It’s that time of year again: Halloween. That time when your neighbor’s lawn sprouts a graveyard. That time when there are ghosts in the trees, cobwebs in the grocery store, and jack-o-lanterns on almost everyone’s front steps. It’s time for spooky stories, scary movies, bloody makeup… oh, and people everywhere.
With Halloween right around the corner — just for fun — here are the 17 “scariest” phrases to say to the introverts in your life, at Halloween or anytime of the year. BOO!
The ‘Scariest’ Phrases to Say to Introverts
1. “Let’s go around the room and introduce ourselves.” Did you hear that? It was the deafening thud of every introvert’s stomach dropping. Introverts just don’t need all that attention. Eyes watching them… people listening to them… judging what they’re saying… this is the ultimate in overstimulation. Introverts would rather take their chances with the masked man holding the bloody chainsaw.
2. “How ‘bout this weather?” Small talk. Those meaningless little exchanges that exist only to avoid awkward silences. Sure, small talk has its place: It can help two people warm up to each other conversationally. But let’s be honest, it’s pretty much the worst. You don’t learn anything new about the person you’re talking with, and it can feel like a colossal waste of time. Run introverts ruuuuuun!
3. “There will be a lot of people.” This is a big one. Whatever it may be — a party, work event, or family get-together — introverts would rather be where large crowds of people aren’t. Don’t get them wrong: They don’t hate people. They probably don’t have Enochlophobia. It’s that they’re wired to be sensitive to stimulation. Too much, and it can leave them feeling exhausted, mentally foggy, or even physically ill. For an introvert, there’s nothing scarier than knowing an introvert hangover is coming.
4. “I’ll call you!” Eek! *throws phone across the room* No, introverts don’t have a phone phobia. But they’re generally better at writing their thoughts than speaking them. That’s because introverts may rely more on long-term memory than short-term memory (for extroverts, it’s the opposite). As a result, they may have a hard time “spitting it out” when put on the spot — a.k.a. a phone call. Texting gives them time to think about what to say and how to say it.
5. “Tell me about yourself.” Can we… not? For many introverts, talking about themselves feels too… personal. Private by nature, they may take a while to open up to strangers. Ironically, they may feel more comfortable discussing something deeper — like their opinion on a political issue or whether aliens exist — than telling you about their job.
6. “I invited our friends over last minute.” Stop. Just stop. Introverts usually need time to mentally prepare to socialize. They need to get themselves in the mindset of putting their thoughts out there, not just keeping them in their heads. To get in the mindset of being “on.” Last minute guests? Nightmares forever.
7. “Don’t forget, we have plans tonight.” You forgot. You made the plans. This is basically as bad as #6, except you have no one but yourself to blame. It’s your own private horror show.
8. “Find a partner, it’s a group project.” We’ve all had this happen to us. The teacher announces that it’s a group project. Half the room cheers (the extroverts). The introverts inwardly groan and start scheming ways to get out of this. That’s because introverts tend to do their best work alone. Their brains function best when it’s quiet. They develop their ideas internally, not as they “think out loud” with a group. Plus, for self-sufficient introverts, it’s usually easier to just do the project themselves.
9. “No, I’m not ready to leave yet. This is fun!” This happens when an introvert rides with their friend or significant other to an event. The introvert has had enough, but their more extroverted counterpart hasn’t. Trapped at the party with no escape, it’s like watching your own blood (err, energy) drain out before your eyes.
10. “No, you won’t have your own desk — at this company, we use the open office concept.” No space to call your own. Constant noise and interruptions. The expectation to always be open to chit chat — even when you need to hunker down and work. For introverts, the open office concept is basically hell on earth.
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 people without actually having to see them in person (think: social media). 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 = the very definition of a nightmare.
13. “Your grade in this class will be based on your participation.” Many introverts are excellent thinkers and writers. Many introverts are not naturally excellent public speakers (especially when it’s spontaneous). Their thoughts just don’t seem to come out right when they have to verbalize them on the spot to a room full of their peers. In a classroom — where there is so much noise and activity — they’re usually just absorbing it all in their own quiet way. Make them speak — in front of people? *cue rapid heart beating*
14. Everyone you know, from your living room: “SURPRISE!” Sure, introverts need 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 things planned out, especially when it comes to social engagements. They want to know who will be there, how long it will last, and what’s expected of them. Plus, having everyone they know suddenly in their living room is just too much. Too much stimulation, not enough advanced mental preparation.
15. “You’re just in time for karaoke!” Sing? On the stage? While people watch? *the introvert vanishes like a ghost*
16. “Clear your calendar Friday. We’re doing team-building exercises!” Introverts can make excellent 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. All that group togetherness? Small talk? Catching your cube-mate in a trust fall? Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
17. *unexpected doorbell ring* *the introvert hides like they’ve seen a monster*
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Learn more: The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World, by Jenn Granneman
Image credit: @akaimade via Twenty20