4 Things People Say to Me About Being an Introvert That I’m Sick of Hearing

IntrovertDear.com introvert sick of hearing

“It’s literally impossible to get you to crawl out of your lair.”

This was once said to me by a coworker who couldn’t understand why I would prefer staying home when I had no special “reason” for doing so. In fact, such comments are a typical trend in my life: while I’m perfectly willing to accept the desire others may have to undergo a constant stream of socialization, the same people never seem to extend the same courtesy to me. Instead, they often heap on a plethora of free advice about how I can “fix” the supposed ailment that is my introversion.

Below are some of the most common ways — whether blatantly stated or heavily implied — that these self-proclaimed “helpers” have gone about advising me on how to repair my puzzling tendencies. Though I’m sure these comments are well-intentioned, they don’t succeed in being anything but hurtful. At the end of the day, they only make me want to apologize for something I can’t help — my introverted desire for peace and quiet.

1. “You’re doing [insert any activity here] alone? How depressing.”

One day, my colleague and I were looking up dinner recipes online. I had recently moved out on my own and wanted to collect some cooking ideas from her. “Just go here and search,” she told me, leaning over her computer to point at the screen so I could see where to look. “And type in ‘meals for one.’” Here she paused, smiled a little, and said: “Now that’s a depressing sentence.”

My brain immediately fell down a well of anxious thoughts: Wait, why? Am I pathetic because I have to cook alone? Because I live alone? Because I like it? Does that make me weird?

To suddenly feel judged for my current (and frankly, unavoidable) living conditions, and then consequently guilty for liking such conditions, made me feel like a bug pinned beneath the cold glare of a microscope’s glass.

I remember feeling the sting of this comment, and it stays with me to this day. I already feel like my personality isn’t super “fashionable” in today’s fast-paced, loud, and socially innovative world, especially within the millennial age group (where I’m supposed to party hard with no regrets. Never mind bills, job obligations, and my quarter-life existential crisis).

Do I also have to feel like a freak for eating alone?

2. “Don’t you want to have fun?”

When I was once asked by a friend why I didn’t date casually, I merely shrugged and made some joke about “not liking other people breathing my air.” My friend wasn’t amused. Instead, she threw up her hands and exclaimed: “But don’t you want to go out and have fun?”

The answer to this is so unbelievably simple: my idea of a good time is different than yours. Why does that make me “weird?” Frankly, it’s insulting to be told I’m a buzz kill simply because I’m more selective about when I socialize.

When I say I can’t hang because I have plans already, please, extroverted world, don’t get offended if you find out those plans involve nothing but watching a movie by myself while mowing through three bags of microwave popcorn. This choice isn’t meant to be a slight on you. I’m merely broadening the definition of “plan” to include activities that extend beyond socialization. They involve tasks I find to be meaningful and fulfilling in my own way. To me, that’s “fun.”

3. “How do you expect to meet anyone if you won’t go out?”

The heart of inconsiderate statements like this is expressed in many others as well, such as, “So, what, you don’t make friends and have no life, so you just sit at home?” Or, “What do you even do in your free time?”

These types of comments are the absolute worst. They turn me inside out and poke at a spot already rubbed raw and sensitive: the fear that my personality is “freakish” and that no one will ever want to be with me because of it. Dying alone is a fear for many people, but it’s especially chilling for introverts, who have a hard time connecting with others in the first place. Thus, drawing attention to this creates nothing but anxiety.

4. “You’re really antisocial.”

While it’s always tempting to respond to this assumption about me with a biting quip (“Well, if the alternative is hanging out with people like you, can you blame me?”), I know this isn’t the most mature way to handle the situation.

Being called “antisocial” because I don’t do what other people seem to do effortlessly is something I’ve grown used to and even joked about with my friends; however, there is something very different about hearing someone say it to me in an exasperated, “I-give-up-on-you” tone. It’s like they’re reacting to finding a cancerous tumor on my face.

I may not be as social as some, but I’m certainly not “anti.” I just prefer to go out within the perimeters of my own comfort zone. I can’t be forced to pretend that I feel and think the same way as everyone else — and I’ve only recently started to come to terms with this.

I’m a Work in Progress

Though I haven’t reached the point where I can let judgmental comments go, I have finally managed to stop apologizing for being an introvert. I’ve also accepted that the world as it currently stands (loud, busy, and outgoing) will never quite understand how I can sometimes prefer my own couch to a crowd.

I know I’m not like a lot of other people my age. But I’m working on being okay with that.

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Read this: Introverts Don’t Hate People, They Hate Shallow Socializing

Learn more: The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World, by Jenn Granneman  retina_favicon1

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    • Lynne Fisher

      Well I’m sensing the tide may be turning – we can be out and proud of being introverts. We seek quality engagement and would rather be alone than suffer shallow socialising. I got these four things cropping up in the past, so i know where you’re coming from, but I’ve had enough of others projecting their own values and expectations onto me. However, this has taken time, I’m 55 now, absolutely about time I stopped caring what others think. It took some work, but I’ve made it!

      • Bernadette Harris

        This is awesome to hear, Lynne! I’ve started to get to the point where I’m at last sick of trying to meet the expectations of others, and have accepted I’m never going to be like them. But I’ve yet to be unaffected by it. It’s awesome to see an introvert who’s made it to the other side. Hope I get there one day too =D

        • Lori Lloyd Swearingin

          I’m with Lynne; maybe it comes with years of hearing these types of comments that you get to the point that you just don’t care what others think anymore. I am turning 50 this year and I love my garden, reading, taking hikes in the mountains with my dog, and I especially like being home alone. I am an INFP and am married to an extrovert who doesn’t understand why I don’t desire to get out of my comfort zone and travel three states away to large family reunions. The small talk alone is unbearable at those things. I have had to decide that no matter what others think, I do not require anyone else’s approval and I am so much happier when I don’t compare myself to extroverts. I like who I have become.

    • njguy54

      These all come down to failing on some level to meet others’ (extroverted) expectations — as if we have an obligation to meet them. Unfortunately, society has an extroverted bias, which has only recently begun to change as introverts are finding their voices.

    • Tiffany

      I remember once when I was a kid during summer break my older brother said to me “If your life were a book, would anyone want to read it?” implying that I had no life and I was boring. I felt shattered and like I needed to change who I was. Like I was broken and needed to be fixed. Through the years I have grown more into myself though. I know that although I’m often misunderstood, it doesn’t mean that there’s something the matter with me 😊. Not everyone will understand, oh well.

    • Argenis Rodríguez

      The worst of all of them is: why are you so quiet?
      It’s so uncomfortable. I don’t go out asking other people: hey, why do you talk too much?

      • Co-Reigner

        Here’s another: “Speak up and stop being so quiet about things.” I heard that over and over again when I was a child. Even now, I hear that a lot. It annoys me because it implies that I am timid or scared of people. In reality, I am confident and quite comfortable with my thoughts. It’s just that others have the problem in that they don’t even try to relate to what I’m saying.

        • SpyderDrygon

          If you want to break someone’s brain, reply to “why are you so quiet”, with, “why aren’t you?”
          I’ve found those three words can crash a judgmental extrovert’s train of thought completely, lol(okay, I shouldn’t think it’s funny to mess with them, but it’s helpful to gain a few minutes of quiet while they reprocess.)

        • Argenis Rodríguez

          Yep, people tend to mistake shyness with introversion. However, I happen to be both hahaha.

      • Elizabeth Frederick

        Yep. People used to ask me all the time, “why are you so quiet?” “You wouldn’t understand the complexity of my mind” would seem a bit odd to say ;P… so I usually just go with “I don’t talk just for the sake of talking. When I have something to say, I’ll say it.” Most people I say that to seem to respect my no nonsense approach. Others are intimidated by it. Personally, I think we make extraverts uncomfortable because they can’t read us as easily as we can read them.

        • Argenis Rodríguez

          When I’m asked that, I usually say “I don’t know, I’m just like that” in order to avoid senseless conversation (and beacuase I actually don’t know haha). I agree with your opinion about extroverts; there extrovert men who are intimidated by introvert girls.

    • Pleiades

      I think it’s impossible for some people to understand that being alone and being lonely are two entirely different things. I vacation alone every year. I take a month and travel around the UK–no plans, no hotel reservations, just me and a rental car and Google Maps. I drive and see what there is to see and when I get tired of driving I find a B&B for the night. Rinse. Repeat. I meet some of the most fascinating people that I wouldn’t meet if I were traveling with someone else. I don’t have to negotiate with anyone about where I go, when I go, what I do, etc. I don’t have to be diplomatic or compromise or tiptoe around someone else’s feelings. I’m also secure enough to go out to dinner by myself (an activity I’ve heard called “masterdating”, which I find endlessly amusing).

      I’m only as alone as I want to be. So that’s how I have fun; that’s how I socialize; that’s how I meet people. Instead of going to the same bars having the same conversations with the same people week after week. How boring! People really need to get out more.

      • Lynne Fisher

        That’s brilliant – I do admire you for this!

      • Co-Reigner

        I enjoyed your post. What you had to say was very informative as to how an introvert socializes. My social life is very similar. Very often, I will go out to dinner or some other activity by myself. One time I mentioned that to a close friend who is another introvert. She replied: That is great. It means you are a very self-confident person. You are confident enough to not be bothered by what other people might say when they find that out. Also, I agree about having the freedom to socialize with people I meet when I’m ‘solo’. I totally understand the difference between aloneness and loneliness. I really enjoy my aloneness and am not lonely at all.

      • Rachel Leigh Smith

        My “vacation” every year is a writer’s conference. And I hate flying. I think somebody created it just to torture introverts. Last year I was finally able to take the train–by myself, in my own little room. It was bliss. I got people interaction at my meals, and the rest of the time I enjoyed the scenery and wrote. It was also perfect for my recovery period after the conference. I arrived home rested and ready to implement what I learned, instead of stressed out and exhausted.

        This year I’m driving. My family understands why I’m doing it, but so many other people can’t believe I’m choosing to spend 12 hours in a car alone rather than fly and get there sooner. It’s also cheaper to drive, and I’m ticking something off my bucket list: sleeping in the tower room of a Queen Anne house.

        I have roommates at the conference, but they’re also introverts. Most of the attendees are too. It’s so awesome to be in a place with hundreds of people who don’t think it’s weird when you’re in a corner by yourself, or bent over your notebook with your earbuds in.

        I go to movies alone. I eat in restaurants alone, unless my book counts as a date. I see nothing wrong with it. It can be very relaxing.

    • I agree 100%! I find the older I get, the less concerned I am about what other people think of my choice to live a quieter life.

    • Wendy

      Hello Bernadette, I myself have spent many years feeling bad about being who I am,( HSP/ Introvert). It has only been a short time that I have been reading the articles in Introvert, Dear, ( I am 65) I have lived with this for a long time, I have been called antisocial, any man who would be interested in you would have to be pretty weird etc etc, It has helped me a great deal to read these life experiences of other Introverts. Thank you, Wendy

      • Bernadette Harris

        That’s wonderful to hear, Wendy! I also just discovered this site pretty recently. It’s a wonderful community and I’ve felt so comforted by the fact that there are more people out there like me. We’re not as alone as we think.

    • Alicia Ross

      I can relate to this. It is really hard for my extraverted relatives to realize that I like doing things alone and that I don’t want to always hang out with people. Even though they know I’m introverted.

    • Tameka Ann-Marie

      The most annoying thing is when others lecture you and say you need to “stop being quiet” and “get out there more” “you’re missing out on the fun”. When someone tells me this, I just politely smile and say: No I’m not and I don’t need to, I’m perfectly fine having a quiet night in, writing and listening to music. I don’t need to go out to a party to have fun, fun for me is being in my comfy place.

    • Marie Blair, M.D.

      Do NOT allow people to put you down for being introvert. You are not depressed. You are not antisocial. I am a practicing physician with 37 years of knowledge and experiences in human psychology and many other aspects healthy living. I am an introvert myself. I personally enjoy a lot of things in life that an extrovert can not. My passions are reading, listing to classical music and opera. I take long walks in the nature. I enjoy looking at the flowers, trees and ocean. I meditate every day. I am and extremely healthy individual in all aspect of my being, physical, mind, emotions and spirit. No extrovert can have a life that I have. Extrovert have to be with others talking in order to get every. Mental diseases and addictions are very common in USA because 75 per cent of people are extrovert and narcissists. I will be glad to help you. My email is drmarieblair@gmail.com and my CP is 516-710-3010. Thank you. Dr. Blair

    • Rachel Leigh Smith

      The more I read about other introverts’ experiences growing up, the more I realize just how incredible my parents were and continue to be. They’re both introverts, though my dad’s a bit more outgoing than my mom. She paved the way on my dad’s side so that nobody thought it was weird when I was the cousin reading while everyone else played a game.

      They made certain each of us had the space to be ourselves. I have three younger siblings, and we’re all on the introvert spectrum. Two of us are pretty extreme in it, and we’re the only two who have been or are married. Go figure, lol.

      These weren’t things I heard growing up. Because of that, I’ve always been very confident in who I am and have never cared what other people think about me. I’m also an INTJ, which helps a lot on that front.

      I also may live in the only house in the world where “I’m going to bed” really means I’m gonna stay up way too late reading. Every single member of my immediate family has this problem, and none of us want a cure.

      • This is so AWESOME! I wish I had that kind of upbringing. Alas, no. My father is an introvert, but my mother is about as extroverted as you can get & she always made me feel like there was something wrong with me. Thanks to Susan Cain’s book, this site, & a few others, I’m finally realizing that’s not the case. I’m finally learning to embrace my introverted nature. 😊