8 things in life introverts find exhausting, according to psychology

Navigating the world as an introvert can sometimes feel like running a marathon with no finish line. It’s not that we’re antisocial or shy, it’s just that certain things in life can be more draining for us than for our extroverted counterparts.

According to psychology, there are specific things that really seem to take the wind out of our sails. Here, I’m about to share with you eight things in life that we introverts find particularly exhausting.

Don’t worry, this isn’t a complaint fest. Rather, it’s an opportunity for understanding and empathy – whether you’re an introvert yourself or you’re trying to understand one in your life. Let’s dive right in.

1) Overstimulation

Introverts thrive in quieter, low-key environments. It’s not that we’re averse to socializing or stepping out into the bustling world; it’s just that too much of it can leave us feeling depleted.

Psychology explains this through the lens of our sensory processing sensitivity. We introverts tend to have a higher sensitivity to external stimuli, which means that we absorb more information from our surroundings than our extroverted counterparts.

So, what does this mean practically? Well, it means that environments with a lot of noise, people, or activity can quickly become overwhelming for us. It’s like trying to drink from a firehose.

This is why after a day full of meetings or a lively party, we often need some time alone to recharge and process everything. And it’s also why we might prefer quiet cafes over loud bars, or a night in with a book over a night out at the club.

Remember, it’s not about being antisocial. It’s about managing our energy levels in a world that can sometimes feel like it’s turned up to 11. It’s about self-care and ensuring we’re able to show up as our best selves.

2) Small talk

Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not that we introverts hate talking. We just prefer conversations with substance. The kind that dives beneath the surface and really allows us to connect with another human being.

Small talk, on the other hand, can feel incredibly draining. It’s like nibbling on appetizers when what we really crave is a hearty main course.

Let me give you an example from my own life. I remember once being at a social gathering where I knew very few people. The evening was filled with chit-chat about the weather, recent movies and other surface-level topics. By the time I got home, I remember feeling physically exhausted despite having done very little physical activity.

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy people’s company or didn’t want to socialize. It’s just that the constant small talk drained me. I craved deeper connections, meaningful conversations, and an opportunity to really get to know the people around me.

So, if you’re ever having a conversation with an introvert, try skipping the small talk and diving straight into something more substantial. You might be surprised at how much more engaged we become!

3) Pressure to perform

In a society that often equates success with extroversion, introverts can sometimes feel the pressure to perform or act out of character. This could be in social situations, at work, or even in our personal lives.

Psychologists have found that introverts and extroverts use different neural pathways when processing information. Extroverts tend to use the pathway that is linked to external rewards like money and social status, whereas introverts use the pathway associated with long-term memory and problem-solving.

This means that introverts are more likely to think before they speak, take time to process information and prefer to work on one task at a time. However, in fast-paced environments where quick decisions and multi-tasking are valued, this can lead to stress and exhaustion for introverts.

The pressure to conform to societal norms can be tiring. It’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Instead of forcing ourselves into roles that don’t suit us, we need to recognise and appreciate the unique strengths and contributions of introverted individuals.

4) Unplanned social events

While we introverts can certainly enjoy social events, spontaneous invitations or surprise gatherings can be a different story. We often value our time alone or have carefully planned our downtime to recharge. An unexpected disruption to this plan can be quite exhausting.

Imagine this: You’ve just wrapped up a long day of work and are looking forward to an evening of relaxation and solitude. Just as you’re settling down with a good book or your favorite movie, your phone buzzes with a last-minute invitation to a social gathering.

For many introverts, this last-minute shift can feel jarring and disruptive. The sudden expectation to switch from ‘recharge mode’ to ‘social mode’ can be a source of stress and anxiety.

This isn’t meant to discourage inviting introverts to social events. But perhaps giving them a bit more notice or understanding if they decline the invitation would go a long way in making them feel comfortable and understood.

5) Misunderstandings

As introverts, we often feel misunderstood. It can be exhausting to constantly correct the misconceptions people have about us. We’re not antisocial, uninterested, or aloof – we just interact with the world differently.

This misunderstanding can lead to feelings of isolation and frustration. It’s like speaking a language that only a few people understand. You’re trying to express who you are, but the message seems to get lost in translation more often than not.

Here’s the thing: being an introvert doesn’t mean we don’t value social connections. We do. Deeply. We crave meaningful relationships and genuine interactions. We just also value our solitude, our quiet moments of reflection, our time spent in our own company.

And there’s something truly beautiful about that, don’t you think? So instead of misjudging or misunderstanding us, take a moment to appreciate the depth and introspection we bring into this fast-paced world. After all, everyone has something unique to offer.

6) Networking events

Networking events can be a real challenge. The thought of walking into a room full of strangers and striking up conversations is enough to make any introvert feel a sense of dread.

I remember one specific event early in my career. I had just started a new job, and my boss encouraged me to attend a big industry networking event. As I entered that crowded room, I could feel my stomach knotting up. The noise, the small talk, the pressure to make connections – it was all so overwhelming.

I did manage to strike up a few conversations, but by the end of the evening, I felt completely drained. It was as if I had run a marathon, both mentally and emotionally.

These experiences have taught me that it’s okay to approach networking in my own way. Instead of trying to meet as many people as possible, I focus on having a few meaningful conversations. It may not be the conventional approach, but it works for me – and that’s what matters.

7) Lack of alone time

Alone time is crucial for introverts. It’s our way of recharging, processing our thoughts, and centering ourselves. Without it, we can start to feel worn out or even anxious.

Imagine your phone battery constantly running on low, with no opportunity to recharge. That’s how an introvert can feel when they don’t get enough alone time.

Unfortunately, in a world that’s always on the go, finding these quiet moments can be a challenge. Between work demands, social commitments, and the everyday hustle and bustle, carving out time for solitude can sometimes feel like an uphill battle.

But it’s a battle worth fighting. Because when we get the alone time we need, we’re more present, more creative, and more in tune with ourselves. And that’s when we truly shine.

8) Being labeled as ‘quiet’

The most important thing to understand about introverts is this: being quiet doesn’t mean we have nothing to say. We’re thinkers, observers, listeners. We may choose our words carefully, but when we do speak, we aim for those words to be meaningful.

Being labeled as ‘quiet’ can be frustrating. It implies passivity or lack of opinion, which couldn’t be further from the truth. We have thoughts, ideas, and passions just like everyone else. We simply express them in our own way.

Remember this: everyone communicates differently. Introverts may not be the loudest voices in the room, but that doesn’t make their contributions any less valuable. So next time you meet someone who is quiet, don’t underestimate them. They might just have the most interesting things to say.

A final thought

Understanding introversion isn’t just about identifying what exhausts us. It’s about recognizing the unique strengths and perspectives we bring to the table.

Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist who popularized the terms introvert and extrovert, once said, “The most intense conflicts, if overcome, leave behind a sense of security and calm that is not easily disturbed.”

As introverts, we might often find ourselves in conflict with a world designed for extroverts. But overcoming these challenges allows us to cultivate resilience, self-awareness, and a deep sense of inner peace.

So if you’re an introvert feeling drained by these aspects of life, remember this: your introversion is not a burden but a gift. It’s a different lens to view the world, a quiet strength that has its own power and beauty.

Take solace in your solitude. Cherish your depth. And above all, honor your need for quiet and reflection in a world that often forgets to pause and breathe. Because in that quiet space, you can truly shine.

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair is a former competitive athlete who transitioned into the world of wellness and mindfulness. Her journey through the highs and lows of competitive sports has given her a unique perspective on resilience and mental toughness. Ava’s writing reflects her belief in the power of small, daily habits to create lasting change.

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