These “weird” introvert behaviors are more normal and common than many people realize.
Before I realized that I’m an introvert, certain things about my behavior seemed… well… “different.” I felt guilty about typical introvert stuff — like wanting to spend time alone and avoiding small talk — because it seemed “abnormal.” This guilt, of course, only served to magnify my feelings of shame about my introverted self. In turn, I became insecure and self-conscious in social situations.
My confidence grew when I looked deeper into who I am and decided to fully embrace my introverted self. Finally, I realized, the things that I felt ashamed of are not actually wrong. They are totally normal for me — and for any introvert.
If you’re an introvert like me, you probably have feelings you’ve never told anyone about because you think these feelings are not “right.” However, I want to show you that certain emotions and needs are completely OK for us, and we should never feel ashamed about them. So, here are six “weird” things that many introverts do that are more common than you may realize. In other words, if you do these things, you’re not alone.
‘Weird’ Things Only Introverts Do
1. You feel strangely relieved when someone cancels their plans with you.
Sure, introverts love spending time alone. It’s essentially our defining characteristic. However, there are occasional times — and I repeat, occasional — when we want to hang out with people, especially if they are close friends. Even the most introverted among us need a few strong relationships to thrive. While such get-togethers may only happen once or twice a week (or less!), when they do, we may be truly waiting for the opportunity to spend time with “our people.”
But introverts, let’s be honest. We also experience this other strange feeling — let’s call it relief — when social plans are canceled. If you’re like me, this emotion is something you keep to yourself. You’ll never tell your friend that her last-minute text is actually a piece of good news! For extroverts, who gain energy from socializing, canceled plans usually mean a ruined evening. But for introverts — although we may experience temporary disappointment if we were looking forward to the event — it often turns into a wonderful opportunity to spend a nice evening at home with a good book… or podcast, movie, video game, or whatever.
If you’ve ever felt happy about canceled plans, there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re probably an introvert.
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2. You avoid overly chatty salespeople, sometimes to the point of leaving the store without buying what you came for.
The best shopping for the introvert is online shopping. Spending time in a huge, loud shopping mall crowded with people is not a comfortable situation for us. What could be worse?
I’ll tell you what’s worse: being in an empty store with a chatty salesperson who insists on hovering around to “help” with your choice. Sure, it’s meant as good customer service, but this situation rarely makes me feel comfortable as an introvert. The pressure, the attention — I just want to pick out my pair of headphones in the way that I make most decisions — quietly, in the peace of my own mind! For this reason, if I have to go to a store, I prefer the ones where I can stay invisible, walking around without being approached. Sometimes, when I can’t find the item I am looking for, I give up and leave rather than having to ask a salesperson.
If you regularly make a point of avoiding small talk with salespeople, you’re probably an introvert.
3. You don’t leave your home until your neighbor is gone.
Has this happened to you? You’re about to leave your home when you hear or see your neighbor in the hallway or outside. Although you have keys in hand (and you may even be running late!), you suddenly find yourself frozen in place at your front door. I will admit that I have even gone so far as to watch my neighbors through the peephole until they left and my path was clear.
The funny thing is, your neighbor might be a wonderful person, and this is not at all an attempt to escape from someone who you don’t like. As introverted as I am, sometimes I enjoy chatting with my neighbors when my social battery is full. Despite the memes, introverts don’t hate people, but they do hate being forced into awkward small talk, which quickly drains our energy. I repeat: It’s not that I don’t like you, it’s that my energy levels just can’t take any more fake smiling and “how are you’s?” today.
If you’ve ever hidden from your neighbor to avoid a polite conversation, you’re not alone.
4. You pretend not to see an acquaintance in public.
Like I said, most introverts have nothing against other people — we’re just not always mentally ready for the conversation. Interacting with others requires a certain mood and being “charged up” with energy. It means leaving our favorite place — the internal dialogue in our minds. Sometimes introverts have a funny way of avoiding the spotlight or escaping unnecessary conversations. A typical situation: You’re getting groceries. Everything is going smoothly as you meander around the store. Then you spy an old acquaintance somewhere between the milk and the yogurt.
If you’re an introvert, your first reaction might be to get away as fast as possible, before this person spots you. You think: “I just came here to get groceries, not to have conversations with people!” So you simply change your direction and pretend that you didn’t need any milk. So much for tomorrow’s breakfast — but sometimes it’s a sacrifice introverts are willing to make!
5. You avoid being alone with people who you don’t know well.
It’s happened to all of us. You’re hanging out with a good friend (someone who you feel comfortable with, which is a rare occurence for us introverts), when suddenly, your friend’s acquaintance shows up. First, it might feel OK, as you patiently listen to their small talk and look for a way to join the conversation. Then your friend’s phone rings or he leaves to use the bathroom.
Now you have to start a conversation with the other person, by moving from passive listener to active speaker — a challenge that was not at all planned! It might seem like a small thing, but for me, it can feel very awkward, as introverts generally need time to warm up to new people. I always feel so relieved when my friend comes back and takes over the conversation.
Do you ever struggle to know what to say?
As an introvert, you actually have the ability to be an amazing conversationalist — even if you’re quiet and hate small talk. To learn how, we recommend this online course from our partner Michaela Chung. Click here to check out the Introvert Conversation Genius course.
6. You’d do almost anything to write an email instead of making a phone call.
Why call when you can write? As an introvert, I apply this rule to all situations. At work, if my manager needs some information and asks me to call a colleague in another department, I never do. Instead, I send an email or a text. Sometimes my manager gets impatient: “Have you found out about ___?” That’s when I might tell a white lie, saying, “Nobody picked up, so I had to write an email.”
I hope this shows you just how much I, like many introverts, hate talking on the phone. I used to think there was something wrong with me, but now I’ve accepted that this behavior is simply the most comfortable way for me to deal with such situations. There are indeed times when a call is inevitable, so I suck it up and pick up the phone — but in most cases, emailing works just fine. The same trick applies to other services. There’s almost always a way to contact a company via their website chat bot or email. Less phone stress = happier introvert!
Introverts, I believe the most important thing for us to do is to embrace any of our quirks that may seem weird to other people. You’re not “wrong” for being an introvert. It’s OK to save your limited energy and to avoid unnecessary interactions that will drain you. With that said, it’s also important for us to communicate our needs to other people, to be thoughtful about their feelings and expectations, and to get our work done. If you are doing these things, then you should in no way feel guilty for having some “weird” introvert moments.
I used to feel ashamed of myself in these situations, but now I know what’s best for me, so I act accordingly. I have embraced who I am, and sometimes I even find myself laughing at my funny introvert moments.
What “weird” things do you do as an introvert? Let me know in the comments below.