Group project? Ughhh, seriously? Networking event? Will I get fired if I don’t go? Blind date? One thousand times no! Party boat? Only if you’re paying…and there are mai tais.
See yourself in any of the above responses?
An introvert living in an extroverted society often comes equipped with a full set of oh-so-fun introvert problems (especially if your family or friend group is overrun with extroverts). The things that other people find super enjoyable or just totally routine may make you want to lock the door to your room and bury yourself under the covers. Check out our list of the most common introvert problems you may come across as an introvert navigating the choppy waters of extroverted world.
And stick with us to the end of the article, because we will toss you some helpful survival tips for making the best of extroverted friends, family members, workplaces, school settings. Hope it helps you feel less alone; though we are most often behind the scenes, remember that one third to one half of the human population are introverts with so-called introvert problems!
Please know that this list is meant to be light-hearted and not to make you feel bad about your temperament or your tendencies. You may see yourself in a few of these introvert problem scenarios, many of them, or even all of them from time to time (guilty as charged)…most of us introverts have been there.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at the top 10 introvert problems.
After a busy workday, your friends want to meet up out on the town to unwind over dinner and drinks, but the only thing on your mind is heading home, shutting the door, and breathing a big sigh of relief to end the stream of human interaction. As an introvert, you may find that if there’s a big social plan looming in the future, you need to spend the day (or even week) ahead of time mentally and physically gearing up for it. You wonder how others have so much energy for socialization while it is so taxing on you.
Haircuts, elevators, grocery store lines…these situations can give you the jim-jams. It’s not that you are anti-social, it’s just that mixing and mingling with new people in a shallow way is not your cup of tea.While you may certainly be the type to sit for hours with a kindred spirit talking about everything from philosophy to family problems to your favorite foods, you hate shallow conversations and avoid them whenever feasible and however possible…you might even cross the street to avoid an interaction or exclusively use the self-checkout lane.
Sometimes you do feel lonely and isolated, craving the company of your fellow humans. However, when offered the chance to socialize such as getting invited to a party, out for drinks after work, to a concert, or even a family gathering, you oftentimes find yourself less-than-excited to participate when the even rolls around. You might be one to bow out of such events with white lies; you’re unlikely to blow it off altogether. And then you feel guilty afterwards at the same time that you feel quite relieved that you didn’t go!
Like Mr. Darcy, the iconic introvert from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, you “do not have the talent of conversing easily with people you have not met before” and may come across as a cold fish. For example, you’re getting to know someone new, and they confess that their first impression of you was that you were snobbish. Nothing could be further from the truth; you are only aloof because you dislike small talk and feel reserved around new people, not because you think you are better than others. Or perhaps people assume you are a shy wallflower when really you are a confident person who simply prefers to socialize in different ways and takes your time to think before speaking.
You truly enjoy your own company. Maybe you like to pack a book, head out to your favorite dinner spot, and grab a table for one. Maybe you enjoy disappearing into the darkness of a movie theater to catch the latest flick solo with zero social pressure. Or you like to grab a beer at the local pub with no company aside from your iPad. What’s wrong with that? It irritates you when you catch (or imagine) a pitying glance or overhear a snide comment from a more social stranger. Can I live??
You do your best work when you have time, space, silence, and freedom to focus and work in your own way, at your own pace. You’re dismayed that the trend in workplaces and schools is increasingly leaning toward groups, groups, groups. You loathe being forced to participate in loud, unproductive brainstorming sessions and prefer to work alone rather than being forced to collaborate. You’re probably not a bad team member; in fact, you may be one of the most desirable team members because you’re so conscientious that you take on the bulk of the work while others socialize and goof around. On the other hand, if you’re a more extreme introvert, maybe you detest group work so much that you simply shut down, finding yourself unable to participate at all.
You’re not a negative person, but you do have a very active imagination, and you may be quite an overthinker. When posed that kind of question, your creative mind can often come up with several quite heinous scenarios! If you let yourself go there, you can stay up all night chewing over situations from every possible angle. The plus side is that you are reflective and thoughtful; the challenge is that you can easily get totally tangled in your own thoughts! Others may see you as excessively dreamy and tell you to “get your head out of the clouds”.
In a work meeting, you can see the solution to the issue at hand as clear as crystal. You keep trying to pipe up to get your voice heard, but everyone is blabbing without listening to anything but the sound of their own voice. Frustrated with trying to get a word in edgewise, after a while, you just wave an unnoticed white flag of surrender and tune out. Or maybe in your social group, no one else has even tried or heard of that off-the-beaten path restaurant you found that is totally awesome because the louder, more competitive types always push their own agenda. If your introversion is extreme (or you are saddled with a shitty significant other), your partner may not even know your favorite book or why you love it so much.
The rare urge to go out and paint the town strikes you! Your friends rejoice in those rare times you consent to venture out of your favorite hideaways; you meet up at a hot social spot. Ten or twenty minutes later, you find yourself eyeballing the exits and dreaming of escape. You tend to feel overwhelmed or bored in crowded places that other people seem to be enjoying, but you rarely feel bored spending solo time or hanging out with one or two close friends in a more relaxed setting. You feel a natural resonance with cats and can’t even really get mad when your furry friend claws the door to be let outside then stares forlornly into the window wanting to come back in where it’s cozy.
Perhaps you can see yourself in the following scenario either in the present time or historically in your school days: you’re sitting in the back row of class and a brilliant contribution flashes in your mind. You raise your hand impulsively, excited to share, but when the teacher calls on you, your heart starts beating a mile a minute and you break out into a cold sweat, your mind suddenly a blank slate. Your brilliant idea slides away into the ether and you get down on yourself later that day when you remember again!
The first thing to know is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being an introvert. You may be able to fake extroversion for a limited period of time, but you innate introvert nature will always win out. Trying to change yourself into an extrovert is pointless. So love yourself for who you are and learn to appreciate the positive aspects of introversion!
Here are some tips for dealing with the extrovert world while respecting and nurturing yourself as an introvert.
Though we all have multifaceted personalities and unique life histories, introverts often have a lot in common, including so-called introvert problems. Keep in mind that although you don’t resonate with the extrovert ideal touted so highly in mainstream culture, you are not weird or flawed, and you’re certainly not alone!
Please know that there is a big difference between being an introvert and suffering from social anxiety, although social anxiety is more common among introverts. Introversion is a personality trait that comes with both positive and challenging aspects. Social anxiety is a disorder in which a person feels intense fear and self-consciousness in social situations or other situations where they are or may be subject to the scrutiny of other people. If any of the introvert problems we talked about cause you undue distress or interfere with your quality of life, you may benefit from consulting with a counselor or other helping professional.
Craig is the founder of LifeGuider, he is dedicated to improving not only himself but also others in being more physically fit and mentally capable of handling life’s challenges. He is not your regular life coach, no fancy clothes or fast cars, just a regular “Ole Joe” who has experienced the ups and downs of life like everyone else.
Introverts everywhere, get ready to shudder your way through this article. If you fall anywhere…