn’t it?). What I am asking for is a little understanding. In our society that prizes talkativeness and action, it’s easy to unfairly dismiss introverts like me as incompetent or lackluster.

What do I wish people understood about me? Here’s what I’d confess:

1. If I’m not talking, I probably just don’t know what to say. Sometimes in social situations I feel like a deer in headlights. My mind freezes up and I know I should be saying something right now, but I’m too overstimulated to think. It’s basically “introvert brain lock.” Please understand that if I’m quiet, it doesn’t mean I’m not trying. It’s probably just that I’m scrambling internally for some words but nothing intelligible is coming out.

2. I don’t enjoy small talk because it feels fake. That means I might not really get talking until we get to the meat of the conversation—the really good stuff. Also it baffles me that, as a society, we feel the need to talk just to make noise. Isn’t the world noisy enough already? What I really crave is getting rid of any distractions, sitting down with just one other person and really talking about life and what it all means. This kind of authentic, honest conversation (not small talk) is what actually makes me feel connected to other humans.

3. Or, not talking could mean I’m concentrating on something else. I like focusing on just one thing at a time rather than multi-tasking. When I’m, say, writing an email at work or driving to an unfamiliar place, I have a hard time paying attention to what I’m doing and carrying on a conversation at the same time. Not sure if you should talk or be quiet? Just ask. I’ll try to remember to do my part, too, and tell you when I need silence.

4. I wish people wouldn’t comment on my quietness. For some reason, people think stating the obvious will draw me out but this really just makes me feel even more self-conscious.

5. Even if I’m having fun, socializing drains me. After a long, people-filled day at work or a busy weekend, it’s essential for me to turn off, be alone, and unwind. It’s like I have a battery (a small one) that holds only so much juice for interacting with the outside world. When my battery is drained, I turn inward to recharge it. Don’t think my solitude means I’m upset or annoyed with you. It just means I need to tend to my own needs and do what I do best—think and reflect in a calm environment.

6. High-energy people exhaust me. How do they talk so much? Where does their energy come from? After spending time with high-energy people, I need extra time to recharge alone.

7. I react to things internally, so my face can be a deceptively poor display of how I actually feel. I might tell you I’m fine, but what you don’t see is that I’m wrestling with a tumult of thoughts and emotions inside. Even when happy things happen, like getting a great birthday present, I don’t gush. Not wearing my heart on my sleeve means most people don’t realize how sensitive I really am. Another complicating factor is sometimes I don’t know how I feel about something until I can be alone and let the thoughts and emotions tumble around inside me for a while. Want to know what I really think and feel? Ask me later, privately, after I’ve had time to process. Better yet, let me write about my thoughts.

8. I’m uncomfortable making snap decisions. The introvert’s brain is made for reflection and rumination. I like having time to think things through.

9. I’m a slow texter. I get it. Sometimes I just don’t have the energy, or I’m not in the right frame of mind to respond immediately. Plus I don’t like being tethered to my smartphone—there are so many other things to experience, either in my immediate environment or in the world inside my mind, and I especially dislike being pulled away from the latter. Please know I still value you and I’ll respond soon. I make a point to not be rude or blow off others, but sometimes, especially when my mind is really consumed with something, I need some grace. Texting me repeatedly is not the answer.

10. I feel uncomfortable speaking in groups. I don’t like raising my hand in a big class, I cringe when job interviews are conducted by an entire team or department, and I don’t “go around the circle and share.” These situations are overstimulating and nerve-wracking because all the attention is zeroed in on me (many extroverts actually perform better in high-pressure situations like these, but not so for us introverts). Of course, I force myself to speak up from time to time, but please understand that this feels uncomfortable and unnatural for me. If I pause for what seems like an eon, then spew a spastic rush of half-formed sentences and disconnected thoughts, please be understanding.

11. I do better socializing one-on-one. Being with just one other person is less stimulating for this introvert’s sensitive system. Plus it allows me to focus deeply on just one thing—you. When it’s just the two of us, you might be surprised how much more talkative and animated I am.

12. Sorry, I can’t hang out tonight because I have plans. I’m peopled out and I just need some time alone. My plans are with myself (yes, I consider these to be actual plans), and they include watching Netflix in my pajamas, surfing the Internet, listening to music in bed, reading, or doing little things around my place.

13. (Even though I said no to hanging out, thank you for asking. Introverts need to feel accepted and liked, too.)

14. Another reason I’m not talking? I don’t “think out loud” like extroverts do. Instead I process things internally, then speak when I’ve arrived at some conclusion. I do my best thinking—and my best work—when it’s quiet and no one interrupts my spider web of thoughts.

15. In job interviews, I’m more competent than I appear. Sometimes I have a hard time explaining what I know, especially if it’s a high-pressure situation. This goes back to that whole “brain lock” thing. I may get tongue-tied and struggle for words even when asked questions that I should easily be able to answer. Don’t judge how good of an employee I’ll be solely on my ability to articulate myself. You’ll find that not only am I competent but also I’ll be more chatty and coherent when we get to know each other better.

16. I deeply value my friendships, even though I can be bad at keeping in touch. Sometimes I get lost in my own world and forget to reach out to others.

17. I like spending time alone, but sometimes my solitude becomes loneliness. Every once in a while, I realize I’ve been in my introvert bubble for too long. I appreciate friends who are understanding of my need for space but who also can draw me out in conversation and get me out of the house when I’m ready to take on the world.

18.  Reason #2574 why I’m not talking right now: when I don’t sleep well or I’m sick, I become even more withdrawn and quiet. I promise I’m not annoyed with you. My “people” energy is even more limited when I’m not functioning optimally.

19. Every once in a while, I wish I were an extrovert. There, I said it. When I see them out on a Saturday night with their entourage of friends, talking and navigating the social scene so easily, I wish I could have that same kind of fun. It’s not that I don’t have fun (trust me, I do), it’s just that it seems to happen a lot more naturally for extroverts.

20. But in reality, I’m just beginning to understand how to harness my quiet strengths. I don’t really want to change who I am. Please accept me as is, and don’t try to mold me into an extrovert. Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, wisely wrote, “Don’t think of introversion as something that needs to be cured.”

Are you an introvert? What’s your personality type? We recommend this free, quick test from our partner Personality Hacker.

Read this: If you love an introvert

Get an email every time we write about life as an introvert.



14 Comments

  • Ellie says:

    Thank you for this! So true!

  • bleu profondeur says:

    I’m a so-called bubbly introvert, an INFJ who talks. A lot. But is equally drained be it and by people. I want to be alone!!! I just want to be cooped up in a remote cabin on a remote island somewhere in Scotland or something, reading a good book and having a lovely, warm cup of tea. I feel I should maybe make the equivalent list as above only for a talkative INFJ, an INFJ who texts faster than most people, talks too much and according to others seem extremely competent and confident in interviews and converstations. Hm, yes. I definitely need to make a list. For the bubbly, high sensation/novelty seeking, highly sensitive and exhausted INFJ.

    • judyB says:

      I feel you should as well 😀
      I’m on your spectrum on INFJ and, in some respects, I think we have it a little worse than the less chat, slow text spectrum. This is due to people expecting the bubbly, outgoing, chatty person all the time and completely misunderstanding when the need for quiet and solitude is overwhelming. It’s also hard to explain to people the aspect of being physically unable to speak when in that silent, mulling space.
      Great article and list though – thank you

    • Christy says:

      Yes, please. Much as I appreciate and enjoy these lists, they do tend to lump all introverts together, as if we all are or must all be exactly alike, which leads to a yet another feeling of alienation when one doesn’t fall in line with them.

    • BoTigga says:

      Couldn’t have said it better myself. 🙂

  • I am introvert, loner with wild and vivid imagination and creativity and highly sensitive person. During my childhood I always wanted to be in my own company after being in a classroom with 30 other kids and once a week it felt enough to be with one friend. One or two friends for me is already enough as my energy is so directed on the creative ideas and imaginative solutions. Yet during my childhood I got pushed and bullied by my family members to be someone I am not and I constantly heard the question “What is wrong with you?” It got internalized and I have spend my 20s with this question inside me and hating my inner nature and self and directing my energy on being someone I am now – an extrovert. yet I have been looking for the answers during this time and found meditation and positive affirmations. One affirmation helped me is I love,appreciate and accept my true authentic self. Saying this as a consequence lead to release of all mental programming I have received during my childhood from those around and the inner emotions attached to them. Now I am growing stronger and stronger in the positive and loving way of myself and my nature. And the question I have received during my childhood What is wrong with you? have been transformed into a new one “What is right with me?” There are so many things that are right and beautiful about my natural true Self…. Thank you dearly for this magical, beautiful and so giving article. It is a true gem !
    Love and Light Vivian

  • thank you for voicing this out. 🙂

  • Elaine says:

    I teared a little while reading this. Not because I feel sorry for myself, but because I’m so touched by the fact that this article put into words so accurately how I feel all the time. I often wonder what is wrong with me and why am I not like the others. Turns out I’m just an INFJ 🙂

    • Annamotion says:

      Me too! I can’t describe the feeling I get when someone ACTUALLY UNDERSTANDS. I’ve only recently begun finding articles like this. I felt very alone in the world and, like you, wondered if something was wrong with me…then I found out I was an INFJ. It was a huge turning point in my life. My whole mindset shifted 🙂

  • Annamotion says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us. I relate to almost all of what you said

  • Livia says:

    Love this! I can relate so much.

  • I’ve found it valuable to learn a few social situation skills that make things easier.
    1. Approach people first, smile like you’re really happy, look in their eyes, extend your hand to shake, and introduce yourself. Don’t wait to be approached.
    2. Have a few stock conversation starting questions in mind before you attend an event, such as, “Have you been here before?” or “How do you and (the hostess, your mutual friend, etc.) know each other?” or “What’s your favourite food from this buffet? Mine is the shrimp.”
    3. Carry a pair of earplugs in your purse or pocket. When the noise level gets too much, head for the bathroom, pop the earplugs in your ears, and de-stress for 5-10 minutes.
    4. Leave when you feel yourself wearing down. Trying to tough it out will only leave you exhausted.

  • Sandra says:

    Many people in college told me they thought I was bitchy before getting to know me. Not only am I an introvert with resting bitch face, I say very little in social situations with a lot of people I don’t know. Having grown up in a very large family, I’ve learned how to speak up in large groups, although I only do so when I have a very specific purpose, usually a complicated question. I despise job interviews for the same reason you do, but know now that if I thoroughly prepare responses to questions I can present my true self better. I am NOT a morning person, even when I’m well-rested and if I’m not, you better not press my buttons! I also very much dislike saying or responding “good morning” to every single co-worker when I first arrive at work. What I’ve learned through some bouts of depression in my life is to fake it ’til you make it and use affirmations… they’ll get you through some difficult times! I’m terrible at keeping in touch with my best friends who live far away, but often get very lonely. I relate to SO many of these!

  • Amanda says:

    This is sooo On Point! Thanks Jenn I’m really enjoying your site!

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply