It’s 2023 but introverts still sometimes get a bad rap.
Although we’ve made strides, society tends to deem the quieter people in the room as weird or standoffish.
But guess what? Life is not this one-dimensional. Humanity is far more complex than we give it credit for.
That person at the party who may not consistently be on your wavelength isn’t necessarily anti-social or angry, they may just be a bit of an introvert.
In this article, I’ll offer more insight into the behaviors of introverts at social gatherings.
Once we start seeking to understand each other a little better, the world will be a far more tolerant place.
Let’s get to it!
1) They prefer smaller groups
When it comes to introverts, still waters run deep.
This means that they tend to prefer meaningful dialogue, rather than loud, boisterous crowds.
They also tend to have an aversion to inane, small talk–which seems to be a standard form of communication at sizeable parties or gatherings.
At a social gathering, the introvert is not one to seek the spotlight and be the center of attention.
Instead, they may be somewhere along the periphery, hanging out and engaging in intimate conversations.
While the extrovert might feed off the energy of others, the introvert gets an equal high from substantial interactions in smaller circles.
2) They listen more than they talk
Author and educator Stephen R. Covey once wrote: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
Fortunately, this isn’t typically a problem with the introvert.
They tend to be good listeners, taking in and absorbing what you have to say rather than just waiting for their turn to speak.
We live in a society where genuine listening is pretty rare; where our collective attention spans have been stunted.
Did you know that 50 percent of people scroll past a reel within five seconds?
Meaning that if we aren’t gratified in a matter of moments, we’re onto the next thing.
This is an apt analogy for the current state of human connection.
So, in a sense, the introvert is in the minority–in a good way.
They’d rather reflect and absorb what’s being said than offer immediate but superficial feedback.
They won’t simply tell you what you want to hear; they tend to actually have something of value to add.
If this is considered “weird” by society, then count me in.
3) They drink a bit too much
For better or worse, introverts tend to be introspective, thinking people.
Booze numbs any feelings of uneasiness in less-than-ideal social circumstances.
It provides them with an avenue to be like everyone else, to feel normal, and to engage in lowbrow, conventional small talk with less inhibitions.
And sometimes, they get so caught up, they end up having one too many glasses of Sauvignon blanc.
So if you know an introvert who tends to overindulge in alcohol every now and then, they may just be wanting to level things out.
The late literary heavyweight Ernest Hemingway once said: “An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools.”
4) They need time to recharge
Real talk: It’s a misconception that all introverts are socially inept or painfully shy.
Some introverts can socialize with the best of them; their methods are just a bit different.
They may be able to handle large groups but in spurts.
And once their social battery inevitably runs out, they’ll need some time to recharge.
In this sense, introverts are not unlike the smartphone you’re reading this article on.
I’ll be honest, I’m a bit of an introvert.
Although I can enjoy a party here and there, I will definitely need my ‘me time’ after–a period that can last for days at a time.
This is why I dread the concept of the destination wedding.
Think about it: you’re obliged to spend consecutive days and nights with large (often unfamiliar) groups of people with minimal downtime.
Frankly, after one big day or night amongst others, I’m spent.
I’ll need days or, in extreme cases, weeks to recover.
But in destination weddings, there is no hiding. You have to be committed to the task at hand, all the while maintaining a smile on your face.
For those of us with introverted tendencies, this is absolutely daunting.
So, if you get married in a faraway resort, and you notice a person or two dipping out midway through the reception, don’t worry, you likely didn’t do anything wrong.
Their social battery may have just been running a tad low.
5) They have a preference for one-on-one interactions
They say if you’re not losing friends, you’re not growing up–a mentality I’ve found to be mostly accurate.
When we’re young we tend to want to hoard friends like they’re Pokemon cards. This mindset gradually begins to shift as we mature and evolve.
We begin to realize that it’s completely normal to drift away from people.
It isn’t personal. Life happens. Your interests and values may simply no longer align with certain people like they used to.
Having friends for the sake of it is no longer the priority it once was.
In this sense, introverts are sort of ahead of the game. They aren’t distracted by the noise, the incessant and vapid chatter, of the crowd.
They strive for deeper, consequential human connections.
Introverts thrive in one-on-one interactions–they get more fulfillment from these types of bonds than they might from passing exchanges at a party or nightclub.
Rather than a dinner with the whole town present, for instance, they’re inclined to pursue a chill meal or coffee with someone they care about.
To be honest, as I age, the latter option sounds more and more appealing.
If you consider yourself an introvert, it’s time you own it.
Some segments of society might typecast you as aloof but the ones who count get it.
I’ve always considered introverts to be fascinating people.
They’re the writers, the artists, the innovators–the ones who observe and absorb, seeing the world from a fresh and unique lens.
And if that means they’re initially misunderstood, so be it.
I’d like to conclude the article with this nugget of wisdom from the great Albert Einstein (perhaps you’ve heard of him):
“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.”