If you’re an introvert, you’re acutely aware of the fact that we live in a noisy, extroverted world. As Susan Cain pointed out in Quiet, Western culture is dominated by the “extrovert ideal,” which is the belief that the “best” person is outgoing, sociable, and comfortable being in the spotlight.
But introverts make up 30-50 percent of the U.S. population, and if you ask them, a lot of those “extroverted” behaviors are pretty annoying. I asked introverts which ones irritate them the most. Here’s what they told me. What would you add to this list?
‘Extroverted’ Behaviors That Annoy Introverts
1. Showing up at your desk unannounced with lots of questions
You’re minding your own business at work when BAM, your extroverted coworker appears out of nowhere — and she’s got a lot of questions. This scenario is annoying for introverts on several levels. For one, introverts tend to focus deeply, so when they’re suddenly forced to shift their attention elsewhere, it can be like trying to swim back to shore, except the lake’s made of peanut butter. And, once interrupted, it can be difficult for them to find their way back to their original thoughts. Plus, there are few things introverts hate more than being put on the spot and pressured to answer right now. Introverts may rely more on long-term memory than working memory (extroverts may do the opposite), so they need extra time to think and respond.
2. Loud talking
Sometimes it’s fun to be loud, like when you’re singing along with the radio in your car. But when loud is the default setting of your workplace, home, or school, it gets obnoxious for introverts fast. Simply put, introverts don’t thrive on excess stimulation like extroverts do, so when there’s a group of loud talkers, expect some serious side eye.
3. Unexpected phone calls
Like a crying baby or a barking dog, a ringing phone demands your attention right now. Unexpected calls leave introverts no time to mentally prepare to be “on.” Thankfully, texting and email are becoming the norm — but we all have that one extroverted friend who still hasn’t figured this out.
4. Invading your personal space
Some people love getting close. It’s more exciting that way! But a lack of personal space, especially in a public setting, can push an introvert over the edge. That’s because they’re more prone to overstimulation than others — and what’s more overstimulating than a personal space invader?
5. Constant intense eye contact
For some introverts, this results in too much stimulation. They’re already picking up on and processing every little detail, from the subtle change in your tone of voice to your most minute facial expressions. Intense eye contact may be so overstimulating that they can’t process what you’re saying unless they look away and focus their attention elsewhere for a moment — but there’s no escaping the zealous gaze of some extroverts!
6. False assumptions about introverts
To some people, “introvert” is still a dirty word. It means you have no friends. You’re shy. You’re antisocial. The truth is that introverts enjoy spending time with friends, too, especially the close relationships they’ve stretched to make. Introverts just have to socialize on their own terms.
7. Feeling the need to fill the silence with things that don’t matter while not caring to talk about the things that do matter
For introverts, it doesn’t get more annoying than a parade of empty small talk.
Some people are open books about their lives, so they don’t realize that many introverts are private and feel incredibly self-conscious when others lay bare their intimate details.
9. Monopolizing the conversation
Many introverts are good listeners who avoid interrupting others. But this doesn’t mean they don’t want to talk at all. They likely have a topic they want to talk about, but they’re waiting for the other person to ask them a question about it — so they know they’re actually interested. For introverts, it’s extremely annoying when someone shares every little detail about their life but doesn’t ask them any questions in return.
Drama is exhausting. That’s one reason many introverts choose a small circle of friends over a big network — and why they love spending time alone.
11. A “look at me” attitude
Introverts just don’t get it. Why would you purposely draw lots of attention to yourself?
12. When someone won’t do something on their own
Many introverts have no problem doing things on their own, like running errands, exercising, or being in a public place. Generally, they don’t need others to entertain them because they enjoy their own company just fine, thankyouverymuch. When someone can’t do something on their own — and insists that you go with them — this annoys introverts.
13. Not respecting your personal conversations
Similar to #8. You tell someone something personal about your life that you think is just between the two of you — and then they bring it up to the group. Now everyone’s all up in your business, making you the dreaded center of attention.
14. Assuming that because you have no plans, you’re free to hang out — when in reality, you planned to do nothing
“Nothing” is how introverts recharge their energy.
15. Spontaneous “let’s hang out” invitations
Some introverts like to draw firm lines around their time, for example, “alone time,” “social time,” and “work time.” A spontaneous gathering can throw off their whole week because they end up using all their energy to socialize and not having much leftover to do what they’d planned. And then they’re not only tired, but also annoyed because they missed out on what they really wanted to do.
16. Constantly asking, “Are you okay?” because you’re not smiling 100 percent of the time
Seriously, this is just my face.
17. Constant mindless chatter
So many words. So little value.
18. Listening only with the intention of replying…
…instead of trying to understand what you’re saying.
19. The assumption that everyone needs to act extroverted
One person’s party might be an introvert’s worst nightmare. But that doesn’t mean introverts are broken and need to be fixed. Introverts enjoy life in their own quiet way — and there’s nothing wrong with that.
You might like:
- 25 Illustrations That Perfectly Capture the Joy of Living Alone as an Introvert
- 12 Things Introverts Absolutely Need to Be Happy
- Why Highly Sensitive People Get Mentally and Emotionally ‘Flooded’
- The 4 Most Stressful Work Situations for Introverts, Illustrated
- 8 Confessions of an Introvert Living in a World Made for Extroverts
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