25 Strange and Contradictory Things About Being an Introvert

introvert contradictory things

Just because you’re an introvert doesn’t mean you always want to be alone. It also doesn’t mean you never attend social events or try to meet new people. Yes, there are times when you go out, socialize, and actually enjoy it. Then there are other times when you hibernate at home for days on end, trying to forget the outside world altogether.

That’s the peculiar thing about being an introvert — there’s rarely an always or a never. As Carl Jung, the father of modern psychology, once noted, there’s no such thing as a “pure” introvert or extrovert. Such a person would be in the “lunatic asylum.”

In other words, even introverts act extroverted sometimes.

For most introverts, how they act depends largely on their energy and comfort levels. Lots of energy might mean an introvert comes across as an extrovert. But when introverts feel “peopled out” — or when they simply don’t feel comfortable yet around a new group of people — they’ll likely go quiet.

As a result, many introverts feel like they’re made of two opposing factions that constantly war against each other. Here are 25 strange and contradictory things most introverts have experienced at some point in their lives. Can you relate?

Contradictory Things About Being an Introvert

1. Wanting to do things alone so you don’t have to deal with other people but also wanting to connect deeply and authentically with others.

2. Not wanting to be left out but not wanting to actually go to the social events you’re invited to.

3. Wishing other people would notice and appreciate you but hating being in the spotlight.

4. Having deep and profound thoughts but not sharing them with others, because they rarely exit your mouth as eloquently as they seemed in your head.

5. Wanting to have meaningful conversations with other people but not knowing what to say to actually start them.

6. Wishing you had a few more close friends but most days being content just doing your own thing.

7. Being known as the “fun/quirky” one when you’re with close friends but the “quiet/shy” one when you’re with people you don’t know well.

8. Being praised for giving a thoughtful speech or presentation (you rehearsed for hours); fumbling your way through small talk with your classmates or colleagues afterwards.

9. Wanting to be acknowledged for knowing the answer to the question the teacher asked but not wanting to raise your hand and have everyone look at you when you speak.

10. Having an idea or a suggestion in a work meeting but avoiding speaking up because all that attention on you is overstimulating.

11. Quietly doing a great job on something at work or school and wishing someone would notice it without you having to point it out.

12. Wanting to get away from a long-winded extrovert but instead letting them talk on and on because you don’t want to cut them off and seem rude.

13. Being hilariously clever when texting or messaging online; being awkward and reserved when talking to someone IRL.

14. Desperately wanting to find your soul mate but being terrified to say hello to your crush.

15. Being told by your teachers, classmates, or colleagues that you should speak up more (“You’re so quiet!”); being told by your best friend or spouse that you talk too much about your niche hobbies and interests.

16. Not sharing much about yourself when talking face-to-face but having no problem sharing the intimate details of your life or your personal opinions on your blog or social media (writing is easier than speaking).

17. Feeling just fine but everyone keeps asking, “Are you okay?” because you’re not saying much and you have Resting Bitch Face (or Resting Sad Face).

18. Wishing you could loosen up and “just have fun” like everyone else but getting stuck in overthinking.

19. Wanting to sleep but not being able to turn off your very active mind.

20. Wishing you had just one person who understood how your mind works but not really understanding it yourself.

21. Feeling lonely and left out, then remembering you haven’t texted/reached out to any of your friends for weeks or months.

22. Being genuinely interested in hanging out with a friend but also secretly hoping he or she will cancel last minute.

23. Wanting to talk about something that really matters to you but worrying that other people will be bored by what you say.

24. Wanting to make an impact on the world but not wanting to leave your house.

25. Caring deeply about the people in your life and treasuring all the intimate, fun moments you’ve spent with them but being really bad at staying in touch. 

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Jenn Granneman is the founder of IntrovertDear.com and the author of The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World. She also cohosts The Introvert, Dear Podcast and blogs for Psychology Today. For most of her life, Jenn felt weird, different, and out of place because of her quiet ways. She writes about introversion because she doesn’t want other introverts to feel the way she did.