7 Things That Just Don’t Make Sense to Introverts

Something doesn't make sense to an introvert.

Many introverts are pretty used to feeling like the odd one out. It’s a sad but true fact when you’re an introvert living in a world that seems made for extroverts.

But just like many aspects of the introvert’s behavior don’t make sense to the extrovert, many “extroverted” behaviors seem foreign, uncomfortable, and even downright annoying to the introvert.

Not all introverts will agree, but here are seven things that just don’t make sense to most of us “quiet ones.” Introverts, can you relate?

Things that Don’t Make Sense to Introverts

1. When someone thinks being alone is boring

I have an extroverted friend, who, in all honesty, I love dearly. But sometimes her behavior is baffling to me. Probably the biggest thing that doesn’t make sense to me is that she can’t stand being alone. When her husband is out and the kids are away — and she finds herself alone in her house for the first time in weeks — she immediately calls her friends. Once, she insisted on getting a roommate after just one week of living alone, because she hated how quiet and lonely her apartment was.

Even driving in her car alone makes her antsy. That’s when I usually get a call. Whether we actually have anything of real value to talk about or not, she just wants some chatter.

For my extroverted friend, being alone isn’t just boring — it’s also the ultimate punishment.

For introverts, it’s the complete opposite. Being around people all the time would be the ultimate torture! Our need for alone time has to do with our biology. There’s just no way we can remain sane without it.

2. Marathon talkers

This has happened to all of us. A coworker corners us in the office kitchen and won’t stop talking. And why is it never about anything terribly interesting, either? I’d gladly listen to a lecture on, say, the origin of black holes or the factors that led to our divisive political climate.

But it’s never that. It’s usually empty small talk. Or a long-winded unpacking of an event that enthralls only the speaker.

Sure, even as an introvert, I’ve been guilty of going on and on at times. But I usually only do this when I’m completely comfortable around the other person, like my significant other or best friend. And those instances are few and far between.

Introverts tend to be word minimalists, so we have a hard time wrapping our heads around people who have words in great abundance. We try to only speak when we have something of real value to say. Isn’t the world noisy enough?

3. Popularity

Just because you’re an introvert doesn’t mean you can’t be well-liked. It also doesn’t mean you can’t have strong social skills.

I’m not talking about that.

Growing up, my extroverted friends were very concerned about how other people perceived them. They often wanted to talk about who in our school was popular, and who wasn’t. They bought certain jeans because they were popular or didn’t listen to certain bands because they were unpopular.

Their obsession with popularity didn’t make sense to me. Sure, I wanted friends, too. I just didn’t crave social status the same way they did.

Introverts tend to have small social circles, and we’re okay with that. We’d rather invest our limited social energy into a few meaningful relationships than chase popularity. In fact, for many introverts, “popularity” isn’t even on their radar.

4. Calling instead of texting

Yes, sometimes the phone is the fastest or simplest way to communicate with someone. And there’s something reassuring about hearing a loved one’s voice, especially when you’ve had a bad day.

But for many introverts, phone calls are pure torture.

Not only does it require you to make small talk (without those helpful visual cues), but a phone call is also extremely intrusive. When someone rings out of the blue, you get no time to mentally prepare. And for introverts, that mental prep time is crucial. At any given point in the day, our brain is lost in a daydream, a deep state of flow, or our inner world. It takes a purposeful effort to switch gears and be “on” socially.

A text, on the other hand, waits politely for a response and allows us to interact with others on terms that are more manageable for us easily-overstimulated introverts. Plus, introverts tend to feel more comfortable expressing their thoughts in writing than saying them out loud, due to the way our brains are wired.

5. Large parties, networking events, and loud restaurants/bars/clubs

These environments are “exciting” to many extroverts. They’re “fun.”

For many introverts, on the other hand, these things are not just annoying, they’re also exhausting. Cue the introvert hangover.

I need to be in just the right mood to go to a party or club. And even then, I won’t stay long.

6. Reveling in the spotlight

Some people love to be the center of attention. They have no problem standing up in front of a room full of people and giving a speech or presentation. They purposely make jokes or move, talk, or dress in a way that draws attention to themselves. They can’t wait for their turn in a conversation to talk.

These people are probably not introverts.

Introverts tend to feel more comfortable in the background and listen more than they speak. And although plenty of introverts do battle social anxiety, it’s not always the case that we shun the spotlight because we’re afraid. We just don’t need all that attention.

7. Socializing just to pass the time

My extroverted friend once remarked, “Of course I’m going to the party! What else would I do tonight?” To introverts, this line of thinking is strange. There are so many other things we’d rather fill our night with than socializing.

Introverts can and do socialize. In fact, we need strong relationships and deep connections, too, otherwise we’ll feel lonely. It’s human nature, after all, to want to feel connected to others.

But if the choice is between socializing just to pass the time or staying home with a good book or show, introverts will usually choose the latter.

When introverts do hang out, we do it with a purpose. We want to make a friend, make a business connection, or meet our soul mate. At the very least, we’re looking for a meaningful conversation.

Anything less just doesn’t make sense. 

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Image credit: @stefiakti via Twenty20

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.