I’m glad I’m an introvert. I love so many of the things that come with it.
Well, we’re less likely to get bored, we can find richness in our own company, and we’re often highly creative — to name just a few.
But it isn’t without its challenges still, that’s for sure.
Even though it’s estimated that anywhere between 25%-40% of people are introverted, in many ways, it’s still an extroverted world out there.
And there are certain challenges that can come with it.
That’s why if you find these 9 things really difficult, you’re probably an introvert…
1) Small talk
If there’s one thing that strikes fear into my heart, it’s the thought of making polite chit-chat.
I feel like whenever I try, I just come across as slightly weird.
Maybe you can relate?
It’s a really typical problem for introverts.
We have a hard time navigating what we see as shallow or trivial topics of conversation.
We don’t want to talk about the weather or the latest sports results. It’s boring and meaningless to us.
We want to know your feelings, thoughts, and ideas on all the subjects that matter the most.
2) Making friends
Introverts are not in any way less likable. But they can face more challenges when trying to make friends.
For starters, they can be less likely to mingle or put themselves out there. So obviously, that makes it harder to meet people.
But they also prefer to have a few close friendships rather than lots of friends.
We cannot spread ourselves that thinly, and maintaining dozens of friendships is too demanding for many of us.
Introverts may take their time to get to know people first and build the foundations of a bond. Whilst that’s a wonderful thing, it also means friendships don’t usually appear overnight.
Some introverts can also find it harder to let people get to know them. They may feel uncomfortable opening up.
So sometimes it can feel harder for us to connect with others.
3) Large groups
Fundamentally, much of an introvert’s behavior is driven by the way we gain and lose energy.
Our battery quickly drains whenever we are around certain energy zappers.
One of which is other people.
That’s not to say we don’t enjoy company, we do.
Whilst we’re usually great at small groups and one-on-one interactions, too many people are overwhelming.
It’s like we’re absorbing all that energy around us.
It comes down to the way we’re wired.
It takes our brains longer to process information. And so it uses up more of our juice the more data we need to take in.
A film night with our bestie is our idea of heaven. Because a busy party full of strangers can all seem a bit too much.
4) Noisy environments
For much the same reasons as the point above, too much stimulus in general can push us over the edge.
Do you find it really hard to concentrate with background noise?
For example, when I’m in a bustling cafe with a friend, I can’t focus on what they’re saying to me.
My brain is like a sponge that’s absorbing the sounds, sights, and overall vibe of what’s going on around me.
For this reason, earplugs have become one of my go-to tools to cushion myself from the deluge of sounds we come across.
5) Replying to messages
I like to let it be clearly known:
I take my time in replying to messages.
I have an extroverted friend who seems glued to her phone non-stop.
She can have long chats back and forth with several people within a day, all whilst going about daily life.
That just ain’t me.
Keeping up with our 24-7 “switched on” society can be tricky for introverts. I don’t want to chat for the sake of chatting.
I can’t even explain it. It’s not really a time thing, it’s an energy one.
Sure, you can find 2 minutes to text that person back. But the thought of it feels heavy.
6) Switching off from your thoughts
Even when we try to switch off from the outside world in order to recharge, there’s one thing that we cannot escape:
Introverts create a vibrant internal world. And that’s a wonderful thing. We’re often pretty self-aware because of our self-exploration.
But the downside is not being able to turn it off.
Overthinking is a common issue for introverts who can struggle to stop that chattering voice in their heads.
As a consequence, you may be more prone to anxiety too. Because all that overthinking and ruminating isn’t great for your mental health.
Calming tools like meditation and mindfulness can be super effective in helping us to quieten the monkey mind.
7) Sticking to plans
Does this sound familiar?
It’s about 6 pm on Friday evening. Earlier in the week you arranged to see a friend and go for a few drinks.
It’s been ages and you’ve been meaning to catch up for a while.
But when Friday morning rolls around you’re already experiencing that sinking feeling that comes along with the obligation of going out.
So when your friend texts to say they’re not feeling so great, and can you rain check — you feel utter relief.
Woo-hoo cancelled plans!
Introverts can get a bad reputation for being flakey.
But what people don’t always understand is that if we’re not in the mood socializing can feel downright painful for us.
That’s why we back out of plans or do a secret happy dance when things get called off.
8) Feeling guilty or “wrong” about who you are
Introversion is still really misunderstood.
At different times in your life, you may have been falsely labeled as:
- Lacking in confidence
But that’s not true, and it’s not fair.
For introverts to be happy, they have to be mindful of the things that stress them out. We need to play to our strengths.
But others simply don’t always get that. They expect us to fit into their conventions of what is “normal” behavior.
So you can end up feeling like you’re weird for how you are, or feeling bad about it. Yet you should never feel guilty about honoring your own needs.
My life changed for the better when I embraced my introversion and stopped trying to behave in ways that I thought other people expected of me.
9) Leaving your comfort zone
Okay, so everyone finds this problematic. But especially introverts.
That’s because sometimes we can give ourselves a bit too much permission to hide.
As we’ve seen, there are plenty of things that as an introvert can be more difficult for you.
So it’s very tempting to occasionally shut yourself off from the outside world. Particularly because we genuinely enjoy our own company.
But here’s the thing:
Whilst introversion is in part a biologically dictated personality trait, it doesn’t mean we cannot develop certain skills that don’t always come naturally to us.
We can get better at small talk with practice. We can get more comfortable with mingling at parties the more we do it.
So whilst we should celebrate and honor our introversion as a superpower, we should never use it as an excuse not to tackle the things that scare us in life.
All introverts are different
It’s important to remember:
There isn’t only one way to be introverted.
Not all introverts are shy, some are. Not all introverts have a hard time in loud places, but some do.
So you may recognize some things on this list but not others.
The main feature that unites all introverts is our unique wiring which means we process things differently, and so have different energetic needs than extroverts.