Introverts can be elusive creatures. We may be quiet one moment, then chatty the next, when someone makes us feel comfortable.
It’s taken a lifetime for me to truly embrace my quirky ways. A later-in-life realization that I have always been an introvert meant I finally began to understand myself. It didn’t help that I fall within the “extroverted” introvert end of the scale, as well as being a highly sensitive person.
At times, I can be quiet, but I also thoroughly enjoy the company of my favorite people.
My biggest failure used to be overcommitting to social events… to the point where I would suddenly have to go Buddhist-monk-silent, needing to escape civilization, until I felt like myself again.
Most often, that escape would be to nature, a road trip to the woods for a solo hike, or the most secluded beach I could find. At that point, I felt so energetically drained that I would get annoyed if someone turned up in my hiding spot… Weird much?!
Learning to Embrace My Introvert Weirdness
Now it all made sense! All those times I couldn’t gather the energy to utter one… more… word. And times when I’d have no space left to take on the energy of someone else’s day. I often felt completely drained from my work as a manager and project coordinator for a busy design and print business, being paid to chat and empathize whenever an issue arose. My calm, empathic nature seemed to attract every kind of extroverted person in the vicinity who had a story to tell.
Yet I always had a strong need for space, a craving for quiet time, to just hear my own thoughts and enjoy my own company. Introverts make up about 50 percent of the population, according to estimates, so I’m definitely not alone in this need.
In fact, when I learned about being an introvert, I suddenly felt part of a larger community and a very special picture began to unfold. Try explaining your weird, introverted ways to an extrovert — it only leads to strange looks and confusion.
Thankfully, I know that many of the quirky things that follow will hit home for many of you, and it’ll prove that we introverts are not so weird after all!
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Things Introverts Do That Seem Weird to Others (But Are Not)
1. You sometimes (or almost always) ignore phone calls.
Work and loved ones are my exception to this rule… but in terms of private time, we introverts generally don’t enjoy phone calls. Our brains are just wired differently, and we use a lot of energy to form meaningful sentences before we speak. Since uttering words out loud can be draining for us, we prefer to do this only when we have something of significance to say. (Here’s the science behind why speaking can be difficult for introverts.)
We especially don’t like to feel “on call” if we are in the middle of our downtime. To us, it’s the equivalent of someone calling when we’re in the middle of a very important meeting. (And video calls are probably the most intrusive of all.)
2. You can disappear — and then reappear — at random.
When introverts disappear, it is generally a sign that we have been in “downtime mode.” We need that solitude to recharge our battery. This means we can reappear replenished and ready for the busy world again.
People sometimes see this as flakiness or aloofness, or even rudeness, but it’s actually a form of self-care. We need it to thrive and feel like ourselves again. And if you get to know us, you’ll see that we’re better off after our alone time. (Here’s the science behind why introverts love spending time alone.)
3. You often feel an intense connection to animals. “Crazy cat lady” much?
All jokes aside, I have always loved animals. I’ve come to the realization it is quite likely because introverts can have an extremely affectionate, and reciprocal, relationship with an animal — without conversation.
In some ways, animals understand us best, because they don’t drain our social battery as much as people do. Even on our down days, we can still be in quiet company with an animal. Plus, they “get” us and can sense when something is wrong, which makes them just as empathic as we are.
4. You might hide from people you know at the grocery store.
Again, this one comes back to why we don’t enjoy phone calls or going out in public when we have low energy. Bumping into people when we are not feeling our best is a super-draining experience. It may sound bad, but it is literally because we don’t have the energy reserve left to chat.
Masks throughout the COVID-19 pandemic were a small comfort to me (since in ordinary life, most people don’t walk around wearing disguises). It gave me the opportunity to get things done without unexpected interactions.
5. Yet, other times, you may chat someone’s ear off.
Take this as a compliment: Introverts are complex creatures. We can be extremely outgoing and talkative with people who understand us and make us feel comfortable. Often, we are the listeners in the majority of conversations, so it can be a relief to release some of our own thoughts. This can mean any person you speak with may be an introvert underneath it all. We can be very elusive.
We may also be very conscientious when it comes to our work and doing it well, so may fight our own instincts and act more extroverted temporarily to get the job done. (A lot of us have had to “fake it ‘till we make it” over the years… until we get tired of doing so, that is.)
6. You hate public speaking and team-building exercises at work.
Being in the spotlight is usually our least desired place to be. It may bring about panic attacks and bouts of fear from deep within us. We may do whatever we can to avoid public speaking or “team-building” exercises at work. (In fact, we would quite happily write a 10-page report over speaking in public any day!)
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.
7. You do things on your own a lot.
Being alone comes naturally to us. This solitude may seem exceptionally weird to some, but this comes down to introverts feeling comfortable in their own company. We don’t need to fill silence with chatter or be with people just so as not to be seen as strange. (Believe me, we have enough chatter in our own minds to sustain us.)
Solitude is how we “defrag” our brain and hear what it has to say without all the noise of the world around us. Without others around, we can hear our own thoughts and actually organize and process them.
8. You might not leave your house or bedroom for extended periods of time.
Our home is our sanctuary. It’s where we can embrace quiet time and solely focus on our own needs and projects.
I once lived in a shared house with an exceptionally extroverted roommate. She had a lot of pent-up trauma and frustration from a past relationship that would always come up in conversation when we were in the same room. It became a nightmare and would often result in my hiding in my bedroom until my energy reserves had the capacity to deal with listening to the same story on repeat.
So, if you consider yourself a “quiet one,” then make your home your sanctuary, and you will be one happy little introvert.
You might like:
- 7 Unintentionally ‘Rude’ Things Introverts Do
- The Beauty of Solitude: 10 Reasons Why Introverts Embrace Being Alone
- 6 ‘Weird’ Things Introverts Do That Are Actually Completely Normal
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