The 17 Phrases That ‘Scare’ Introverts the Most

Two introverts are scared.

In the U.S. and many other countries, the Halloween season has arrived. That means it’s time for pumpkin carving, costume contests, scary movies…

…and people everywhere.

Not all introverts tremble in fear at the thought of a crowd. Nevertheless, there are some phrases that will strike fear into the heart of even the most stalwart introvert. Just for fun, here are the phrases that “scare” introverts the most.

Phrases That ‘Scare’ Introverts

1. “Let’s go around the room and introduce ourselves.”


That dreaded icebreaker. Is there anything worse? Introverts would rather take their chances with a masked man holding a bloody chainsaw.

2. “Everyone will be there!”

Whether it’s a party, work event, or family get-together, introverts would rather be where the crowds aren’t. No, they don’t have Enochlophobia, and no, they don’t hate people. They’re simply wired to be extra sensitive to stimulation. For the introvert, there’s nothing scarier than the threat of an introvert hangover.

3. “Tell me about yourself.”

Can we… not? When forced to reveal personal details about themselves to people they don’t know well, introverts feel as uncomfortable as a kid who’s eaten too much Halloween candy. Ironically, they may feel more comfortable discussing something deeper — like their opinion on a political issue or the physics of time travel — than telling you about their weekend.

4. “I invited some friends over. I hope that’s okay!”

Friends are coming… to my home? My sacred space? The only place where I can relax and be myself? For introverts, last-minute guests mean no time to mentally prepare to be “on” — a terrifying prospect indeed.

5. “How ’bout this weather?”


Small talk. Those futile little exchanges that exist only to avoid awkward silences. For introverts, who crave meaningful interaction, it’s pretty much the worst. Of course introverts hide in their apartment like a serial killer is stalking them when they hear their chatty neighbor in the hall.

6. “We have plans tonight, remember?”

You forgot. You made the plans. And now every hope of enjoying a relaxing night at home has vanished like a dream upon waking.

7. “It’s a group project.”

Generally, introverts work best when they can focus deeply without interruptions. They don’t “think out loud” like extroverts do but rather process their thoughts and ideas internally. For introverts, group projects at work or school are like having to manage several costume changes in one night. Not only are you juggling the group dynamics, personality clashes, and the actual work of the project, but you’re also getting drained mentally and physically from socializing.

8. When the teacher says, “Since no one is raising their hand, I’ll call on students randomly.”


If only you could vanish like a ghost.

9. “I’m not ready to leave yet.”

If you’ve ever gone to a party with an extrovert, you’ve heard this phrase. Trapped in a socially exhausting situation with no escape, it’s like watching your own blood (err, energy) spill out before your eyes.

10. “It’s an open office.”

In an open office, there are few walls or dividers. This means no space to call your own, plus constant noise, interruptions, and the expectation to always be open to banal chitchat — even when you need to hunker down and work. For the introvert, this is hell, M-F, 9-5.

11. “The internet is down.”

For many introverts, the internet holds a sacred space in their lives. It is the giver of delicious knowledge. It is a way to connect with other humans without actually having to see them in person. It is the lifeblood of their Netflix binges and online gaming. No internet? Be afraid, be very afraid.

12. “We’re going to be out all day.”

For introverts, a busy day can be just as tiring as a party. Places to go, people to see, with no breaks to recharge is the very definition of a nightmare for the solitude-loving introvert.

13. Everyone you know, in your living room: “SURPRISE!”

Introverts want to feel loved by their friends and family, too. If only they could love them for two hours on a Thursday night, then go home — not with a surprise party. Introverts tend to like knowing what’s coming, especially when it comes to social engagements. When they have time to mentally prepare to see people, they’re generally more present and engaged.

14. “I’ll call you!”


But I don’t use my phone for that.

15. “You’re just in time for karaoke!”

Sing? On stage? While people watch?

16. Your boss: “team-building exercises”

Introverts can make great team players because being a team player is all about being invested in the goals of the group. But team-building exercises are a different story. Empty small talk and awkward trust falls? Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

17. *unexpected doorbell ring*



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Image credit: @akaimade via Twenty20

Jenn Granneman is the founder of and the author of The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World. Jenn is a contributor to Psychology Today, HuffPost, Susan Cain’s Quiet Revolution, Upworthy, The Mighty, The Muse, Motherly, and a number of other outlets. She has appeared on the BBC and in Buzzfeed and Glamour magazine. For most of her life, Jenn felt weird, different, and out of place because of her quiet ways. Now she's on a mission: to let introverts everywhere know it's okay to be who they are.