9 things introverts find exhausting, according to psychology

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Introverts and extroverts are as different as chalk and cheese.

For an introvert, navigating the world can sometimes feel like running a marathon. It’s not that we don’t enjoy socializing, it’s just the way we recharge is different.

Psychology sheds some light on why certain things just tire us out more than our extroverted counterparts.

In this article, I’ll reveal 9 things that are particularly draining for us introverts, according to psychology.

With understanding, maybe we can all make the world a little less exhausting for each other.

1) Social gatherings

Psychology tells us that introverts aren’t antisocial, they’re selectively social.

While extroverts may thrive on large, bustling social gatherings, introverts often find these situations draining. It’s not that we don’t enjoy company, it’s just that we prefer it in smaller doses.

For us, being surrounded by a large crowd can feel overwhelming. Too much social stimulation can quickly lead to exhaustion, requiring us to retreat and recharge in solitude.

This doesn’t mean we don’t like people or parties. We just need balance and time to recover after social events.

Don’t be offended if we turn down an invite or leave early. It’s not you, it’s us, and we’re just trying to look after our mental energy levels.

When dealing with an introvert, quality over quantity is the key to our social energy.

2) Small talk

Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that small talk is another thing that can be exceptionally tiring for introverts.

Let me paint you a picture. Imagine being at a networking event, surrounded by strangers. The room buzzes with small talk. Topics flit from weather to weekend plans, and you’re expected to participate with enthusiasm.

For an extrovert, this might be enjoyable. But as an introvert, I find it exhausting. It’s not that I don’t care about the weather or what someone did over the weekend, it’s just that these surface-level conversations feel draining and often insincere.

We introverts thrive on deep, meaningful conversations. We’re interested in understanding people, their thoughts, their feelings, their experiences. Small talk doesn’t allow for that depth, so we often find it frustratingly superficial.

When you’re chatting with an introvert, consider skipping the small talk and diving into something more substantial. You might be surprised by how much more engaging and enjoyable the conversation becomes.

3) Being constantly available

In our hyper-connected world, we’re expected to be available 24/7. But for introverts, this constant connectivity can be a real energy drain.

Psychological studies reveal that introverts often have a higher sensitivity to dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. This means that while extroverts may thrive on the constant buzz of social media notifications and text messages, introverts can find it overwhelming.

For us, solitude is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. We need time away from the constant chatter of the digital world to recharge our mental batteries.

If you notice an introvert friend or colleague frequently going ‘offline’, don’t take it personally. It’s just their way of maintaining their mental energy and restoring balance.

4) Open office plans

The modern trend of open office plans can be a nightmare for introverts.

While they are designed to encourage collaboration and communication, for an introvert, they can feel like a minefield of distractions. The constant buzz of activity, noise, and people can make it difficult for us to focus and be productive.

Introverts often work best in quiet, solitary environments where they can concentrate and delve deep into their thoughts without interruption. Being constantly exposed to the hustle and bustle of an open office can be mentally taxing.

If you see an introvert coworker with headphones on, or seeking out a quieter corner, understand that they’re probably not being antisocial. They’re just trying to create a mini sanctuary amidst the chaos to focus and do their best work.

5) Unexpected attention

Introverts can be great public speakers, performers, and leaders. However, we usually like to be prepared and know what’s coming. Unexpected attention or being put on the spot can make us feel uncomfortable.

Imagine being in a meeting and suddenly being asked to share your thoughts or present an idea without prior notice. For us introverts, these scenarios can be nerve-wracking and mentally draining.

We prefer to have time to gather our thoughts, plan, and prepare. We value careful deliberation over impromptu witticism. This doesn’t mean we can’t think on our feet, but given a choice, we’d prefer not to be surprised with unexpected attention.

If you’re working or living with an introvert, giving them a heads up about what’s expected can go a long way in helping them perform their best and feel comfortable.

6) Misunderstandings and stereotypes

Introversion is not the same as being shy, antisocial, or unfriendly. Yet, these are common misconceptions that we introverts often face.

Being misunderstood can be hurtful and emotionally exhausting. We constantly find ourselves having to explain our need for alone time or our preference for quieter settings. It’s not that we don’t enjoy the company of others, we just experience social energy in a different way.

We wish people understood that being an introvert is not a flaw that needs fixing. It’s simply a part of who we are. And just like everyone else, all we seek is acceptance and understanding.

Diversity in personalities makes the world more colorful and balanced. So, let’s strive to understand each other better and respect our unique ways of navigating the world.

7) Networking events

Networking events are often seen as a necessary part of professional life. But for an introvert like myself, they can feel more like a battlefield than a beneficial experience.

The prospect of introducing myself to a room full of strangers, striking up conversations, and attempting to make meaningful connections in a short span of time is daunting. It’s like being thrown into the deep end without a life vest.

It’s not that I don’t value making connections or learning from others. In fact, I deeply enjoy forming genuine relationships and engaging in meaningful dialogue. It’s just that the high-speed, high-pressure environment of networking events can be very draining.

I’ve found ways to adapt, though. I often plan ahead, have a few conversation starters ready, and take short breaks when needed. But despite these strategies, networking events remain one of the most exhausting aspects of my professional life.

8) Lack of personal space

Personal space is important for everyone, but for introverts, it’s absolutely essential.

We introverts often need a sanctuary where we can retreat and recharge our mental batteries. Whether it’s a quiet corner of the house, a peaceful garden, or even just a private nook with a good book, these spaces are vital for us.

Having our personal space invaded or not having access to such a space can be very stressful. It’s like being a phone on low battery with no charger in sight.

If you’re living or working with an introvert, respecting their need for personal space can make a huge difference in their comfort and overall well-being. They’ll appreciate your understanding more than you know.

9) Pretending to be extroverted

The world often seems designed for extroverts, with their love of socializing and thriving in bustling environments. This can push introverts to put on an ‘extrovert mask’ to fit in.

But pretending to be something we’re not is exhausting. It’s like wearing a pair of shoes that don’t fit – no matter how stylish they look, they hurt with every step.

The most important thing to remember is that being an introvert is not something to be ashamed of or something that needs changing. It’s just a different way of interacting with the world. And that’s perfectly okay.

Embracing the quiet strength

The complexities of human nature and personality are fascinating. The divergence between extroverts and introverts is one such aspect that adds richness to our societal fabric.

Understanding introversion is not just about identifying what exhausts us, but also about recognizing our unique strengths. As introverts, we may find certain aspects of life draining, but we also have incredible abilities to observe, reflect, and understand on a deeper level.

As Susan Cain, author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”, rightly puts it: “There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.”

It’s important to remember that being an introvert is not a hurdle to overcome. It’s a different way of experiencing the world, a quiet strength that should be embraced.

So if you identify as an introvert, don’t feel the need to conform to an extroverted norm. Honor your introverted traits, maintain your energy balance, and remember – it’s okay to retreat, recharge and revel in your own company. It’s not just okay, it’s your superpower.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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