Sad to say, we're not perfect. Here are some things introverts do that don't serve them or their relationships well. Read More
I wish someone could have explained a few of these to me when I was younger, it took until my 20's to work them out for myself (and I'm sure there's a long way to go)
Tom, I share your sentiment. I just read this and thought, boy if someone had told me this 30 years ago it may have saved me a lot of painful moments; however, the learning was worth it. I'm much more comfortable in my own skin then I've ever been! Looking forward to the rest of the journey.
You're lucky you were only in your 20s. I was almost 40!
Me too! Almost 38 and just discovering why I am the way I am! Feel so much better now, this site has changed my life :-)
Frankly, I don't see how this page or any information on it is truly helpful to an introvert. Call it how you will but I'm quite content bypassing or not participating in small talk about weather and onion dip for a meaningful or at least different and stimulating conversation that I haven't had thousands of times in life. Instead of learning life lessons from a less than 2 minute read, pick up a good book, or watch a documentary and become comfortable with your ever turning wheels and let the deep take over. We're a dying breed. Hah, but don't get me started.......Idiots.
I can understand what you are trying to say. I can see why you think that we are a dying breed. I understand the contentment, being happy with doing nothing but going on and on (and on and on...) in a conversation, staying at home with your family. I, however, also see the need to understand how to get along with extroverts. I hate phones, too. Too many "What"'s, "Huh"'s, and "I'm sorry, I didn't hear that"'s. Quality is bad. But it needs done, much to my contempt. It is hard to get involved in small talk. I often find that even wheather becomes an in depth convo. 'cuz I love the rain. But don't get me started on it. I will wind up ranting! haha
I am a big "E" for sure on the Myers-Briggs. I love reading this blog, however, since my husband and daughter are both introverts. It really gives me perspective on how they think and how to modify my own approaches to make them more comfortable. Now when I see these behaviors ( like the disdain for the phone ), I know and don't push it. Thanks for this.
I actually enjoy parties. I like to just hang around and listen to people but I don't talk much so I have to make an effort to be part of the conversation group or I'll get squeezed out because it I'm not participating. I'd be perfectly fine just sitting or standing by myself and listening but then I worry that I look weird.
Also the babbling thing, my level of tolerance for my own babbling is quite low, e.g. I hate it when I tack on a single uneccesary sentence or divulge too much information.
I second your first part here. I'm content to listen and only speak if I have something relevant to contribute.
I'm trying to work on being more social though. The more I do it the easier it is. I still hate the cold open though...being the one who starts the conversation.
Third. I would totally go out more if I would just be allowed to hang around, listen and interject if I want to. That said, I much prefer parties with an activity instead of small talk. Dancing, games, anything. I find conversation flows better out of activities performed with others. Small talk alone strikes me as incredibly forced and awkward with a capital A.
Oh my gosh! Everything, everything!, is how I feel! Can't we just listen and interject like, twice during the entire conversation? If that much? I am so excited to find other people who feel the same way! :D
But imagine if the whole party was made of people like us... I find extroverts to be fun, if they don't expect the wrong things from you.
I would much rather have introverts at a party. The conversations would be more meaningful. More in depth. No one would mind the awkward silences, because everyone knows that means that you are thinking of something WORTH saying. Extroverts are a bit too outgoing, IMO. they talk, sure, but then I find myself on the sidelines, not knowing what to do. Sure, I like hearing the chatter. But that's all it is: chatter. Noise. It's meaningless. (I've written several poems on the silence of noisy chatter and the lonliness in a crowd). Introverts, I think, are totally better. They THINK.
Great post. Another mistake I would add is "appearing aloof/intimidating." Even though I'm an introvert there have been many times I haven't approached another introvert or chatted with them because I was intimidated by their aloofness. I've no doubt come across the same way at times. Making an effort to smile or ask the other person a question can help break that aloof facade.
My readers rock! Great point!
Any tips on how to disengage from all the self-centered babblers I seem to be surrounded by?
if you could adopt some Shakespearean philosophy, i've found that if you attend their conversations as if you were a bit player in their production, the alternate perspective makes the panorama a little more enjoyable for both parties, and when you've had enough, comment that this was such a breath of fresh air but reluctantly you really must go/do/see...and you DO hope to see/talk to/catch up soon...smile a lot.
they get used to you flitting in and out, count you as a delightful audience while you are there, and don't notice when or how often you are not but you still get the benefit of having built up social capital.
At the risk of seeming "judgmental" or "aloof", i must say that i find playing jane goodall with extroverts a fascinating pastime.
So true! I've had men 10+ years older than me tell me I'm intimidating (if you saw me physically, you'd laugh!) but apparently I tend to give off the same vibe sometimes. :\
So have I! I'm 5 feet tall, weigh about 115 pounds, people call me "cute," and I'm often very quiet, so there's really very little about me to be intimidating, but I get that all the time from people a foot taller. It seems quite ridiculous.
Same here. I think I bend over backwards too much at times to be liked--but still I apparently intimidate people with my quietness. Also the way I look at people. I think introverts have a more probing gaze.
OMG, we should all form a club for people who inexplicably intimidate others! I'm an average-sized woman who intimidates 200-lb men. I have to really work on keeping a pleasant facial expression to appear approachable. I'll never forget how I first learned I suffer from this malady: My uncle was a teacher at my high school, and he told me a few years after I graduated that all the boys had been afraid of me. And there I was, always wondering why none of them asked me out!
I agree, what is this intimidated bull about? I was always told how gorgeous I was and the only people that asked me out were nerdy guys who were introverts and other girls who happened to be lesbians or bisexual. The guys I've met since college and now having graduated, they are amazed that I'm single.
I have a feeling narrow minded people are off-put by introverts. But isn't it interesting how being introverted is felt by others in this way? By the sounds of it no matter what we do the intimidated will still find us intimidating. Ridiculous. We need more articles like this.
Touché, Suzanne! But I really think - and I'm easily 55 percent introvert - that the Culture is so extroverted (read: outrageous and contentious) these days that anyone who just listens, observes and sees IS threatening to the loud and insecure folks desperately trying to grab our attention...
I can totaly relate to that! I am often being told that I have scary gaze, of course only by people who have enough self-esteem to touch that subject. They ask me whether I am mad at them or even whether I am feeling well, beacuse I look sick(!). I just find it awful at times. I try to smile, but then it just feels artifical and forced.
If I know someone fairly well, I reassure them that this is simply the way I am and that they shouldn't take it personally, but some of them just keep feeling uncomfortable, which of course I sense and which makes me even more akward and uncomfortable with them.....
My boyfriend is, I think, the only one who actually sees it as an advantage. He often laughs that I have some kind of superpower that makes grown men scared :) and tells me that I am very unique.
My son says that his friends find me intimidating, especially his girlfriends. Reminding myself of my introvert tendencies, I've made a concerted effort to keep my conversation lighter, make more smalltalk and not come across as so serious with his current girlfriend. While I've had some success (she likes me!) it doesn't feel natural and sometimes it's downright awkward and tiring but at least she doesn't think I hate her (as a previous one did). I wish that being introverted didn't equate with aloof, distant and intimidating.
You make it sound like introversion is an illness which must be shamefully hidden. If people don't like you for who you genuinely are, then having them like you for who you aren't is not an improvement. It is the people who think you are intimidating that need to alter their attitude, not you. The cultural bias towards extroverted superficiality is crap. We as introverts shouldn't have to apologize to loud noisy people for committing the crime of minding our own business. We need to hold an introverted pride parade, or more appropriately, an introverted stay home alone but know we are united day.
I love the idea of the Introversion Pride Day :)
But I disagree that she makes it seem like a disease. I'm completely an introvert, but I understand that others might see excessive quietness, listening, and only serious conversation as uncomfortable, to say the least. There's no reason we can't act considerately towards other more extroverted people while still maintaining our introvertedness. We can still prefer to be alone, limit our chitchat, have more serious conversations, and listen more often than extroverts do. But we can also remember to smile, give a compliment or a "how was your day?" or something to make the girlfriend feel welcomed. Introverts can remember not to seem rude.
exactly said. we cannot expect them to be tolerant or understanding of our needs if we cannot be tolerant or understanding of theirs. we need each other for what we all bring to the table.
Said like a true Introvert. And good for you! I agree that people should take you for who you are. Unfortunately, I think that would be introverts who understand that line of thinking, like me. Introverts are whole-hearted and sincere. Yes, extroverts CAN be, but not too many of them. We come off intimidating because when we DO speak, we speak our mind. We don't TRY to fit in and take on another's opinion. They cast us out because they want uniformity. They like sameness. We like originality and the mind. Logic. ThinkING. the unspoken thought. You are right, being the way we are is something to be celebrated.
I know what you mean. I am a teeny tiny thing, and yet, people seem to be afraid to approach me! Who knew?
OOH! My best friend always tells me I look SUPER BORED every time we go out to clubs or parties or bars, even when I'm not even bored, just watching & listening. Even as a teen, people told my mother that my gaze was scary and weird like I was looking into them. And EVERYONE who gets to know me a bit has told me I'm super intimidating & come off as b*tchy. Mind you, I'm female, almost but not quite 5'1 and very small all over. Who could be intimidated by that? Apparently EVERYONE. And the more I remind myself to smile & try to look interested, the faker it looks, and the more b*tchy I seem. :(
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Sophia Dembling is a widely published Dallas, Texas-based writer. Her latest book is The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World.
When and how should we open up to loved ones?