The 13 Things That ‘Horrify’ Introverts the Most

For introverts, these things are terrifying year-round!

In the spirit of Halloween, it’s time for ghosts, goblins, and all-things-scary. But for introverts, some things are scary year-round — small talk, anyone? — not just on October 31.

After all, many introverts would probably prefer their coveted alone time instead of the doorbell ringing every few minutes with trick-or-treaters, a new masked stranger appearing each time, some even making small talk.

Just for fun, we decided to ask some introverts what they find most “horrifying,” and here’s what they had to say. Maybe you’ll agree? Or maybe the responses will stir up your own introvert fears?

13 Things Introverts Find Horrifying

1. When people call — and a text or email would have been more than sufficient.

As an introvert, I am frightened by people who call when a text or email would be more than sufficient. There is a certain anxiety that comes with an open-ended conversation, since phone conversations are expected to take longer than the 10 seconds necessary to transmit the information. This anxiety is compounded by the lack of visual cues during a phone call that are vital to us introverts, but are often summarily ignored by extroverts. 

–Steve

2. Not being able to exit an intense social setting.

The thing that horrifies me the most is not being able to exit an intense social setting. If I am somewhere and don’t have an out, my stress level skyrockets. I need to know that I have a way to step out or leave so I can recharge. 

Lou

3. Networking events. Period.

Networking events are made for extroverts who gain energy by being around people and engaging with them. However, for most introverts, networking events are generally uncomfortable and terrifying — we find it hard to be open and let strangers into our lives. We are atrocious at small talk, and it is challenging to establish rapport with new people. For us, networking is definitely out of our comfort zone and ranks as one the top scary things for introverts.

Albert

4. Being put on the spot.

My biggest fear is of being put on the spot to say something in a group or public setting when I’m not prepared. That feeling of all eyes turning to me to say something off-the-cuff really makes me uncomfortable! 

Jen

5. Two words that strike intense fear into my heart are “overnight stay.”

I may be an introvert, but I love people. I can have a great time seeing friends and family and love spending time together over a few drinks and board games. But if we need to stay overnight? That’s when anxiety sets in. Keeping up the social energy in the morning, not knowing when we’ll be able to duck out and find some respite — these thoughts embed themselves into the back of my mind, which makes socializing that much harder.

Mike

6. First dates terrify me. 

First dates terrify me because of my aversion to small talk and awkward silences. I can talk to someone online, no problem, but face-to-face? I make very weird small talk because I’m nervous. The terror is, I see the date and he’s not who I’m interested in when I meet him in person. Then I just want to leave as quickly as possible, so the small talk becomes even more painful. I just sit there, in anxious terror, and blurt out the first thing that comes into my head, whether it’s appropriate or not. 

Prime example: I went out on a one-date-wonder a few years ago. We met for lunch, he didn’t appeal to me in person, awkward silence ensued. The only thing I thought to say was: “Armadillos are the only other mammal that contract leprosy from humans.” (I learned that factoid in fifth grade and who would have thought it’d stick with me 35 years later?!) He looked at me in horror and I fled. I never heard from him again — whew!

Lisa

7. Public speaking scares me to death. 

Any sort of public speaking scares me to death as someone who is basically a career introvert. It doesn’t matter if I’m leading a meeting of three participants or speaking to a larger audience, the thought of being the center of attention in any way, shape, or form truly terrifies me. It’s kind of like a fear of heights — you don’t understand it truly unless you suffer from it. All of the workarounds don’t seem to work, and I just manage it by avoiding it as much as possible. 

David

8. Getting trapped in a social commitment that can prolong for hours.

There’s nothing more frightening than getting trapped in a social commitment that can prolong for hours (like public speaking or large parties). I prefer shorter engagements when my energy levels are higher, but once things drag on, it becomes impossible to focus and incredibly uncomfortable! 

Sara

9. Having roommates — thus having to be social all the time — is an introvert’s worst nightmare.

The one thing that scares me a lot is living with my friends permanently. While I enjoy socializing, after a while, I am mentally drained and need time to recharge. If I had to live with friends, I’d feel obligated to be social all the time and that would be mentally stressful for me as an introvert because I wouldn’t have “space” to get away from them. You’re stuck living in the same place, and I feel that would be pretty unbearable.

Roger

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10. My biggest fear is being embarrassed.

As an introvert who avoids social interaction at nearly all costs, my biggest fear is being embarrassed. When I’m in public, I usually become solely focused on how I look to other people, what others think of me, and the assumptions they make of me. In the past, it’s affected everything from the way that I walk to the comments I make to even the tone of my voice. It can be kind of brutal, but it’s something I’ve learned to deal with. Staying out of the public eye seems to help with that.

Mike

11. I feel my introversion can scare off a romantic partner.

One thing that scares me is that being introverted and very independent could cause damage to my relationship or scare them off

Lauren

12. I fear being alone forever because of my introversion.

We all need love and companionship, but as an introvert, I don’t like feeling like I have to compete for “airtime” in social gatherings. I love my alone time, but still want a solid group of loved ones. 

Tolu

13. I find it horrifying when my work manager announces, “Let’s have a team-building exercise today.”

I call myself an introvert, as I am someone who enjoys alone time, would rather stay home than go to a party on weekends, and I regain energy by spending time away from people. 

The one thing that terrifies me is when my work manager announces, “Let’s have a team-building exercise today.” Though we introverts tend to be team players — as we are all about deep work and being invested in the goals of the group — when it comes to group or team activities, it scares us. Team-building exercises involve interacting with people, small talk, and, in some cases, having the spotlight on you alone. These are all things my introverted self dreads and runs away from.

Azza

Introvert, what horrifies you most? Let me know in the comments.

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Natalia Lusinski is an editor at Introvert, Dear and Highly Sensitive Refuge, as well as a lifestyle journalist, and her byline can be found in several publications, including Business Insider, Yahoo, and Forbes. Until the pandemic, she was a digital nomad blogging about it at NomadicNatalia.com and sharing pictures of her journeys on Instagram, @Nomadic_Natalia. Currently, however, she’s practicing #stayinghome.