These Are the 19 Most Stressful Experiences an Introvert Can Have

An introvert feels stressed.

Let’s face it, life is stressful, whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert. But if you’re introverted, like 30-50 percent of the population are, those little situations that seem so easy for others to navigate can become overwhelmingly stressful for you. That’s because introverts are wired somewhat differently than extroverts, making us more prone to burnout, exhaustion, and overwhelm.

What daily experiences stress out introverts the most, and why? I asked the introverts who follow me on Facebook, and here’s what they told me. Introverts — you’re not alone!

What Stresses Out Introverts

1. Having to talk to people

“Even though I’m a singer in a band and a fairly confident person overall, sometimes it can be so hard for me to talk to people or to ask for what I want.”

2. Being put on the spot, especially at work

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“I can usually write a wonderful response if I’m given a bit of time, and I’m even pretty good at giving a spoken response if I’m prepared. But when a coworker or my boss demand I answer right now, my mind goes blank under the pressure, even if I’d otherwise know the answer.”

3. Making small talk with strangers or acquaintances

“My brain shuts off and I can’t think of anything to say.”

4. Job interviews

“All the attention is on you. I also hate a lot of the general questions and really hate having to answer what my best qualities are or what makes me the best person for the job. You’re put on the spot with a question and don’t have time to think about your answer — and introverts need that processing time!”

5. Phone calls… to anyone about anything

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“I tend to either over-explain myself in hopes of avoiding miscommunication (one of my biggest anxiety triggers), or I’m forced into silence the majority of the time because the person on the other end is a talker. So I feel awkward. Silence over the phone is waaayyy more awkward than in-person silence (which I love).”

6. Meeting new people, especially when the first impression counts

“I have a few good friends, and they easily see the real me. But as an introvert, it takes a while for my real personality to come out around people I don’t know well. When I meet someone new, I inadvertently come across as closed off, distant, or even stuck up — and this really sucks, especially when you’re trying to make a good impression! Because I know I do this, I put extra pressure on myself, and even then, I finding myself overthinking about the interaction afterward.”

7. Having to deal with people when you haven’t had time to decompress

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“When I work long stretches in a row and have to deal with coworkers and customers while running on fumes, it becomes incredibly stressful.”

8. People who drop by unannounced

“Even though I may enjoy that person’s company, I still need time to mentally prepare to be ‘on’ to socialize. Please give me a heads up before you come to my home or drop by my office. I promise you’ll get a better interaction out of me because I won’t be so flustered.”

9. When people ask very direct personal questions

“I know that some mean well, but it feels like interrogating, plus I find it hard to express myself verbally to certain people.”


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10.  Group projects and all the drama associated with them

“So many times I’ve asked to do it myself instead.”

11. Speaking in front of a large group

“My mind goes blank, I stumble over my words, and I hate having so many eyes looking at me.”

12. Having to give someone negative feedback

“As a highly sensitive introvert, my empathy kicks in and prevents the words from coming out. It feels entirely unnatural and requires a titanic amount of effort. I want to make sure I’ve considered every angle, that I’m being fair and considerate. Speaking feels premature, even after weeks of preparation or contemplation.”

13. Staff meetings

“I feel like I know what I need to do and I don’t need a staff meeting to do my job. As awful as it sounds, I can only take so much of other people’s opinions and direction. I find I just want to do things my own way.”

14. Leading a meeting or discussion…

“…especially with students or other folks with little incentive to talk. As an introvert, I won’t talk just to fill the silence, so if no one else is talking, we all just kind of sit there and stare at each other.”

15. Working in an open office

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“With so much noise and frequent interruptions, some days it can feel like the walls are closing in on you.”

16. That moment when you realize you have to leave the peacefulness your car and head into the “extroverted” world

“What’s the most stressful for me? That moment after I’ve arrived at my destination 15 minutes early (gladly) and enjoyed sitting in serene silence alone — and now I’m dreading getting out of my car and being thrown into the mix of everyone in this extroverted world. And I realize that I’ll have to do more than just blend in as an INFJ personality — I will have to become what they need me to be. And that’s exhausting.”

(What’s your personality type? We recommend this free personality assessment.)

17. Networking events

“You’re expected to balance food and drink, make yourself heard over the din, be enclosed by the press of bodies, filter out all the other conversations so you can focus on what’s being said — and be brilliant and sparkling! The difficulty level goes up even more when you have to introduce someone and you can’t remember their name! Names do not stick in my brain.”

18. Confrontation of any kind

“My brain kicks into overdrive, making it almost impossible for me to think clearly, which just makes the problem even worse. And then my mouth just starts saying anything, and I come off feeling foolish because I know I’m saying things that don’t make sense but I can’t stop myself. Afterward, I’ll be left thinking about the interaction for hours or days or even weeks.”

19. Dealing with people in general

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“They drain me.”

Introverts, what would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments. 

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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.