As a card-carrying introvert, I feel I can speak for my people when I say this: we’re sorry!
We know there are things that we do that might weird you out or make you feel uncomfortable. We know we sometimes act strange and do things you don’t expect.
I want you to understand that we’re definitely not trying to freak out or offend anyone; we’re just doing what’s in our nature.
While ambiverts might sort of understand, we know that extroverts often don’t get us, and I think it’s about time we clear the air.
So here are eight things introverts do that come across as rude but are really not meant to be.
If we’ve made you get your knickers in a knot, we’re sorry and hope these explanations will help you understand us better!
1) Go home early
Have you ever been out at a get-together or a party only to look around and suddenly have to ask, “Hey, where’s Dave?”
If you have, it’s either because your friend has gone on the prowl or because he’s an introvert.
I chose the name Dave on purpose since my friend is renowned for disappearing from social situations. He does it so often we actually call it “doing a Dave.”
When you meet Dave, he’s quite friendly and personable. He doesn’t seem like the type of guy who’s strongly introverted. He even plays in a band!
So it even took me, a fellow introvert, a long time to figure out why he was always ditching the group without even a goodbye.
Dave says that he reaches a point where he’s had enough socializing and needs to go have some alone time. If he tells people he’s leaving early, he knows he’ll be pressured to stay out longer even though he feels uncomfortable, and that wouldn’t be great for anyone.
So he just slips away.
If you know introverts who do this, I hope you can understand their reasons.
I don’t usually disappear like my friend Dave does, but I also feel like I’ve sometimes reached my limit with socializing.
I can find it taxing, especially if I’ve had a long, hard day and I’m out of energy.
Most introverts find socializing a bit draining and prefer to charge their batteries alone. Extroverts, on the other hand, tend to get their energy back when they’re with other people.
So if I’m out with friends and my internal battery starts flashing low, I’ll often disappear for a bit.
I might pop into the bathroom and sit on the toilet to play on my phone for a few minutes, as long as it’s not too stinky, anyway.
If I really need a break, I might slip outside for some fresh air or even go for a walk to clear my head.
Most of my friends know I do this, and when I come back, they rarely say anything.
I also know other introverts who hide to a much greater degree.
One friend of mine will say he’s going to be right back but will be gone for hours at a stretch. Once, when we were at a party, he even went home and watched a movie before he came back.
He said it was great!
3) Go off the radar
A lot of introverts will go home early or slip off for a break from people once in a while.
But one thing we’re almost all known for is going off the radar.
I mean not answering texts or phone calls and not being seen or heard from at all.
We’re talking complete radio silence here.
This can seem really strange and even rude to people who don’t understand this behavior, but the explanation is actually quite simple.
Introverts need alone time.
When we don’t get it, we can get uncomfortable, unhappy, irritable, and even downright nasty.
We know this about ourselves, too, so just like any respectable monster, we lock ourselves away when we’re in one of these full moon moods.
Of course, this behavior seems really anti-social, but I’d argue that it’s actually pro-social because we’re saving all those happy people out there from having to deal with us at our worst!
4) Make observations (out loud)
I’ve found that most introverts are quite observant.
This could be because our minds can go into hyper-drive when we’re in social situations. We find them challenging to navigate, so we think a whole lot about every little thing that’s going on.
While extroverts are focused on just their conversations, introverts tend to take in a lot more accessory details.
One thing that we’re not always good at, though, is keeping our observations to ourselves.
I remember being at a bar once and meeting a man with only one hand. I asked him if he’d lost the other in an accident or if he’d been born that way since it seemed unusual.
Well, my very extroverted friend immediately dragged me away, apologizing to the guy as we went.
“What were you thinking?!” he demanded when we were safely out of earshot.
I explained that I was just curious. The guy obviously knew he only had one hand, and I certainly wasn’t criticizing or making fun of him.
Eventually, I went back and apologized, but the guy wasn’t bothered at all. My friend, however, was mortified and told me I needed sensitivity training!
Even though this situation didn’t cause any big problems, I learned to try to keep my observations to myself.
5) Zone out
So yeah, uh… sorry, what was I going to write again?
Oh yeah. I was going to say that sometimes we introverts zone out in the middle of conversations.
And I know this doesn’t make you feel good.
What’s the reason for it? Are we bored or thinking about something else?
That could be the reason for some people sometimes, whether or not they’re introverts or extroverts. Sometimes, we just find what other people are saying uninteresting, or else we have big issues weighing us down and distracting us, right?
But on top of that normal reason, introverts have an extra cause for zoning out.
Like I said earlier, we find social interactions taxing. So when we get tired, we can actually retreat into our mind palaces where we’re able to take a little bit of a breather.
Sometimes, we get so tired that our minds just kind of flip a switch, and we zone out automatically. This can happen even when we’re really interested in what others are talking about, so sometimes it makes us miss out.
6) Stay out of other people’s business
Isn’t it good manners to keep your nose out of other people’s business?
Like everything else in the world of social interactions, the answer is complicated.
Yes, you should stay out of other people’s business, except when you or your friends are involved in it!
For a lot of us introverts, getting involved is tiring and something we’d prefer to avoid.
But I know this can disappoint our extroverted friends who actually want us to jump in and get involved if we can back them up, help them out, clarify details, or even make a judgment on who’s right, for example.
7) Act cold or unfriendly
When you first meet an introvert, they can come across as cold and unfriendly.
I think it’s in our nature to be a bit reserved at first as we study the new person and figure out how best to interact with them.
You might even hear introverts say things like, “I hate meeting new people.”
We find it very challenging, especially in contrast to talking with people we already know and feel that we understand.
Essentially, we think a whole lot when we talk to people, and that goes double for new people.
It’s not that we don’t feel good about the new person; we’re just so focused on trying to get through the initial experience that we don’t have a lot left in the tank to put into warm gestures and body language.
8) Turn down invites
When socializing wears you out, you have to really keep track of how much of it you do.
If you don’t, you can easily become worn out and turn into a real cranky-pants.
That’s the voice of experience talking!
For this reason, introverts very often turn down invitations to social events, meetings, and gatherings.
We feel the need to keep ourselves on an even keel, and when we know we can’t, we’ll start turning down invites or even canceling some of our social commitments.
I know this can seem rude or unappreciative if you don’t know why we do it!
These are eight things introverts do that come across as rude but are really not intended as such.
We’re certainly sorry if they bother you, but if you can look deeper and try to understand how we feel, I hope you’ll find it in your heart to forgive us.
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