Hi, I’m Jenn Granneman, your classic introvert. What’s that, you say? You’ve never heard of me? To be honest, it’s probably by design. I feel more comfortable behind a computer screen typing my words than saying them out loud. I’m a homebody — even before Covid-19 — and that’s the way I like it. I love spending time alone, just me, a good book, and some quiet.
There are many things I’d like people to understand about me as an introvert, but in reality, I’ll probably never get the chance (or courage) to say them out loud. So, here are 15 of those things. If you can relate, let’s be friends. But, like, friends who are okay with just staying home.
Confessions of an Introvert
1. I find most of the things that people talk about to be boring.
I’m sorry if that sounds rude. I don’t mean to be. I’m just trying to be honest here, and the truth is, what typically passes for polite conversation just doesn’t interest me. The weather. What you got on sale at Target. Celebrity gossip. Sure, most people don’t enjoy small talk, introvert or not, and would rather get to more important matters. But we “quiet ones” hold a special place of distaste for it in our hearts, as we tend to be word minimalists who only speak when we feel we have something of real value to contribute. It’s about conserving our energy. Like most introverts, I’d rather have one small, silly moment of connection with someone than a thousand shallow ones.
2. I want to be left alone most of the time.
I love my friends and family. I really do! Just like any other human being on this planet, I need some social interaction to thrive. But there’s something about being alone that feels so good. For me, I spend my alone time reading, writing, organizing my environment, or sometimes just wasting time on my phone. As an introvert, being alone gives me energy, especially when I’m immersed in a deep state of flow.
One of the benefits of being an introvert is I don’t constantly need other people to entertain me. Once again, if I’m being completely honest, the activities that most people do to socialize — parties, group outings, networking events — leave me exhausted to the point of crankiness and overwhelm.
3. I may make up an excuse not to go, even if I have nothing else going on.
As an introvert, my mind is naturally always making plans. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t have at least a general idea of what I want to accomplish. If I planned to stay home and “do nothing,” then that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Sure, I’ve been known to be spontaneous (probably when I planned time in my schedule to do so), but the last thing I want to do with my appointed “me time” is throw on real pants with little warning and meet you at the bar. That’s when, even though I technically have “nothing” going on, I might tell a white lie.
4. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed from socializing that I cry.
A few years ago, I planned my dream trip to Seattle with three good friends. We had a blast exploring Pike Place Market and the city’s famous underground tunnels. Then, just three days in, I found myself bursting into tears in a coffee shop. Even though I was having fun, I hadn’t had any alone time, and I was exhausted. Introverts can love “their people” and feel completely drained by them at the same time.
5. I’ve hidden in smelly public restrooms and I’m not ashamed.
It’s how I hid my crying attack in #4, and it’s what I do anytime my social battery has nothing left to give.
6. So much of what happens in my head is noise.
Sure, I have those deep introvert thoughts about life on other planets and the contradictory nature of humanity. Other times, this introverted superpower goes too far in the wrong direction, and I end up with mental noise: replaying an argument with my significant other, fixating on a minor problem, or spiraling into anxiety over something my doctor said. No, introverts are not immune to negative thoughts, overthinking, depression, and anxiety — even though our minds are our favorite places to be.
7. I really only like a few people.
I have a small social circle in part because I’m an introvert who prefers it that way — it’s easier on my energy — but also because I simply don’t meet a lot of people I click with. I love when I meet people I click with.
8. I often feel like I’m faking it when I socialize.
Make eye contact. Use your “loud-confident” voice. Ask her questions to get her talking about herself and take the spotlight off you. There are many tricks I’ve learned over the years to appear more friendly and confident, but they are just that — learned tricks. As an introvert, “peopling” will never feel completely natural to me.
9. I’m better than my first impression.
An extroverted friend once revealed that she thought I was — and I quote — “a bitch” when she first met me. I certainly wasn’t trying to be rude, nor did I dislike here; I was just being my typical quiet self, holding back and observing the group until I felt comfortable. Like many introverts, it takes time for my real personality to come out. We’re good friends now, but I wonder how many others have passed judgement on me too quickly simply because I’m quiet.
10. Group conversations move too quickly for my introverted brain to keep up.
Many introverts need time to think before speaking, due to the way our brains are wired. Sometimes I really do want to contribute to a group conversation — it’s on a topic I care about, or I’m having fun — but my brain feels like it’s running on dial-up while everyone else uses high-speed.
11. I’m bad at showing how I feel.
Once, a boss sat me down in her office and told me I “lacked passion” for a years-long career that I was deeply invested in (I was an elementary school teacher). Many other times, men I’ve had crushes on or dated had no idea that I was into them. Like many introverts, I keep my feelings on the inside, and often, it just doesn’t occur to me to let them out. It’s something I’m working on.
12. Sometimes I wish I could disappear for the day.
Work. My partner. My friends. Some days, what I want more than anything in the world is to slink off to a sunny corner and be left alone. But I often can’t take the alone time I need, because life doesn’t stop, and the people around me depend on me. It’s easy to talk about self-care, and another thing entirely to make it work under the demands of real life.
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13. I inwardly cheer every time my partner has plans.
We’re both introverts, so we end up at home a lot in our small apartment together. I love him, but even in the best relationships, introverts need their space. When he leaves to hang out with friends, I’m in introvert heaven — although I try to hide just how big my smile is.
14. You can cancel plans on me last minute. Really.
Even though I may say, “Oh, that’s too bad!”, most of the time, I’m pretty excited to unexpectedly have free time to myself. Just don’t do it too often; if we made plans together, I probably do really want to see you.
15. I wish I was better at keeping in touch.
To all the people in my life: I am truly, madly, deeply grateful for you. You make my world go round, even though I’m not the best at showing it. I’m sorry I’m so bad at picking up the phone; I get lost in my own introvert world. To be honest, I wish I were better at keeping in touch. Thank you for remembering this quiet introvert, having patience with me, and reaching out.
Introverts, what would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments below.