8 Confessions of an Introvert Living in a World Made for Extroverts

An introvert makes some heartfelt confessions.

Being an introvert in a world that generally only works smoothly if you’re an extrovert can be extremely difficult. You’re expected to perform well in large groups, to frequently socialize, to speak up confidently, and to be outgoing. Being expected to do all that when you’re a highly introverted person (me!) is at times mentally and also physically straining.

Here are eight heartfelt confessions about me as a highly introverted person. Fellow “quiet ones,” can you relate?

Confessions of an Introvert

1. If I come across as rude, it’s probably because I’m uncomfortable.

It’s easy for others to assume that I don’t like people because I don’t talk or smile much when I first meet someone. It’s never my intention to be rude or cold, it’s just that there are a thousand things running through my head at the moment, like, “What should I say?” “What do you think of me?” and “Do I look like a hot mess right now?” And so on.

I’m quiet around the people I don’t know well, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like them. I’m just very uncomfortable when meeting new people. Honestly, sometimes just being around new people overwhelms me and I freeze up.

For my extroverted friends, it’s easy for them to chat with strangers and make new friends at a moment’s notice. But for me, it’s like I need a month in advance to mentally prepare! And even if I did get informed earlier, I would still probably not be ready when the day actually came.

2. I love being alone but I hate the loneliness.

As an introvert, I enjoy doing things by myself. I go shopping on my own. I go to coffee shops on my own. I go to the movies on my own — and I love it.

However, as much as I relish being alone, there are times when I crave love and affection from other human beings. Although I say that I don’t mind doing all those things alone, sometimes I wish I actually had someone to do all those things with me.

You know, doing what friends do.

You see, no one likes being lonely, even if they’re highly introverted. We “quiet ones” need people in our life, too.

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3. I despise making small talk.

I despise small talk because I don’t know how to act around small talk. Usually, when people engage me in chitchat, they again think I’m rude because I only give short answers like “oh” and “yeah.”

Little by little, I’m getting better at making small talk, because I understand that it’s an expected part of life. But in truth, I’m extremely afraid of it. It makes my heart beat fast, and often, I later think about how I acted in the conversation, and I hate myself for not knowing what to say or do. I know not every introvert experiences anxiety, but it’s my reality every day.

I actually prefer deep conversations straight away.

Ask me what I think of the new government. Ask me what I think of Freud. Ask me if I think global warming is real. Ironically, I can answer those questions without feeling the least bit awkward.

4. I wish I had a few more close friends.

I have a small group of good friends. They are people who I feel comfortable being around, so I almost always hang out exclusively with them. But if I’m being completely honest, I wish I had more people that I could hang out with. Yet this goes back to #1 — I feel uncomfortable meeting new people.

Honestly, there are times when I wish people would come talk to me instead of me going up to talk to them. That may seem like a strange thing for an introvert to say, but it’s easier for me when other people take the lead in social situations.

And with this mentality, I finished four years of college with hardly any friends. I may say that, as an introvert, I’m fine with that, but I actually regret not making more of an effort to meet some people. Again, it’s a skill I’m working to improve, but like any new skill, it takes time.

5. Even though I love him, dealing with my extroverted boyfriend can be extremely stressful at times.

I love my extroverted boyfriend but sometimes it drains me to be with him.

He often wants to do things that I would not do in a million years, and he struggles to understand why I’d rather stay home than go out and “explore,” as he calls it. He wants me to meet all of his friends and family, but I get extremely anxious just thinking about doing that. And the worst part is he usually tells me about social plans last minute, which gives me no time to prepare and calm myself down.

He thinks that I’m overreacting. But there was one time when I hyperventilated so hard at the thought of meeting his family that I couldn’t breathe.

But in the end, I did meet his family, and they were extremely welcoming. Actually, everything went fine. As an introvert, I tend to overthink and over-analyze things, and often, they don’t turn out as bad as I imagined they would.

6. I stay home to avoid the sensory overload.

People overwhelm me, especially a large crowd of them at a restaurant, bar, or mall. So I often stay home to avoid them. Even when there’s nothing for me to do at home, I still might not go out because I cannot deal with the sensory overload from stepping outside my house. It’s not that I hate all those people, it’s the noise and the flurry of activity that I hate.

7. I perform poorly when I have people’s full attention on me.

I took German as a foreign language when I was in college, and the final assessment was to give a presentation about any topic in German. I would say that my German is actually pretty good, but when it came to the presentation, it suddenly felt like I had never encountered that language in my life.

I screwed up, stuttered, and completely forgot what I wanted to say, even though I had practiced for hours. My heart beat so fast that I swear the only thing I could hear was my own heart beating.

Not only in German class, but also in my other modules that required an in-class presentation, I struggled.

Taking tests, absorbing lectures, and writing essays came easily to me. And I often found myself thinking about the class material long after class was over. But as an introvert, I don’t do well when people’s full attention is on me. I hate people looking at me like that — all that attention simply overstimulates me. It makes me feel naked and vulnerable, and I just want to cry.

8. I’m an emotional person but I struggle to show it.

I’m extremely emotional, but sometimes I just don’t know how to express myself. As an introvert, I keep a lot of my thoughts and feelings to myself — but then they end up coming out in strange or awkward ways. When I get really upset, I might shut everyone out and cry on and off for days. When I’m angry, I might take it out on some innocent person who happens to be within my reach (usually my poor, unsuspecting boyfriend). Learning to control my own emotions and not let them control me, as well as taking meditation classes, is helping me immensely. It’s a process, but I’m getting there.

It isn’t easy being an introvert living in a world geared toward extroverts. But as I learn more about my introversion — and give myself permission to be myself — I’m finding ways to navigate this loud world nevertheless. And you can too, dear introvert.

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