26 Small Difficult Things You Have to Deal With When You’re an Introvert

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It’s not easy being an introvert. Little things that don’t bother extroverts — like hanging out in groups, unexpected phone calls, and being put on the spot — can chip away at your energy. That’s because we introverts have a less active dopamine reward system than extroverts, so the things that energize extroverts just don’t excite us as much. In fact, they can be downright draining, leading us to suffer from something known as the “introvert” hangover; this is when we feel tired, irritable, and even physically unwell. But introverts aren’t freaks of nature (even though we may feel that way, especially growing up). Being an introvert is a perfectly normal “thing” to be; studies show that introverts make up about 30-50 percent of the population.

If you’re an introvert, you probably deal with dozens of little annoyances every day — and they all add up. Can you relate to these 26 small difficult things? I can’t speak for every introvert, but I believe this list is generally true:

1. When someone immediately calls you instead of just answering your text.

2. When the teacher says these dreaded words: “This is a group project. No exceptions.”

3. When you’re being quiet because you’re daydreaming or concentrating, or you just don’t have anything to say at the moment, and someone asks, “Are you okay? You look sad/upset.”

4. When you’re trying to read or do something else alone and your roommate or significant other keeps interrupting you with insignificant questions.


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5. When you’re excited that you have nothing to do after work, and then your friend texts and says, “We’re still on for tonight, right?” You completely forgot about the plans you made. There goes your downtime.

6. When you want to leave a party or event because it’s draining, but the person you rode with is having fun and doesn’t want to go yet.

7. When people point out how quiet you are, as if making you feel even more self-conscious will suddenly make you open up.

8. When you show up to your job and work hard every day, but your boss has no idea what your contributions are because you don’t run around tooting your own horn like an extrovert.

9. When you want to talk to someone interesting/attractive, but you have no idea how to start the conversation.

10. When someone keeps talking and talking and you don’t want to be rude and interrupt them, but you’re getting really sick of listening and trying to act supportive.

11. When people think you’re not having fun because you’re being quiet.

12. When people think you’re shy or don’t like them, but that’s not the case at all — it’s because you just met them and haven’t figured out how to interact with them yet.

13. When you’re getting worn out and you go to leave the party or event and someone makes you feel guilty by asking incredulously, “You’re leaving already?”

14. When the teacher calls on you even though you weren’t raising your hand (because you never say much in class and she wants you to feel “included” by getting the chance to “participate”).

15. When your coworkers expect you to eat lunch with them, but you’ve already spent all morning with them and the lunch hour is your only quiet refuge away from people.

16. When you’re so desperate to get away from people for a few minutes that you go to the bathroom.

17. When you host a party or social event in your home but there are those two people who stay long after everyone else has left and just keep talking obliviously.

18. When someone texts you and wants to hang out right now. As in, “I’m almost at your house.” No prior notice.

19. When you want to talk about the universe, the meaning of life, and other deep topics, but everyone is talking about celebs, office gossip, or their weekend plans.

20. When you finally get some time to yourself and you get a call/text notification.

21. You have a lot of online friends, but of course none of the best ones live anywhere near you, so you end up spending Saturday night at home talking to them online. You fantasize about hanging out with them somewhere but it would be so hard to actually make that happen.


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22. When you’re on an airplane or public transportation and the person next to you keeps trying to talk to you, even though you’re reading a book or have headphones in.

23. When your best friend or significant other gets hurt because you don’t want to hang out with them tonight. Seriously, you just want a few hours to yourself to unwind.

24. When you don’t want to go to the party/event, but you don’t know how to turn the person down without sounding like a jerk.

25. When you come home and thought the house would be empty, but your roommate or a family member is unexpectedly there.

26. When you just want to be left alone, but suddenly, that’s when everyone needs you.

What would you add to this list?

Check out my book, The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World, which will be out August 2017.

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Read this: 21 Undeniable Signs That You’re an Introvert


  • Mimi

    I can relate to all of these so much! I’m only a teen, and I’m so glad that I found out that I am an introvert sooner rather than later.

  • Alex

    So true most of them with me 🙂
    I’ve been surprised by numbers 15 and 25, I didn’t thought it was so common as to appear in a list. It also has happenned to me. Thank you for this article.

  • Cactus Horizon

    When friends or coworkers are planning a get-together and don’t invite you, not because they don’t want you there, but because they assume you wouldn’t like it there since you’re pretty introverted, even though you might want to go to something a little outside your comfort zone the odd time, and just end up feeling left out.

    • But if they did invite you, chances are you wouldn’t actually go ? Happens to me at least. I want to be invited and feel included but I don’t really want to go most of the times ? Maybe I’m a reincarnated cat or something!

  • Cactus Horizon

    Also as a single introvert, when your extraverted friends keep going on about how easily they get girls/guys, not realizing how much harder it is when you’re quiet and reserved around new people and it takes a bit longer for someone to get to know you and see your hidden charm.

  • njguy54

    I can relate to all of these, including the ones in the comments. The only questionable one is #17; I think I’d rather set my house on fire than host a party there!

    To me, the worst aspect of being an introvert is being sized up as a “snob”, “conceited” or “having problems” because I’m not talking a mile a minute. As a result, people decide they don’t like you. I’ve even been suspected of having intellectual disabilities. In a world that idolizes the class clown and “strong personalities”, this is outright discrimination.

    • Samantha Green

      I have had similar experiences. Generally speaking people don’t assume that I am conceited they just think I am depressed/ angry (I have a resting witch face). Because my introversion is added to ADD I had a teacher go out of their way to prove that I was a special needs individual. I did struggle in school but it was because I had ADD (i.e. timed multiplication tests) and I was a little, developing INFJ (totally cool spending time by myself, daydreaming).

    • Dawn Marie

      Well said my introverted friend. You so know it. Nobody ever takes the time to find out who you are. As far as they see if you are not the life of the party type, you are the devil. It is incredibly unfair.

      • ReadsALot

        What I don’t understand is why we Introverts can accept being around Extroverts (even though they are annoying at times) but they are extremely uncomfortable being around us.

  • All so true! I don’t think you got anything wrong ?

  • AGWag99

    I do agree 100 percent on all of the points you mentioned about introvert vicissitudes. (Stop asking me out for lunch, people!) However, as a strong INFP (I tested several times over many years and was always very definitely INFP), I struggle with the idea that introverts have a low-functioning dopamine reward system. I notice you have mentioned dopamine as potentially causative in multiple posts. I have a particular MAOA mutation which is known to cause off-the-charts dopamine levels. My highly-introverted father has the same mutation. We are extraordinarily competitive and warrior-like (and I’m female). We do not, however, get dopamine jolts when dealing with people directly, and we avoid competition that is highly public. We do get huge dopamine jolts from completing everyday tasks, so our reward system is extraordinarily sensitive. We both have low serotonin, which is thought to cause social anxiety. Maybe there is a causative factor there?

    My highly-extroverted mother also has the same MAOA mutation, and I have no doubt many people are high dopamine extroverts. Her serotonin is normal.

    Wouldn’t it be fun to take a poll of introverts who have had DNA testing to see what they might have genetically in common by personality type? Wait…has that been done already?

    • Matthew Daley

      …how did u get the information about your serotonin / dopamine levels ?….

      • AGWag99

        Hi, Matthew; do you mean how did I find out about my personal levels or how did I find out about the effects of the mutations?

        • Matthew Daley

          hi AGWag99 🙂 ty for getting back to me….both i guess, i am ferocious about trying to increase my levels of serotonin, dopamine, GABA, oxytocin, but all based on my own observe dysfunctionality + ‘knowledge’ acquired from books and net…..i would LOVE to engage with anything that would let me SEE what ‘baseline’ levels are….so mainly,,,,how did u do that ? …..also, ongoing conversation would be nice, if u might be open to that ?

          • AGWag99

            Hi, Matthew; please send me a note at osceola2370@gmail.com and I would be happy to discuss. Thx.

  • Brittney Lorraine Wixom

    When you’re used to getting up for classes or work with the house quiet but you get up and one of your family members is up early and you don’t get that quiet start to your day.

    • ReadsALot

      Or you need a quiet few minutes to decompress at the end of the day and can’t get it.

    • IBikeNYC

      T. H. E. Worst!

  • Joanne

    I wish I’d known this about myself when I was young. I might not have become a 29-year alcoholic, trying so hard to fit in at gatherings. Our culture has learned to prefer extroverted behavior, and to dislike those who don’t practice it easily.

    • Dawn Marie

      Sorry friend. So much we didn’t know then. And how we suffered! Hope you have kicked the habit though.

    • Matthew Daley

      Hi Joanne, so relate…now 24 years sober….have you seen Introvert Doodles on FB ? sounds trivial / frivolous, i know, but it has so helped me to get to – I AM INTROVERT, AND THAT’S OK….there is a ‘we’, not just an ‘I’, and we are even very funny in our ‘oddness’ – check it out…. i think it will make you laugh, and smile, and feel more accepting of who you / we are 🙂

  • Mary Farris

    Having to call for pizza [talk to stranger] to avoid going out. thank goodness for internet ordering

  • Dawn Marie

    Well said, Jenn. You have captured it all well. Ditto your 26 and I would only add and emphasize njguy54’s comment about being labelled unfairly.

  • AnIndianOnly

    When You are sitting with bunch of people and you don’t know how to leave the conversation without being rude and go back to your burrow.

  • ReadsALot

    I’ve got one: Office Christmas party and the usual cutesy games were being played to win prizes. I was called up to the front along with 2 other people to sing or a recite a poem. Well we were the only Introverts attending and just stood there petrified not a beep coming out of us. When those in charge realized we werent going to perform like they expected us to we were allowed to go back to our seats. That was the last office party I attended!

    I’m 60 and only now am I accepting that I’m an Introvert and it’s okay to be one. It’s simply the way my brain is wired.

    • IBikeNYC

      Yeah; no doubt you were also branded — OMG! — “Not A Team Player” (shudder; gag)!

  • Diane

    When friends get offended when you cancel an event at the last minute because you have had a highly stressful day at work and need serious down-time, and then berate you for not caring enough about them!

  • Johanna Loshchykhina

    I am so happy I found this blog because I’m not an introvert, on the contrary, I am a textbook extrovert, but my husband is, so this helps me understand him even more and learn how to negotiate the social interactions to make his life less uncomfortable.

    And to all those of you who may suffer because they can’t find love, trust me, you will find someone who loves you because of your introversion. It’s one of the best parts of my husband’s personality because, among many other things, it gives me balance and peace. I can’t imagine myself married to another social loud clown like me! It would be too much noise.

    • IBikeNYC

      How in the world did y’all start talking to one another?!

      • Johanna Loshchykhina

        We met at work 🙂

  • Sandra Moyer

    When you’re at work and planning something fun for yourself to do when you get off (like shopping), but when it’s time to get off you realize you just want to go home and settle in with a book or good movie.

  • njguy54

    One of the most torturous memories of my childhood was attending a church day camp (which was awful in of itself) and being forced to SING REALLY LOUD!!!!! I hate singing under the best of circumstances. But here, we were led by this amped-up youth minister who was like a cross between a Marine drill sergeant and Richard Simmons who had snorted about ten lines of cocaine (high on Jesus!!), and he was utterly relentless in insisting that everyone give singing their all.

    I should also mention that this was one of those church camps where you weren’t left alone for a single second, and you had someone constantly in your face trying to “save” you… This would probably be a dreadful experience for anyone, but if Satan were to create a special hell for introverts, this would have been it.