Help for Introverts Who Feel Like They Don’t Fit In Anywhere

IntrovertDear.com introverts fit in help

Every introvert has that moment when they realize they don’t quite fit in within the space they occupy. Perhaps it’s a teacher making a concerned comment about how they spend too much time alone on the playground or a parent worrying that they don’t enjoy socializing as much as their siblings. At that moment, we introverts go from blissfully enjoying our inner worlds to becoming acutely aware that we’re different — and that’s usually not a good thing.

Personally, I’ve often felt like I don’t fit in at school, work, and even around friends and family. Social situations are exhausting, and the older I get, the less energy I have to pretend otherwise. I can put on the extrovert mask as easily as any other introvert, but wearing the mask is much more draining than just being myself. For an introvert, there is no greater feeling than being accepted for who we are.

However, for many of us, those moments of acceptance seem few and far between. So we keep wearing the mask and pretending it’s not so bad. Meanwhile, we’re trying to operate at 100 percent when our batteries are struggling to stay above 10 percent.

The world is slowly beginning to understand and accept introversion, but we’re not fully there yet. If you feel like you don’t fit in and are constantly drained from trying, know that you aren’t alone. Here are some words of encouragement for introverts who are searching for somewhere to belong.

No, there’s nothing wrong with you.

The world continually reminds introverts about all the things that are wrong with them. We need to socialize and speak up more in meetings. We should “act like an extrovert” if we want to be successful. Society makes us feel like our personality is a disease in need of a cure.

I spent most of my teenage years and early 20s searching for what was wrong with me. In college, I was sure that my struggle to keep up with my extroverted friends who wanted to party five nights in a row meant that I had a problem. Discovering that I’m an introvert — and that it’s a personality preference, not a mental illness — changed everything.

Despite being aware of my introversion, I still doubt myself. I beat myself up for not speaking up enough in a meeting at work. The voice in my head will pop up to say, “See? I told you — you’re not good enough.”

However, when we allow ourselves to live in that headspace, we limit ourselves from living to our full potential. When I silence the negative voices and focus on my strengths, I thrive. I do this by giving myself positive pep talks before a big meeting or event that will push me out of my comfort zone. I also take time to slip away and be alone when I start to feel overwhelmed.

If the negative voices appear, I keep them at bay by focusing on deep breathing or other mindfulness practices. I understand how easy it is to slip into negative self-talk as an introvert, but it’s important to recognize your value.

You are an introvert, and that is okay. Go out and conquer the world, my quiet friends. You’ve got this.

Your tribe exists. You just have to find them.

As a young introvert, I remember thinking that no one understood me. I had good friends and a supportive family. But these people didn’t really “get” me. They had an idea of who I was based on the role I played. This character was largely based on who I thought people wanted me to be.

When I discovered I am an introvert, I sought to connect with like-minded introverts in a space where I knew I’d be most likely find them — the internet. It’s not rare nowadays for introverts (and extroverts, too) to have “internet friends.” Through social media, I’ve connected with dozens of individuals who share similar experiences and whose dreams and desires run parallel with my own. I’ve connected with writers, business owners, artists, and counselors, all who share my quiet temperament. This tribe of people has encouraged me during the challenging times and celebrated with me during the wonderful times.

The best part is that I know I don’t have to pretend around them. I’m accepted the way I am.

If you’re still looking for your tribe, know that they are out there. Maybe you will find your people in an unconventional way, like through a Facebook group or on Twitter. Perhaps they are at a book club or a church group. You’ll never know where your tribe lives until you start looking for them.

How do you know when you’ve found your tribe? Much like with romantic relationships, it’s often a “when you know, you know” type of feeling. Ultimately, you feel free to be yourself and you feel heard and accepted for who you are. While your quiet personality may be viewed as a flaw by many others, your tribe embraces it as a wonderful part of what makes you who you are.

Don’t be discouraged if you try out a few groups that aren’t a good fit. Finding your tribe is a lot like dating or choosing a major in college. Don’t settle for just “okay” when something better is out there.

Sometimes, we belong right where we are.

Buddha said, “What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: our life is the creation of our mind.”

External factors, such as relationships and work satisfaction, play an essential role in our happiness. Every person on earth (yes, even introverts) needs a sense of belonging to be satisfied in life.

However, there is a reason so many self-help gurus preach that “happiness comes from within.” Our internal beliefs play a huge role in how we feel about ourselves and our lives.

As introverts, we spend a lot of time in our inner worlds. Because of this, many of us are incredibly self-aware. We may say little, but our imagination know no bounds. However, amid the beauty of our inner worlds exist limiting beliefs that can hold us back.

Each time we tell ourselves who we can’t be or what we can’t do, we are shaping our reality. A true sense of belonging doesn’t merely come from being accepted by others, but by accepting ourselves as we are.

If you imagine your best self in 10, 20, or 30 years in the future, who is that person? What does he or she look, act, and feel like? Use this vision to set your present beliefs about yourself. Deep inside, you know what you are capable of achieving. You just have to start believing it.

My hope for you and for every other introvert — including myself — in this new year is that you find your sense of belonging, whether that means finding your tribe or finding peace within yourself.

Most important, I hope that you know that right now in this moment and in every moment, even when it doesn’t feel like it, you belong.

Did you enjoy this article? Sign up for our newsletters to get more stories like this.

Read this: The Introvert’s Guide to Making Friends Who ‘Get’ You

Image credit: @sam_filos via Twenty20


11 Comments

  • Catherine says:

    Thanks for the encouraging article. Very needed! It’s hard to feel a sense of belonging as a ‘weirdo introvert’ in an extrovert world.

    But a word of warning. Be very, very, very careful about internet friends. You may THINK you know them and they know you. But all they see are your printed words on a screen. You may find one day, when you’re tired/ ill/ stressed/ have other problems, you make an ill judged or frustrated or angry comment which will make you and them realise that actually, you don’t really know each other at all. You see a tiny, tiny fraction of each other’s personalities online- usually when you are presenting your best self and not caught off guard.

    The people who truly know and ‘get’ you will be the ones who see/ hear you when you’re at your worst- exhausted/ ill/ stressed in real life. They can see your appearance, your expression, your body language and hear your tone. Not just see your words printed on a screen. And if they still like you and accept that everyone has bad days/ weeks/ months sometimes… then you’ve found a true friend.

    • Peep_Jerky says:

      Yeah I don’t put much trust in people online that I haven’t met in person. Same reason I won’t try internet dating. No matter who they say they are, it could be anybody behind the words on the screen.

      • Catherine says:

        So very true! Year ago I was ‘friends’ with a woman online. haha. Her husband and two teenage kids were also online and the four of them often butted into each other’s conversations. Then a few months later I found out it was all one person pretending to be the mum, dad and son and daughter! Play acting. Ew.

  • Ann Green says:

    This is beautiful! Thank you, Megan. It can be hard for introverts to feel as if they fit in. I’ve found if you can accept yourself for who you are, set boundres, and not worry about what other people think of you, that can help you survive and thrive in an extroverted world.

  • Beverly says:

    A big Amen for this! I was always told I was “weird” or “stuck up” because I didn’t hang with the crowd. What has helped me is the realization that, despite the “conventional wisdom,” extroverts don’t have it made. I’ve known people who were so terrified of being alone they would double-book activities just in case one of them fell through, and could not be in a room without the TV or radio on loud. The quiet in a classroom during a test-taking session could send them into an anxiety attack, and they would even go out on the town with their crowd in the depths of the flu because their “fear of missing out” was so strong. All-in-all, I’ll take “weird” or “snob” over those problems any day.

  • Michelle Laurey says:

    I think I found my website 🙂

  • restlessalma says:

    I agree with this. I’ve always felt (and still feel) like I don’t belong. Just like it was mentioned in the article, I too use an extrovert mask, which by the end, leaves me completely exhausted. I’ve always tried to be more like my family, more outgoing, more “fun” but, I always end up feeling sad, tired, and disappointed. Disappointed in myself for not being “normal”.

    My family (and this is purely my opinion, please don’t get offended) is old-fashioned hispanic. My parents grew up in a time and place where the word introvert didn’t exist. If anyone of them showed signs of introversion they were considered rude, disrespectful, and/or something was wrong with them. That’s how I grew up, grew up to be out when the family was gathered, go out to parties (which were fun for like 30 minutes because by then I just wanted to go home) and be an extrovert. But, I never felt right. Never felt like “yeah! I can do this! I’m actually happy!” something was always lacking and I ultimately ended up feeling even more distant to my family, friends and everyone else. I just don’t belong.

    I’m still trying to find my “tribe”. Right now it’s been just one other introverted friend whose been my breathe of fresh air, my younger kid sister, whose been trying to understand who I am (even though she’s a complete extrovert), and myself, but…for me, that’s enough and maybe I think that might be my tribe. I do like to go out, but not to clubs or bars (I tried that scene, sucked, I hated that chapter in my life) I like to go hiking, I love going to catch a concert (small venues preferred), the movies, museums. So, I’m still figuring this out, if I belong. Articles like this one have been such an amazing help. It makes me feel warm and not so alone to know that I’m not the only one.

    Thank you…sorry for the rambling…I’ll stop now

  • SANDEE MARTINDALE says:

    Dude you sound exactly like me all i can share is pain I’m no longer ‘young’, almost 60 and i have never ever felt like i belong in this world i don’t have friend’s internet or otherwise I live in my own cave day in day out Oh Ive tried so hard and Ive failed miserably to find my tried so Ive given up i love this website at lest someone understands

    i do hope you can find someone who can listen and be there for you

    • Karen Baker says:

      Hi. I can also relate! I am a disabled lady, turning 65 this year. I live alone, and keep to myself. I’ve always struggled socially, from the time I was little. It’s been very painful, but I have found this website, and it’s good to read these comments from people like you; it helps me not feel completely alone in the world right now. I am all about understanding. Best wishes!

  • Peep_Jerky says:

    I’ve never had the problem of thinking there was something wrong with me because I didn’t want to go out and be extroverted. I think I’ve always been stubborn enough that I never felt like I should put on a mask to fit in with the outside world. Or maybe just that it was hopeless to try and fit in. I still have the negative thoughts though; that if I were just more social maybe I would have meaningful friendships, or a girlfriend, or I just wouldn’t feel alone. Instead of beating myself up though, this mostly just makes me more bitter towards the outside world, because I’m too stubborn to pretend to fit in and the world isn’t going to change just to make me feel better.