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 only works if you’re an extrovert is 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 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 an introvert. Fellow introverts, 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. I’m not meaning 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 easier for them to chat with strangers and make new friends, but for me, I need about a month’s notice before actually meeting the person. And even if I do get informed earlier, I would still probably not be prepared when the day actually comes.

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

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.

However, as much as I enjoy being alone, I still crave love and affection from another human being. 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.

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 them short answers like “oh” and “yeah.”

In truth, I’m extremely afraid of small talk. 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 struggles with 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. I’ll gladly answer those questions without feeling awkward.

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

There are only a handful of people that I feel comfortable being around, and I almost always hang out with them. I wish that I had more people that I could hang out with, but this goes back to #1 — I feel uncomfortable when 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.

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.

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

I love my 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 cannot 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. As an introvert, I just tend to overthink and over-analyze everything.

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.

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 of course, the assessment was to give a presentation about anything 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 so bad, stuttered, and forgot what I wanted to say. 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 a presentation, I did poorly.

I don’t do well when people’s full attention is on me. I hate people looking at me like that — all that attention overstimulates and overwhelms me. It makes me feel naked and vulnerable and I want to cry.

8. I’m an emotional person but I don’t know how 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 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, has helped immensely.

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 world, nevertheless. 

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Written By

I’m an introvert who is passionate about social issues, pop culture, and my dogs. During my free time, I like to write, sing (only when I’m 100 percent sure that no one can hear me), read, and listen to music. Someday I’d like to pursue a postgraduate degree in Gender Studies.