For many introverts, conforming to societal expectations can be exhausting.
This is because several behaviors that are natural and innate for introverts are offensive to extroverts and vice versa. Click to tweet.
Introverts are in a constant tug of war between doing what is expected and fulfilling our true desires. Click to tweet.
My naïve younger self would regularly behave in a way that my more extroverted friends found rude, offensive or just plain strange. My somewhat less naïve older self still commits these supposed faux pas, but slightly less often. Read on to find examples of introvert tendencies that can put extrovert knickers in a knot.
Not indulging in small talk
Small talk is a social exchange that some people master more quickly than others. It is also an introvert’s kryptonite. Click to tweet.
Unfortunately, small talk can’t be avoided. In business, at social gatherings and pretty much anytime you are meeting new people, superficial banter is a necessity.
In my youth, I would usually skip the small talk and delve into more personal topics that excited me. This works fine in adolescence, but it’s risky in adult conversations.
As adults, we’re expected to be appropriate, respect boundaries, blah blah blah. Sometimes I think I was better off with my old approach.
Wondering off at inappropriate times
Extroverts are typically confused or offended by our tendency to leave social situations at ‘inappropriate’ times.
In high school, one of my friends complained about my habit of sneaking away from social gatherings without saying where I was going.
After some consideration, I realized that other people leave group settings at prescribed times and usually announce their departure. Ah, I get it.
I immediately set out to assimilate (with varying degrees of success).
Daydreaming when we should be listening to instructions
The enchanted lands of an introvert’s imagination are often more enticing than what is happening in real life. Click to tweet. This is especially true if we are faced with boring instructions.
I definitely still struggle with this. Sometimes, I don’t even realize instructions are being delivered because I’m too distracted by my own thoughts.
Stephen Hawking once said, “Quiet people have the loudest minds”. Click to tweet.
As introverts, our thoughts can be so loud that they overpower the noise around us. Click to tweet.
I can see how extroverts might interpret this behavior as rude or irresponsible. But really, it’s just one of those adorable quirks that make us introverts so loveable. Right?
Leaving the dinner table too soon
While extroverts delight in after dinner conversation, introverts are often squirming in their seats. We wonder how soon we can leave without coming off as rude.
In my early twenties, my partner and I shared a house with another young couple. Most nights we all ate dinner together. After everyone was finished eating, I would retire to my room for the rest of the evening.
One day, the other hen of the house told me she and her partner were very offended that I didn’t sit and converse with them after dinner each night.
Really? So … I’m supposed to sit and chat more after sitting and chatting for an entire meal? Every night?
This experience and many others made me realize that extroverts and introverts see things very differently. Consequently, extroverts regularly misinterpret our actions.
I don’t think constantly adapting our behavior to please extroverts is the answer. Helping people understand introversion is a far better approach.
Yet another reason to join the quiet introvert revolution.