A room buzzing with chatter, laughter filling the air, and yet, all you want is to slip away to a quieter corner.
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone.
I’ve spent years grappling with why I felt drained in lively social situations, only to realize that it wasn’t a flaw; it was a part of who I am — an introvert.
Understanding this not only made me feel seen but also gave me the freedom to be unapologetically me.
If you’ve ever felt out of place in a world that seems tailored for extroverts, read on; you might just be an introvert too.
1) Making small talk
Small talk: the bane of many introverts’ existence. Including mine. This is the part I dreaded about having to hang out with someone I don’t know very well yet.
The other day, I was hanging out with a friend and one of her friends who I only just met. My friend went downstairs to go pick up our food order, and I was left alone with the new person for a few minutes.
Let me tell you, they felt longer than the rest of the two hours we spent together. It was like trying to do a dance I didn’t know the steps to.
You see, introverts crave depth in conversations. We’re the type to ponder life’s big questions and are more at ease discussing our favorite book or a groundbreaking idea than commenting on the weather.
If you also struggle with small talk, it’s not because you’re socially awkward or aloof. Rather, it’s a hallmark of your introverted nature seeking substance over surface.
2) Being in very crowded places
Crowded places can feel like an assault on an introvert’s senses. The noise, the bustle, the chaotic energy — it’s like being in the middle of a whirlpool.
And I can vouch for that. I don’t necessarily mind people — recently I traveled to Barcelona, which obviously has lots of tourists.
That was fine as long as we were in an open space where it was still easy to move around. But when it comes to places like the metro or a cramped restaurant where I’m in a confined space with strangers, my anxiety skyrockets.
One explanation for this is that introverts often have a heightened sensitivity to external stimuli. We pick up on the nuances around us more intensely than most, and when that’s multiplied by a sea of people, it can be overwhelming.
For some people, networking events are a golden opportunity to schmooze, make connections, and climb the ladder. But for introverts like me, and perhaps you too, it’s a chore that seems as daunting as scaling Everest.
At networking events, you’re expected to present the best version of yourself, to be “on” all the time. And that, for an introvert, can be exhausting.
We value authenticity and genuine connections, which are hard to come by in an environment fueled by elevator pitches and business cards.
I’ll never forget my first networking event. I was an intern working for a radio startup, sent to a pretty cool-sounding event to find people to interview. I remember wandering around, trying to fit in.
I didn’t know how to strike up a conversation with a person I didn’t know, and how to swivel it to inviting them for an interview without being weird.I couldn’t wait to leave.
If the idea of networking makes you want to crawl under your bed, don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s not that you lack ambition or social skills; it’s that the format simply doesn’t align with your introverted ways.
4) Going to too many social events
Have you ever found yourself saying yes to social events, only to regret it later? I used to do this all the time.
Accepting invitations to parties, happy hours, and weekend outings felt like what I was supposed to do. And sometimes, I was even genuinely excited when I said “yes”.
But then, at the actual event, I would always find myself retreating to a quiet corner or looking for another lone wolf to talk to.
And the thought of a totally jam-packed social calendar fills me with dread rather than excitement.
Introverts, like me and maybe you, have a limited social battery. It’s not that we don’t enjoy spending time with people; it’s that we value quality over quantity. One meaningful conversation can be more satisfying than a dozen shallow interactions.
5) Making phone calls
You’d think something as simple as dialing a number and talking to another person would be no big deal, right? But it can actually trigger a surprising amount of anxiety.
When you make a phone call, you’re thrust into a conversation without the benefit of body language or visual cues, making the interaction feel unnaturally intense.
I don’t feel particularly confident with strangers even when we’re face to face, so when I can’t connect with them visually, I feel super awkward and like I don’t know what to do.
It gets to the point that I sometimes write down what I want to say before I call — which is actually not a bad strategy if the call is important.
But also, I tend to prefer texting or emailing whenever possible, because it allows me the time and space to think before I “speak.”
In an age where there are numerous ways to communicate, it’s absolutely okay to choose the methods that make you the most comfortable.
6) Sharing personal stories in group settings
Picture this: You’re sitting in a circle of people, perhaps at a gathering or a team-building activity, and someone asks you about an experience you’ve had.
Someone else might be happy or even eager to share, but you find yourself retreating inward.
I know this feeling well — introverts cherish our inner world. It’s a sanctuary where thoughts and feelings are meticulously sorted.
Sharing that openly in a group feels invasive, like someone leafing through the pages of a personal diary.
And that’s okay. You have every right to only share what you’re comfortable with sharing, and choosing who you share it with.
7) Participating in forced ice-breakers or team-building events
You know the drill. “Tell us one fun fact about yourself!” These events are supposed to make everyone feel “closer,” but for people like me, they often have the opposite effect.
Imagine being pulled into a “trust fall” exercise with someone you barely know. Or how about that awkward moment in “Two Truths and a Lie” where you’re suddenly scrambling to think of something both interesting and not overly revealing.
These activities are meant to build rapport, but every time I had to do them, all I could think about was how I’d rather be almost anywhere else.
Why? Because forced social interaction feels disingenuous to many introverts. We thrive on meaningful, one-on-one connections, not superficial group activities.
If you find yourself dreading these events, feeling like you have to mentally prepare for them as if you’re going into battle, then you’re in good introverted company.
It’s not that we don’t want to get to know people; it’s just that we prefer to do it in our own time and in a less forced environment.
8) Being the center of attention
Ever been unexpectedly called out in a meeting or during a celebration, and felt your stomach do a somersault? Everyone’s eyes turn toward you, and in that moment, you’re flooded with a blend of anxiety and a wish for an invisibility cloak.
Maybe it’s your birthday, and coworkers decide to sing you “Happy Birthday” in the middle of the office.
Or perhaps you’ve won some kind of award, and suddenly you’re called upon to give an impromptu speech.
These moments are meant to be celebratory, and sure, you appreciate the sentiment.
But introverts usually don’t crave the limelight. We’re content playing a supporting role, cherishing the depth of our interactions over the breadth of them.
It lets you relax into being yourself rather than worrying about saying the right thing or making the right impression when all eyes are on you.
And that’s for the best. Introverts may not seek the spotlight, but that doesn’t mean we don’t shine in our own unique ways.
9) Getting tons of notifications
“Ping!” “Ding!” “Dink!” Do these sounds drive you a little crazy? For many people, this constant barrage of buzzes from your phone might symbolize popularity or importance.
But personally, I switched them all off years ago. Because it’s totally maddening. There I am engrossed in a book or in writing an article, and then my phone rips me out of my flow.
It’s like a master demanding my immediate attention — and I’m the slave. But weren’t our phones supposed to serve us, not the other way around?
I’ve never felt more at peace than since I turned all these alerts off. I do still check messages and updates, of course, but I do it on my own terms — when I have the headspace and energy to do so.
Stepping into your authentic, introverted self
There you have it, 9 things that, if you dread, pretty much give you an introvert badge of honor.
But remember, being introverted isn’t something to shy away from (pun intended).
It’s just another facet of who you are—a facet that comes with its own set of strengths and charms.
So, the next time you choose a quiet night in over a buzzing social event, don’t feel guilty. You’re simply honoring your authentic self.