Please Stop Making These Rude Comments to Introverts

An introvert hears a rude comment

Every introvert has likely heard these kinds of rude comments at some point.

As a 30-something introverted woman, I’m often the recipient of unsolicited advice. While these statements may have been intended to be helpful, they often feel hurtful or rude.

I’m pretty sure every introvert has heard some variation of the following statements at least once in their life (or at least once a day — haha!). So, without further ado, here are eight comments that introverts wish you’d stop saying — assuming you want to keep them in your life.

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Rude Things Introverts Wish You’d Stop Saying

1. “Are you okay?”

First off, I don’t think it’s inherently rude to ask someone if they are okay. In fact, I consider it an act of kindness to approach a forlorn friend and ask them if they’re doing all right. I always try to do this, even though it involves stepping out of my comfort zone.

But when you know someone is an introvert, things are different. In a conversation, we introverts may prefer to observe more than talk. We take time to open up and speak only when we have something relevant to say. We don’t talk just for the sake of talking; small talk is not our forte.

So, just because I am sitting quietly and listening to you talk does not mean I am upset. Please, do not ask me if I am “okay” just because I am not speaking much. You may think you are being kind, but really, you’re putting me on the spot and making me uncomfortable.

2. “You’re overthinking it.”

As an introvert, believe me when I say that overthinking is one of my primary traits. I can’t tell you the number of times I have “overthought” things that extroverts wouldn’t think twice about.

For example, I recently gave a lot of thought to a minor argument I had with a friend. I could only stop replaying what happened after I forced myself to focus on something else.

I believe overthinking is both a gift and a curse, and in my case, the cons outweigh the pros. I know it’s not good for me, and I’m working on it. So, there is no need for you to point out the obvious!

3. “Is there anything you enjoy doing?

Yes, I have been asked this question, and perhaps you’ve been asked it too, or a variation of it. My 11-year-old nephew recently asked me this, and at first, I was tongue-tied. But then I explained to him that enthusiasm doesn’t always have to be boisterous. Not everyone shows their emotions on the outside, after all.

Some of us are introverts, and our quiet demeanor and calm attitude do not mean we are disinterested in what life has to offer. We have hobbies and passions too; the only difference is that we are quietly excited about them. This doesn’t mean we are “boring.” It just means we are introverts. Our excitement is more subtle, but it’s there!

(Speaking of passions and hobbies, here’s why introverts should take up new, random hobbies.)

Whether we play an instrument, learn a new language, read a book a week, or take an improv class, you name it, we enjoy doing things that fulfill us. (We just won’t boast about it every chance we get.)

4. “Speak up!”

This might be one of the most common and annoying pieces of “advice” we introverts receive. Aside from “speak up,” it comes in various forms, like “express yourself,” “don’t be shy,” and “come out of your shell.” However, they all have the same effect: We end up speaking even less than before. At least, I do. Drawing attention to how little we are speaking only makes me more self-conscious.

For me, it takes considerable time to let my guard down in social situations. Once I become comfortable with a group of people, you won’t need to tell me to speak up. In fact, you may be surprised to see how much I talk once I settle in and start to feel at home. Until then, please respect my boundaries and let me talk as much (or as little) as I’m comfortable with.

Do you ever struggle to know what to say?

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5. “Don’t you get bored staying home?”

First of all, please stop judging me. Do I ask you why you party so much? No, right?

And to answer your question: No, I don’t get bored staying home. I am a homebody; I love staying indoors. You might not understand why I like staying home, just as I may not understand why you like going out.

But — this doesn’t mean I am home 24/7.

Yes, introverts love solitude, and where better to find it than at home? Being home allows me to recharge and engage in fulfilling activities, like reading and journaling. Most importantly, home is my safe space, where I can get away from the overwhelming noise and stimuli of the outside world.

6. “You need to be more social.”

Who said there’s a one-size-fits-all approach to socializing? I get it — you are a social butterfly. Good for you! I, on the other hand, am a private person who is selectively social. We introverts are built this way.

(Here’s the science behind why introverts love spending time alone.)

Socializing beyond a couple of hours might drain us, and we need alone time to recharge our energy. Since we can only interact with people for limited periods, we focus on the quality of our interactions rather than the quantity. Maybe you can’t understand how we live like this, but we’d appreciate it if you could try to accept us for who we are.

7. “Smile!”

I’m a woman, and women are often told to “smile more!” I’m also an introvert, and introverts are routinely told to smile because, unlike extroverts, we don’t display big smiles on our faces even when we are happy.

To anyone who is told to “smile more,” I think this is what we should start saying: “I might not always have a big smile on my face, but that doesn’t mean I’m not happy; this is just my face.”

I’m reserved by nature, so my expressions don’t always reflect how I’m feeling. Maybe an honest reply like this would be more effective than a forced, pained smile or a death stare.

8. “When I met you, I thought you were a snob.”

Of all people, an ex-therapist of mine made this off-handed remark. Unprofessionalism aside, she is not the only one who has said something like this. Many people think introverts have an attitude problem and are rude. I mean, I get it: We can be quiet, we might socialize less, and we don’t seem to smile “enough.”

That said, please don’t be so quick to judge us. Give us introverts some time and space, and you’ll see that we can be warm and loving. In fact, an introvert can be the best friend you’ve ever had!

(Oh, and as for that therapist? She didn’t get me at all, and I had to let her go after a couple of sessions. Thankfully, I’ve since found a new therapist, an introvert like me. And now therapy finally feels like it’s working.)

What are some more things you wish people would stop saying to introverts? Let me know in the comments below.

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