If an introvert is taking some time to respond to your text, don’t take it personally.
Ever since I discovered I am an introvert, I’ve been utterly amazed by how similar I am to the rest of the introvert community. I relate to almost every single introvert meme I see online. And whenever I read other articles on Introvert, Dear — like this one about how introverts don’t hate people, we just hate shallow socializing — I feel like I’m reading pages out of my own diary.
Discovering that I am an introvert changed my life. It made me accept myself more, and it gave me a chance to realize that I’m not alone in this world: There are millions of other people like me out there.
However, there’s always been one particular introvert stereotype that I cannot relate to: the stereotype that introverts hate phone calls and love texting. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I also loathe phone calls, especially when they are unannounced. But for me, texting can be just as tiring as a phone call.
To Me, Texting Can Be Just as Draining as Phone Calls
I understand why a lot of introverts love texting. After all, it’s a form of communication based on writing, and for a lot of introverts, it’s easier to convey their thoughts through writing than speaking. I’m like that, too: I feel like I can express myself better through writing than speaking.
However, for some reason, I’ve always struggled with texting people back. As soon as I get the message, I pretty much already know what I’m going to respond, but the actual act of texting back is so draining to me that I try to postpone it as long as possible. And after it’s done, I feel like I need to go lie down and take a much-deserved nap.
At first, I thought I was the only person in the introvert community who felt this way, but after I read some comments on Reddit and Instagram, I realized that I was not alone in this. I started to think about the possible reasons behind my aversion to texting, and to my surprise, a lot of them related to my introverted nature. So here are four reasons texting people back can be draining for introverts.
4 Reasons Why Texting Can Be Draining for Introverts
1. Texting is still a form of socializing, which depletes introverts.
Texting can sometimes be hard for introverts because communicating with other people depletes us, no matter if it’s through texting, phone calls, or in-person. Of course, socializing through phone calls or in-person is more draining because it requires more energy from us, but that doesn’t mean that texting cannot take a serious toll on our social battery.
Some people think that it should be easy for introverts to text back fast because, after all, it’s “only a text.” You don’t need to talk, you don’t have to look another person in the eye, and in these days of home offices and online schooling, you don’t even have to wear pants to do it. But texting people back can be hard for some introverts because you’re still interacting with another human being.
It doesn’t matter if it’s online and through writing — texting people back requires some level of energy that some of us may not have after a long day of living in this overwhelming and chaotic world.
2. It can disrupt your alone time.
Nowadays, we basically live with our cell phones in our hands 24/7, and a lot of people expect us to be available at any time because of this. But just because technology has become an intrinsic part of our lives doesn’t mean that we are ready to have a conversation with anyone at any time of the day.
We introverts need time to unwind and recharge our social battery; otherwise, we may suffer from social burnout, also known as an introvert hangover. In order to function properly, we need to spend some time by ourselves doing something we love, like reading a book or watching a movie.
But doing this can be tricky in this day and age, because even when we are alone, there is always the looming possibility of someone contacting us through text, email, social media, Zoom, or even a phone call, so it’s now possible to feel socially drained without even leaving our houses.
That’s why I always try to avoid texting people back when I’m in the middle of doing something else. Unless it’s something urgent, I postpone answering until I’m free and feel I have enough energy to participate in a conversation.
3. It can be a source of anxiety.
Texting can be a source of anxiety for introverts because everything we send is potentially archived forever in an online cloud or on a screenshot. We introverts are prone to overthinking and that is especially true when it comes to texting — a single word or punctuation mark can potentially transform our message radically.
When it comes to texting people back, some introverts like to think carefully about what they are going to write and what words they are going to use so they can clearly transmit the message that they want to convey. And all that thinking and planning takes up a part of our energy. It might not be as much energy as when we are talking to someone on the phone or in person, but it’s still draining to some degree. Especially if we are texting several people all day long and want to give them our full attention.
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4. It’s yet another form of (dreaded) small talk.
One of the main reasons some introverts don’t like texting is because they don’t like small talk — and that includes small talk through texting. When I’m talking to someone about a deep topic or something I’m passionate about, then texting doesn’t feel like a burden. It’s easier to answer because I’m invested in the conversation. I want to immediately express my opinion about the future, our dreams, or whether or not I enjoyed the latest TV show or movie that I watched. But when I have to answer things like “How are you?” or “What are you doing?” or mundane stuff related to work or school, then texting people back suddenly feels like a huge Herculean chore.
I don’t like to talk just for the sake of talking, and the same applies to texting. If the conversation doesn’t excite me or it’s not urgent, I usually postpone texting back to avoid having a full-on conversation revolving solely around small talk. I usually let some time pass until I have something more interesting to say than “I’m fine” or “I’m making dinner.”
Of course, when the matter is urgent or when a friend or family member really needs me, I can text back faster than a speeding bullet. But if the matter is not pressing, I usually like to wait a couple of hours (or even a day) until I gather enough energy to answer all my unanswered messages.
It’s Not You, It’s Us
If a person, introvert or not, is taking some time to respond, don’t take it personally. Sometimes texting back can be hard for some of us, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic began, because now more people than ever are experiencing texting burnout after more than a year of living through a historic pandemic.
It’s important to normalize that it’s completely valid for people to take the time they need to text back, because sometimes even the seemingly small action of picking up the phone and taking a few minutes to text someone can be exhausting when everything around you feels overwhelming.
People have to understand and respect that not everyone is ready to text back the second they receive a message. But the same goes for the other side of the spectrum. If you don’t like to text back fast, then that’s fine and it’s understandable. But it’s also important to remember that there is a person on the other side of that text, and we have to be careful and respectful of their time and emotions. It’s fine to take some time until you are ready to respond, but to text back days (or even weeks) later as if nothing has happened can be hurtful.
Thankfully, my loved ones already know this about me. In fact, it has become a running joke with the people who truly know me. They know that I’m not the best at texting people back and that it can take me a couple hours (or a day) for me to get back to them. But they also know that I care a great deal about them and that my love is not measured by the amount of time it takes me to text them back.
If you are like me and texting depletes you, make sure to let your loved ones know that it’s nothing personal — it’s just the way that you’re wired — but that doesn’t mean that you don’t care about them. You just sometimes need time to yourself, without any kind of interference, not even from the online world. Most of the time, the reason behind your slow response is not about them, but about you.
Fellow introverts, do you feel depleted from texting, too? If so, why? Comment below!