21 Things People Don’t Realize You’re Doing Because You’re an Introvert

IntrovertDear.com introvert people don't realize

Even though the “introvert positive” movement is here, there are still a lot of misconceptions about introversion. So, sometimes, it’s easier to say nothing at all about needing time alone or finding certain events to be overstimulating. In fact, if you’re an introvert, you probably do a lot of things that other people don’t realize are related to your temperament. Here are 21 of those things. I can’t speak for every introvert, but I believe this list is generally true:

1. When people interpret your quietness as you being stuck up, standoffish, or rude. It’s not that you think you’re better than other people; you really do care deeply about others. It’s just that you often don’t know what to say.

2. When your friend invites you to a party/event and you have no energy to go. What you really need is to stay home and recharge your introvert batteries by watching Netflix, reading, gaming, or just relaxing. But you don’t want to hurt your friend’s feelings, so instead you make up an excuse like, “I’m not feeling well” or “Sorry, I have other plans.”

3. When you order takeout online instead of calling because you literally can’t talk to one more person today.

4. When you check your phone at a party/get-together for a long time simply to avoid talking to more people (you already feel an introvert hangover coming on).

5. When you hang out in the bathroom for just a few seconds longer than needed, because it’s the only quiet place in your school or office.

6. When people say, “Tell me about yourself!” and you momentarily freeze, then mumble a few generic sentences because you have a hard time being articulate when you’re put on the spot. As an introvert, you tend to process your thoughts deeply and need time to think before speaking.

7. When you go to a party and end up spending the whole night talking to the one person who you feel comfortable being around.

8. When you’re at a party and say, “I’m getting really tired, so I’m going home.” You’re not actually sleepy, you’re just tired of being around people. You go home and stay awake for three more hours, checking Facebook, watching YouTube videos, or reading.

9. When you’re having trouble explaining your thoughts or feelings. Everything makes so much sense in your head, but it never comes out as eloquently as it seemed in your mind. Other people are like, “Come on, spit it out, what’s the problem?”

10. When you say, “Sorry, I already have plans that night.” Your “plans” are to watch Netflix, color, or read — basically to chill at home.

11. When you’re staring out a window, just daydreaming, and you can’t be bothered by anything.

12. When you were supposed to be paying attention in class, in a meeting, or to your friend’s story, but instead your mind started thinking about outer space, time travel, and the fate of humanity.

13. When you’re playing out a fictitious argument in your head and you get so into it that you find yourself making corresponding facial expressions or mouthing comebacks. You promise, you’re not really as crazy as you look.

14. When you’re awkward at making small talk. Or you don’t do it at all. You cut right to the chase and everyone is like, “Where did that come from?”

15. When you finally speak your mind and people get offended because you were really blunt. You didn’t warm them up with small talk first or sugar coat your words. You just spoke the truth.

16. When you say, “I want a low-key birthday this year. Like, dinner with two friends.”

17. When you ask the teacher if she can make an exception for you to work alone instead of with a group. You know you’ll have to do more work this way, but you figure it’s worth it because it will be so much less draining.

18. When you wear headphones in public so people don’t talk to you.

19. When someone tells you to call them, but instead, you text. You’re more clever/confident/clear when you can write your thoughts instead of say them out loud.

20. When you avoid getting your hair cut for a few weeks because you know you’ll have to muster the energy to make small talk with the stylist for at least 30 minutes.

21. When you get off work and you’re so mentally burned out that you don’t even want to turn on music or a podcast in your car. You just need everything to be quiet for a few minutes, PLEASE.

You can learn more about what it’s really like to be an introvert — as well as how to live a satisfying quiet life — in my book, The Secret Lives of Introverts.

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Read this: 21 Undeniable Signs That You’re an Introvert  retina_favicon1


  • njguy54 says:

    Yet another article on this site that’s eerily on point. Thanks, as always!

  • ReadsALot says:

    This is sooooo me! I don’t feel like a weirdo any more.

  • Jim says:

    #6: Oh, I hate that!

    #19: Yep

    #20: Started cutting my own hair for that very reason. Haha.

    Good article.

  • Hala Khanji says:

    hahahaha number 20 is so correct!

  • Lydia Pflieger says:

    #20 LOL this! I’ve been telling myself I cut my own hair to save money, but I think really it’s to avoid small talk!!

  • Stefany Taborda says:

    When you hate classes at noon because it’s lunch time and evryone is out…. too many people ans so loud

  • DyanSwan says:

    My favorite excuse for getting out of accepting invitations to parties, wedding receptions, etc., is to send my regrets because I have a prior commitment. (Often the prior commitment, is binge watching something on Netflix).

  • I loved it! This is so true! I’m guilty for even No13, I promise 😀

  • This is a GREAT article! I love it when people get it right!

  • Janel says:

    lol, #13, glad I’m not the only one!

    • Nicole Allais says:

      I know right! Sometimes I catch myself getting overwhelmed with hypothetical sad events that I created in my head! And I step back like “Why the hell did I just do that to myself?!”

  • Sharon says:

    I always tell my hairdresser that sometimes I won’t feel like talking. They have nearly always been cool with it, but I had one who kept chattering away anyway so I didn’t go to her again

  • Khaled Salah says:

    your words are of the very few things that describe me <3

  • Peter J. Braun says:

    For me, I’d tweak #18 to read “When you wear headphones in public so people don’t talk to you. Oftentimes, you’re not listening to anything at all through the headphones, you’re just wearing them so people will leave you alone, and, it enables you to really listen to what’s happening around you with no expectation of a contribution on your part. Bonus!”

  • JB says:

    oh my gosh. #21 – its an aching need

  • Vermin8 says:

    I think hair stylists are trained to chat with their women customers. It’s believed that it enhances the experience.
    Me, I was looking forward to reading while under the dryer or waiting for my hair color to set!

  • Vermin8 says:

    “When you wear headphones in public so people don’t talk to you.”
    Unfortunately, it doesn’t work.
    And I hate it when I open a book and people take that as a cue to ask what I’m reading.

    • Tina says:

      I used to silently show them the cover. I figured seeing the cover art and stuff would give them a better idea instead of telling them. I didn’t realize that could insult them.

      • Vermin8 says:

        It shouldn’t and most of the time it does not. There are those people, however, who think that reading should always be foregone for a conversation.
        it is not, rude, however, for the reader to say (or communicate in your case) “I’m reading.” It’s rude, however, if the chatter wants to interrupt the reading.

  • Dawn Marie says:

    One friend. That should read “dinner with only one friend.” And even then he or she better be interesting.

  • Rhonda Simpson says:

    Every.single.word. Especially 8, 14, 15 and 20! I’m actually about to go to a new hairstylist in an hour and I hope she’s not very talkative.

  • Danielle says:

    All apply to me except #21. (I know it’s not a complete list and may not apply to all….blah, blah). I need music before and after work to get out of my mind. The louder the music the less likely my mind wanders, not to arguments, but to me working out recent situations i.e., how could have I have done that differently or how would handle this if it happened to me. I can make myself cry based on these what ifs. So I crank up the music. It’s my lifesaver in addition to books.

    Thank you for this article. It was very enlightening.

  • #6 #13 #18 – LOL all the time especially.

  • Cathy Sawyer says:

    #2 — stopped that a long time ago because I care enough about my close friends not to fib to them.
    #7 — and then they find the first opportunity to get away because they’re being monopolized.
    #13 — I just thought that was my OCD kicking in, being obsessive; never suspected it was my introversion. LOL
    #19 — I actually begin to get kind of anxious after a couple of minutes talking on the phone; sometimes I can quell the feeling and sometimes not. Doesn’t matter who they are either. 🙁

  • Lux Pacifica says:

    #22 Someone comes up to you and demands, “smile!” And you’re taken aback because you were feeling perfectly happy already.

  • Karen Swank Buchanan says:

    Addition to #20 – when you get a fun new hair cut, and then regret it for weeks because strangers keep talking to you about the hair…

  • Karen Swank Buchanan says:

    Another addition to #20: when you close your eyes during the haircut and manage to train your stylist to just quietly cut. 🙂

  • Mike Rost says:

    … and the one in #7 is furry and has four legs.

  • Jeff Mincey says:

    I don’t agree with the first item in the list of this article. Introversion is a feature of personality or psychology in which people are most comfortable either in solitude or in the company of one or two intimates. It’s where they most take refuge to decompress, gather strength, recharge, and regain their balance. It does not mean they have no social skills.

    Introverts can be very good conversationalists. This idea that they don’t know what to say is misleading. There are plenty of extroverts who are inept in conversation even as they enjoy being among the energy of other people.

    What this first item describes is more about shyness or a lack of social skills than about introversion itself.

    The same goes for numbers six and nine. The idea that introverts are incapable of talking about themselves is preposterous. This would mean introverts would perform very poorly in a job interview — and there is no data to support this.

    Introverts may actually excel in one-to-one social encounters and they may only seek to avoid crowds or large parties. Or they may indeed prefer solitude. But either way, it does not mean they cannot be articulate or eloquent. It doesn’t mean they freeze up on a question so simple and basic as to talk a bit about themselves.

    In an effort to debunk myths about introversion, this article actually perpetuates the myth that introverts are socially inept. Some may be, but others are not.

    Introversion is not a measure of social skill. It’s rather about where a person prefers most to dwell — alone or with family versus in large social groups and to mill about with people.

    Introverts might be talkative or they might not be. Introversion is not a synonym for social inhibition.

    And what’s up with item number twelve? Introverts cannot concentrate on a subject? Au contraire. Introverts are quite capable of focusing their attention on a topic — whether in a classroom or elsewhere. In fact, they may be better able to do this than extroverts because they will be less susceptible to social distracctions.

    Finally, item twenty-one is totally off the mark. Introversion is not about what one DOES when alone. It is rather about taking comfort and energy from BEING alone.

    So, for some introverts, it might well be that silence is best. For other introverts, they might prefer to use their solitude in listening to music or to watch a streamed movie. Who knows?

    This idea that you are not a genuine introvert unless you like silence is completely made up by the author of this article. I don’t know the background of the author, but I call into question her qualifications to speak on this topic.

  • CMH says:

    “20. When you avoid getting your hair cut for a few weeks because you know you’ll have to muster the energy to make small talk with the stylist for at least 30 minutes.” OMG! This. Stylists, shut up for a few minutes!

  • Gail Taylor says:

    13,14,15 so totally well me 😉

  • Marcia Waldstreicher says:

    I do #18, wearing headphones without listening to anybody, but it’s not to avoid small talk. I use my earbuds as noise-cancelling devices, because people look at you funny when you always have brightly colored earplugs in your ears. I ride public transportation, and I just need quiet.

  • Tina says:

    I didn’t think other people did #13. There are never any witnesses, but I’m always embarrassed when I catch myself doing that.

  • Tina says:

    Man, I feel like I need therapy and a support group just to survive what I was born to be. I’m all out of eloquent words. This sucks!

  • And, when you go and get a massage and the masseuse TALKS to you as they’re doing it. Arrrrgh! Fortunately my masseuse doesn’t say a word, and I’ve stuck with her for years now. My hairdresser figured out I don’t like to say much pretty quickly too – and she is great at cutting hair!