The challenges of being an introverted woman

 Not as desirable

The introverted female is a species all her own. While other women delight in constant chitchat and colorful banter, we silently wonder if we’re missing a crucial femininity chip.

You can’t blame us for feeling ostracized.  In our culture, it is implied that talkative, extroverted females are the norm, while quiet women mostly belong in monasteries and silent films.

Society’s obsession with chatty women

In general, women are expected to be chatty, outgoing and to wear our hearts on our sleeves.  Western culture prizes girls who have an easy breezy, smile-at-strangers and giggle-at-everything sort of demeanor.

Unless you’re in Finland or East Asia, introverted females are largely undervalued.  We are typically more inhibited, less talkative and less skilled at faking enthusiasm than extroverted women.  Our quiet virtues can easily be overshadowed by the dazzling, in-your-face charm of outgoing women.

Introverted women in TV and Movies

One need only look at television role models to understand our plight.  The reign of the extroverted female began with Marsha Brady and has steadily gained steam with characters like Rachel Green from Friends and Gloria from Modern Family.  These women are the epitome of bubbly, extroverted charm.

They are witty, hilarious and nauseatingly endearing.  They are the type of women we have all wanted to be like at some point.  Now, compare them with introverted television heroines, such as … ummm … err … gimme a second …  hmmm  … (see where I’m going with this?).

Lately, there seem to be more introverted females on the silver screen.  Bella Swan of Twilight immediately comes to mind.  Unfortunately, it’s pretty difficult to relate to someone who divides her time equally between flirting with werewolves and making out with vampires.

My favorite introverted film character is Amelie, a daydreamy, young french woman who is totally loveable.  It’s refreshing to see  a movie that portrays an introverted woman in a positive light.

Why it’s hard to believe Audrey Hepburn was an introvert

Most people are surprised to learn that Audrey Hepburn was an introvert.

“I have to be alone very often. I’d be perfectly happy if I spent Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That’s how I refuel.” Audrey Hepburn

It’s hard to imagine that Hepburn’s true personality was so different from the extroverted characters she played.  It’s also difficult for some to fathom that such a beautiful woman could be an introvert.  Many people wrongly envision female introverts as pasty white spinster types who own at least three cats.

The reality is, introverted women come in all shapes, sizes and skin colors.  And, like Hepburn, we can be radiantly beautiful as well.

Introverted women vs. introverted men

Western society tends to be more accepting of stoic men than their female counterparts.  How many of you have heard a friend say, with a chuckle, “dad is pretty quiet, but my mom will talk your ear off”? Or, perhaps they warmly relate how grandpa used to hide out on the roof with a book whenever guests came over.

Can you imagine how people might react if it was grandma on the roof?  They would probably think she was crazy, depressed, or incredibly rude.  In any case, I doubt they would find her actions endearing.

Why is it okay for grandpa to claim his solitude, but not good ol’ grams?

Introverted women wanting to be extroverts

I used to turn my darkest shade of green-eyed monster when gazing upon extroverted women. I wished I could master the art of flirtation and fluffy banter as they had.  I envied how they always knew what to say and when to say it.  I strived to be more like them, and in some ways, I succeeded.

After years of practice, I can be easy breezy and bubbly for about 20 minutes at a time (after which point I become exhausted and begin writing blog posts in my head).  I’ll admit, putting on my extrovert hat has its advantages.  But it also comes at a price.

Every time we stomp down our introverted nature, we crush part of our soul in the process.  Click to tweet.

In order to make way for our louder, more extroverted alter ego, we must bury a part of ourselves.  Consequently, it becomes more and more difficult to unearth the hidden treasures of our true personality.

Nowadays, I strive to embrace my introversion, and all the wonderful qualities that come with it.

I recognize that femininity radiates from the inside out and finds its true form in quietness. Click to tweet.

I know I’m not necessarily “normal”, but I see my value nonetheless. And besides, being normal is highly overrated – kinda like being extroverted.





  1. I have _never_ wanted to be (or even to know) a Marcia Brady clone.

    Shudder. 🙂

    • Me either. I found her to be annoying as hell. In fact, the whole Brady Bunch made me want to vomit.

    • I couldn’t stand the character of Rachel on Friends. Too much drama.

      Marcia’s character on The Brady Bunch wasn’t like that as I recall it (drama) but she definitely wasn’t studious like Jan. I also related well to Jan’s middle child frustrations, though as an introvert, feeling invisible was kind of good. It only became a problem when I would have someone wonder why I wasn’t wanting to “put myself out there”. After all, people, according to my mom, thought that I was “standoffish.”

      All of my academic achievement, excelling in piano, and so on just weren’t important if I didn’t have that social element and girly obsession with my appearance to others.

      I never understood why Jan was pegged as unattractive while Marcia was so hot. The whole blonde obsession of the 1970s was awful. I was born blonde, then my hair turned darker at 10 months, gradually becoming a rich brown in my teens. But, in the 1970s with the Brady girls’ “hair of gold”, Farrah Fawcett on Charlie’s Angels & the 1980s with Pam Anderson on Baywatch, blonde was everything it seemed. Once I went gray and started coloring my hair blond, I still do notice a difference in how men acted. Ug.

  2. I really enjoyed this post. My dad was one of those men who retreated to his room when the house filled up with family and it was just a matter of fact. My introvert mother was worn to a frazzle after she came home from a short hospital stay and my sibleys decided someone needed to be with her all the time. She reached a point of exhausted tears which everyone else attributed to her health but it was simply her need for some solitude.

    I think it’s a challenge for introverted women to move out of the stereoytypes and into discovering their strengths through being authentic as introverts but resources like your Introvert Spring are so helpful. Thanks

  3. Thank you so much for your blog and everyone’s comments. Its lovely to read these and learn that I am just a different type of normal.

    My introversion has always existed but has blossomed in the last 5 years. I come from a cultural background where nobody even knows the word introvert let alone understand that I need alone time. I am struggling to adjust to a new living situation (have just moved countries, and am living with my partners family who I have just met as we moved here!). My partner is understanding, but in more of a ‘oh, she’s just like that’ way – he wouldn’t know what introversion or extroversion was.

    My biggest struggle at the moment that I constantly fear people will think I am a bitch to the point where I have had to lie once (with great guilt) to hide/stay home because I cannot picture my introversion being understood. If I don’t follow my instincts and do whatever I can to get that time out, I get physically ill.

    Sometimes I worry I have a touch of social anxiety but the greater part of me says that its just a symptom of being too run down with forced socialising. When I’m happy I’m fine, if I’m exhausted – yuck. Does anyone else have similar experiences?

    I would love to read more blogs if anyone knows of any, read books, or make online friends to talk to so I can learn too. 🙂

    Thank you again to everyone’s comments 🙂

    • Rose, I love how you said your introversion has “blossomed” – great choice of words! Thank you for sharing your struggle to adjust to your new environment. Believe me, I know the feeling.
      My two favorite introvert Facebook Pages are Introvert’s are Awesome and Social Introverts. Psychology today has a good blog, called Introvert’s Corner. The Introvert Entrepreneur website also has some insightful blog posts 🙂

    • I can relate. It’s quite a struggle to live in surroundings that are ultra extroverted as I do.

  4. I can definitely relate to this, especially to feeling jealous of extroverted women. I took acting classes in high school and postsecondary since I was told I needed to ‘come out of my shell’ and while they did help me to make friends and learn to express myself more, I was forever jealous of the charming girls who always got the roles I wanted. They weren’t better actors than me (introverts can be actors, as you say with Audrey Hepburn, since they bring a greater emotional depth and insight to their roles), they were just more bubbly and likeable, even to directors! It drove me nuts. But now I’m married to a fellow introvert who loves me the way I am, especially that I don’t want to force him to go to large parties and would rather read a book! We meet while working at a bookstore and now spend a lot of our time reading at home in peace and quiet. We’re also happy cat owners and are content to be childfree, so that I don’t have to be a stressed mom trying to deal with all that crazy stuff. My life has worked out in unexpected ways – I used to think I could only be happy if I learned to be extroverted, but now I’m more at peace just from accepting and being who I truly am.

    (Also as far as introverted women on tv goes, I think that Rory Gilmore on Gilmore Girls is an introvert, since she’s always reading. But her mom is definitely an extrovert. And it’s possible that Joan Watson on Elementary is an introvert too, since she seems to spend most of her free time in bed reading and is quite smart without feeling the need to be bubbly. As for Twilight, I have to admit that as silly as the story sometimes is, I have a soft spot for it partly because Bella is an introvert who reads Jane Austen. Maybe it’s sad to say there are so few introverts portrayed in the media that I was happy to see anything like that, even in Twilight!)

  5. Hey Michaela!

    So as you may have guessed from my name, I am not an introverted female. However, I am an introvert, and I just had to tell you that your bit about the ability to be an extrovert for 20 minutes (albeit at a steep price) literally made me laugh aloud. I have been in that situation so many times it’s unbelievable, and it takes me about a full day to recharge.

    I also wanted to remark on your comment about introverted men vs. women. I think you make an excellent point, though I can tell you being stoic and aloof doesn’t always work for the rest of us like it works for Clint Eastwood. I often find myself in a position where I feel obligated to pretend to be extroverted, and then feel oddly guilty if I fight that obligation. Not to mention that fact that extroverted guys tend to always draw the attention of single girls in any room. Talk about “darkest shade of green-eyed monster.”

    Anyway, more to the point, I just wanted to say that I thoroughly enjoyed your blog, I wanted to encourage you (hopefully) by saying that there is at least one man in the wide world who values the very qualities you described. After all, if I was looking for love in the form of mindless babbling and false enthusiasm, I might as well marry MTV. ; )

    Keep writing, and thanks again!



    • Thank you for the encouragement, Jake. And thanks for sharing your male perspective on this 🙂 Hahah, being married to MTV sounds like a nightmare.

    • I have to admit that extroverts, at the beginning, are just good at grabbing attention. I notice that introverts and extroverts pair up because the extrovert is good at initiating the interactions, dates, etc. I believe I missed the opportunity to date many a nice introvert just because neither of us could be bothered to open up the conversation with one another!

      • Ah yes, the classic introvert-introvert stand off where no one is willing to make the first move. Shame.

  6. I struggle with self esteem surrounding the question of whether my feelings and need for socializing is “normal” or pathological. Sometimes it’s easier to guess when it is “normal” and other people are just brainwashed into discriminating against introverted females/people. – like peer pressure and getting openly criticised or needing to stay home a lot as opposed to going out in a group every weekend (interestingly, it was a “try-hard-to-be-extroverted-introvert” who applied such pressure).

    I have actually developed social anxiety disorder (after being sexually harrassed every day by a creep in an all male workplace – though). But i have always felt anxiety around unfamiliar people who i have to spend hours with daily.

    -this confuses me, as to how “normal” it is.

    I think that it is fair to say that “normal” is largely judged by what happens to be acceptable and common in society. And, this s why i think certain mental “illnesses” can be created by society to some extent. …if i had more personal space at work for instance, i would get past my anxieties with less trouble. If i didn’t feel pressure to be extroverted, and do roles like waitressing or reception, i would not have succumbed to trying to do these and wouldn’t have felt like a failure when i couldn’t do these.

    So many peope expect you to do such things. It takes character, i think, to set boundaries and say “No.”

    There is THAT much pressure to be extroverted in our culture. Normal traits are now pathologised (i remember faking depression, since new friends thought this more acceptabke than my needing more downtime) and people are also pushed to being more extreme .-since, if you are already quiet, pressure to be accepted will make you fake being extroverted or worry that you aren’t extroverted enough – in other words, it will make you socially anxious.

    With me, i also have to deal with full social discrimination, because of having had an actual mental/emotional disorder (and it was even by my own definition, a disorder).

    One of the positives from this has been my developing contempt for narrowminded exclusion and sheer paranoia towards anything and anyobe different.

    And, maybe this, more than anything is the real issue. That our society is simply fearful of difference, period. Why should “normality” be so very important? …so for me, i work towards self acceptance regardless of whether society pressures me to be. It is a harder path to take, however. But it will be easier in the long term.

  7. Oh, and one of the latest disorders being hurled at introverts these days is Aspergers. Apparently now, there is a new “female” version, where having just problems not feeling nervous and overwhelmed in a group/ being sociable for a long time, means you have Aspergers now.

    This is what we are up against: psychiatry/psychology matching socities preferences with invented disorders that match what is acceptable and what isn’t.

  8. Alanis Morissette comments on being highly sensitive – which often goes along with introversion for many of us: “I get maxed-out more quickly than some, so it’s my responsibility that I schedule little mini-breaks throughout the day, and have enough sleep. It’s almost incumbent on me to make sure that I take care, in a very fierce way, in order to be able to continue to write and to be the person I want to be.” – From my article Introverted, Shy or Highly Sensitive in the Arts

  9. I too am an introvert and my mother is highly an extrovert. As a kid she used to make me feel that being introvert is a sin and she used to make me talk to everyone. As you said, i also succeeded to some extend but could not carry on with it for long.

    • I would love to see a book on this topic. I think judgmental, controlling, critical extrovert mothers can do a lot of damage to their introvert daughters. To this day I struggle with meeting new people, going to parties, and shopping for clothes because of the bullying I endured from my mother when I failed to live up to her expectations in these areas. Nothing I ever did was even close to right.

      • There is a book that touches on many issues surrounding introversion. It’s called “The Highly Sensitive Person” by Elaine Aron. I’ve read most of it. It is pretty good. Talks a lot about self-acceptance, self-care, etc.

        • Thanks for the suggestion, Dee. I’ve read some of Elaine’s articles, but haven’t read the book yet. I’ll add it to my list of must reads. 🙂

      • Smirking:
        I know of what you speak as I had that kind of mother. She went beyond extroverted and was a fair bit narcissisticeverything was about her. And whatever she did, it was always “because she cared” and/or I hadn’t done it quite right. **eyeroll** She was great at pointing out others’ mistakes while justifying hers as having good motivation.

        Best wishes.

        • P.S. I hope that you find healing. I am still working on it.

  10. Im a Kenyan and it’s so encouraging to read your blog ..ive finally found out that Im job requires me to talk and interact with people so at the end of the day Im usually too tired to be in company of others.i hate picking phone calls especially the ones that i know aren’t that important.i literally lock myself in the house to get away from my very outgoing friends consequently earning myself the name ‘snob’
    they are ultimately right because i love my own company anytime and i seldom feel lonely as a result.i also dislike attention and being in a crowd makes me feel lonely than when Im one around seems to understand me and why i enjoy solitude..but after reading your blog i love myself more and appreciate who i really am with no apologies.thank you for sharing

  11. Thank you for the wonderful blog. In the society I live in being introvert is looked upon as dumb or snobbish and I have been called both at some point. My mother is an introvert and she has never taken kindly to silly chatter or faux social gatherings. I have however been struggling to be my self without bowing to the demands of my surroundings. Thank you this blog is helping me to seek and enjoy my solitude without guilt.

  12. Yes, yes, yes, all of this! I have been accused of being “cold” and “standoffish” because I don’t hang all over men I barely know or jump into their laps or show excessive affection in public. My very extroverted family despaired of me for not being a “fun” girl. I am so grateful to have found my tribe and realize that I’m not a freak.

  13. Yes to all of these comments! Im so glad to find this site as I continue to wrestle with a sense of guilt/inadequacy about my introversion. Im starting to value the capacity for building true friendships (rather than expanding social networks) that seems inherent with introversion.
    For me the key is to seek out other introverts- I can be myself with them and we can better understand each others way of communicating.
    Although this approach can sometimes be disappointing- seeming introverts turn out to be not interested in talking to ME, that sort of thing) but on balance it has been a successful strategy for making new friends.
    Oh and I agree with the other posts about needing alone time. I dont make excuses anymore for taking it – its as crucial for my wellbeing as sleep and would I apologise for needing sleep? I think not.

    • I don’t make apologies for “alone time” anymore. I actually find solace in spending time with my Persian cat. 🙂 It’s very soothing. Can’t tolerate noise, and idle chatter, or some of the horseshit I hear coming from some people’s mouths. I know it sounds horrible…but I leave with a migraine – from some crowded networking/mingling events, where there is non-stop drinking and such superficial attitudes. I embrace authenticity and calm environments. What a beautiful Chow Chow! Animals are my salvation. They bring peace into my life.

  14. I think one major project with trying to create more introverted female characters in the media is the backlash that inevitably comes from women.

    Typically, introverted men are viewed as charming, intelligent, and mysterious. But, they are also viewed as powerful, dominant, and aloof. Most female introverts try to be more extroverted, because they are not comfortable with others viewing them as cold, dominant, and disinterested.

    But, that comes with the territory.

    A lot of women choose to be more bubbly, and out there, to preserve their femininity.

    I always tell people, introverts, confident ones at least, dont flirt. Flirting is for extroverts that dont know how to properly express their feelings. They hint at things, and go through the dating/mating process in a very passive-aggressive way.

    A confident introverted female doesnt need to flirt; she lets the guy, or girl know about her affinity by saying “Hey, I like you. If you like me, we should go out sometime”

    Sadly, that approach to dating, and life, is very often viewed as dominant, aggressive, & unapologetic. Again, three seemingly negative traits the average feminine female.

    I think it comes down to being willing to stay true to yourself, and not let the opinons, or perceptions of others compromise how your present yourself to the world.

    • Ohhhh..I’m so happy to have found this blog.

      I agree with ABSOLUTELY everything that you have said (and several others) about the introverted woman and DESPISING (emphasis mine) the energy required to flirt. Ugh…AND yes if I like a man, after sitting back and watching him and interacting with him over a certain length of time, I’d much prefer the “hey, I like you lets get a cup of coffee” approach. BUT no, that’s considered too dominant and aggressive. But the gregarious chick, that’s who most men are drawn towards.

      I have had this specific experience. One said gentleman who did like me – initially- has since moved on to the extroverted, flirtatious, bubbly woman. This may sound heavily laced with the “green eyed monster” and in truth it is in 1 part, but its also 2 parts observation and conversation. Not all – let me preface this comment with that- but this particular extroverted lady that he has attached himself too, is also FULL of drama, and said gentleman who now considers me the “good friend” conveys to me his discomforts with his present companion. Well too bad, that’s on you buddy, but now I’m the apparent confidante to them both. It’s a hilarious (and yet awful for me) comedic situation.

      Said gentleman has even gone so far as to tell me that “Oh he did WANT to date me”. So out of annoyance and preferring to be straight forward I ask “well why didn’t you then”? His plausible response whilst looking down at his feet – I didn’t think you were interested. Oh well too late now. Buh bye. But this scenario (and the repetitive cycle) annoys the life outta me, because it always appears that the main reasons why this continues to happen, the extrovert jumped in his lap, whilst I stood back and quietly observed and appeared to be unapproachable.

      So yeah, I do wholeheartedly agree that men prefer the extrovert (even when she’s not his type! – his words not mine) who falls in his lap versus the introvert who has to assess the situation prior to advancing and doesn’t know how to (and also despises having to) play coy, and bat her eyelashes, and make small talk to convey attraction.

      Every dating book I’ve read (cause yes an Introvert is going to read up on HOW to go about it prior to attempting the steps -lol) tells me, the woman to FLIRT, make small talk and come up with all these witty remarks to express interest. I tried, honestly I did. Exhausting. I’d rather go home and read the book on how to flirt then keep attempting to do it to express interest in gentleman who I find attractive.

      For years, seriously…FOR…YEARS…I have been told, I’m a stuck up bitch, distant, and cold and aloof (I liken myself to Mr. Darcy-favorably) but once we get to know you your so sweet. I’m like yeah, after you’ve insulted me incessantly, and publicly, and I’ve tolerated it quietly and calmly, do you finally come to the realization that me not wanting to run my mouth isn’t necessarily a negative. Now I’m the confidante, and the pseudo counselor, and a great person to have in their corner. But to get to that conclusion..again exhausting, socially depleting, and I’d much rather not be bothered with YOU now that you’ve decided I’m a friendly gal.

      I’ve had the whole office sit in a meeting one day and analyze my personality making jokes about not being able to socialize. I chuckled and smiled, but stood firm, stating yep that’s right, I’m not a social butterfly and damn proud of it, but the underlining message of ‘we’re right and something is definitely wrong with you’ was quite prevalent. No, I’m not chatty cathy and guess what I actually come to work to get some WORK done, but alas again, that’s not considered a positive. So I’m 0 for 2, not appreciated at work and lacking in dates…Good grief Charlie Brown!

      Okay, rant done. LOL…Had to vent. I’m so very happy that this blog exists and others in the world can relate, I’m saddened that you all have had to endure it as well, but again glad I’m not alone.

  15. Sorry to burst your bubble, but introverted women are not that valued in Finland. It’s all about the art of flirting and talking here, too. Though probably to a lesser degree than let’s say in The States.

    I can relate to the green-eyed monster and the extroverted women. I had extroverted friends and back then, trying to keep up with them was a full time job. It seemed like they were catching some kind of momentum, an extroverted flow, if you will, and I was wearing lead boots. It was extremely frustrating. I saw how they radiated, felt alive, had a sparkle in their eyes, and men (both introverted and extroverted) seemed to adore them: “Aaah, now that’s a woman! Forever young, bubbly, colourful, and eternally talking, radiant, always ready, willing and able to do anything, and anywhere.” They seemed easy for the men, not just sexually, but easy to handle, no need for guessing what they are thinking and feeling, no need to work to really dig deep and get to know you. Sure, I was green with envy. I on the otherhand was like an old woman, moody (after too much socializing) and needed a nap. And not to mention difficult to please, especially to the extrovert.

    So, I’m grateful for you for writing this. It wasn’t until I found out I was really an introvert, that my soul seemed to find peace. I sometimes feel like there should be an in-depth book about Introverted Women, kind of like a manual on how one actually functions in this World…. 🙂

    Anyways, A Big Thank You!

    • Thank you for sharing your experience as an introverted woman in Finland! I can completely understand what you mean about being moody after too much socializing. You’re words are so encouraging for me, because as it turns out,I am launching a very special ebook and workbook for single introverted women on June 1st. I will have more info on it up on the site by the end of the week ;). Great to hear from you, lovely. Big you’re welcome! 🙂

  16. I first discovered my introversion at the age of 14 when my father, not known for his sensitivity, blurted out that he was an extrovert and I was an introvert. He made it sound like an insult. I had always known that I was quiet, but had never put another name to it. At first I refused to believe that was the case, because it made me sound like a horrible, anti-social grump. That was not how I felt inside. All my family are extroverts and had/have little understanding of why I behave the way I do. For years I felt like an outsider. A year ago I read Susan Cain’s Quiet, and the pieces came together like a jigsaw. At 32 I am now discovering who I am, and that it is nothing to be ashamed of. I wish I had discovered this earlier but I am grateful to now be able to reach out to others who are just like me, and feel like I am not the outsider I once thought I was.

    • Hi Laura. I think you have expressed in writing what many introverts have been feeling their whole lives. People often refer to introversion as if it were some sort of illness. It’s not! And I think 32 is a great age for a fresh start and a fresh view of yourself that is more loving and accepting. 😉 xo

  17. Thank you for iterating something that has bothered me for so long! Every Cosmo article I read pushes the idea that women constantly want to talk more than their male partners, when it has never been true for me or a lot of my friends. (I know Cosmo isn’t high brow literature, but it is part of the mainstream media that propagates these myths.)

    My favorite fictional female is Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games – she is unapologetically introverted and I found myself identifying with her character throughout the series. Funnily, her introverted nature is contrasted the way she is forced to portray herself in the “Hunger Games” (dunno if you read the book lol)

    • You’re welcome, Emma! I love Katniss Everdeen, too! I’ve seen both movies and read the first book. She is a great example of how quiet can be powerful and sexy. 🙂

  18. I’m not sure where she would fit in the I-E spectrum but what about Laura Ingalls, her mother and sister too of Little House On the Prairie?

  19. This is beautiful! Love this an introverted woman. We are definitely different than extroverted women because we do not fit “societal norms” of what a woman is supposed to be like. 🙂

    • Thanks, Esther. Damn those societal norms! They really are the enemy of the introverted woman.

  20. Great blog! Thank goodness you are doing this. After numerous marriages and live-in boyfriends, I finally admitted to feeling trapped and irritable having another human living in my space–thus no kids and no more husbands. My man-friend relationships last longer when each of us lives separately. I’m wondering how many other introverts out there also love having their homes to themselves, and are repelled by the mere thought of someone moving in. I feel so complete and self-contained I really don’t understand this attachment. Must be a bunch of us like this out there. The downside seems that being self-contained and detached is appealing to others and we spend a lot of time dodging suitors and best-friend wannabes.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Laura! I like living with people I love, but find it challenging to find a balance between spending time with them and creating enough healthy space for “introverting” time.

    • I cannot tell you how I laughed with joy at this comment about living alone, not being able to “stand” marriage and remaining child free! Thank you!!!! This is terrific. Thanks for putting that into words. I RARELY have ever heard a woman admit this in pubic or online, so thanks very much for stating what I have felt forever. In my late 40s now and still stumping the world by choosing to relish in my solitude, a few good friends and gloriously free status. This website has been absolutely refreshing and reassuring!

  21. I think introverted women are swell and make great friends.

    I had one once. She was theatrical, a ballerina. I thought she was physically beautiful but the adhesion was to her brain.

  22. I’ve always been more attracted to the strong, silent characters – male or female.

    Maybe because I read/watch a fair amount of genre stuff, I think I get to see more of the introverted female role models… I’d describe Xena (the warrior princess) as an introvert who likes to spend quiet time alone – Willow and Fred from the Buffy/Angel franchise too.

    Then there’s Zoe in Firefly (OK, I’m on a Joss-streak here – I should probably come up with some others), Katniss from the Hunger Games, Max from Dark Angel, and Trinity from the Matrix series. And of course, there’s Hermione Granger, who’d far prefer to study than to go out partying.

    I guess what I’m saying is that strong introverted characters ARE out there… but I suspect they’re in shows/books that were written by introverts, and that weren’t necessarily designed for mass appeal.



  23. I realized that i am an introvert when i found that word while doing a part time job as a university student. Before it, i thought there was something wrong with me. Now, i accept that truth and appreciate my self more. At work place, people still say i am quiet but i don’t mind. There’s even a friend who asked me frankly, why are you so quiet? I just smiled at that time, but at some occasions we had short nice conversations about politics and society and i guess that changes the way he sees me. Introverts are not dumb, we are just not interested in shallow small talks. N you know what surprises me lately? It is to see how those extroverts and talkative people become nervous when they have to speak in a more official manner or in front of the crowd while me, an introvert, i can do it well. I’ve seen it for whole my life, but i understand more when i know who i am. I am an introvert, and there’s nothing i would change about it.

  24. I am a female introvert, always have been, but have also balanced out with fairly regular social interaction. I was deeply burned by an evil male about 5 years ago. I spent about 3 1/2 years with emotions ranging from despair and utter forlornness to instant, hot anger and rage. I had always been a push-over, but went through a short stage where my stock answer to anyone who questioned me was: “GFY.” I cried – no, SOBBED – every day for about 3 years. I finally took some tough but needed action to relieve the stress and I am around family and longtime friends now. The problem being…I have reverted very far into the depths of introversion. I have been here a year, but haven’t taken the time to see most of my friends…who live about 30 miles away…certainly doable. I stay home every weekend and drink by myself. I avoid my family, even my daughter. I refuse to participate in pot lucks at work, walking into the bank gives me anxiety…I just want to get back to my car.

    So recently, I met a guy who is an extreme extrovert. Definite chemistry, but I am TERRIFIED of what dating him would mean. Parties of intimate friends of his; having to talk fluff with the wives of his friends. Not only am I an introvert, but I am rather sarcastic and cynical kind of humor and delivery. I don’t watch the Bachelor and Real Housewives. I can’t even feign enthusiasm over such content and I really don’t care about their kids grueling extracurricular schedule.
    He is definitely interested, I am definitely interested (and it’s been over 5 years since I’ve had a boyfriend!), but the thought of matching up with him socially makes me so anxiety-riddled, I think I may have to nix it. BTW..we have only had a few phone calls…we haven’t even been out yet! I am so scared I’m never going to get over this and it will intensify. Glad to see there are others, but I’m very frustrated with my introverted self right now.

  25. Actually, if you think about it, there definitely are introverted heroines in literature, if not in popular media. Jane Eyre comes to mind, or any of Charlotte Bronte’s characters. Some of Jane Austen’s characters. Emily of New Moon (the other series LM Montgomery wrote besides Anne of Green Gables).

    In popular lit, I think Hermione from Harry Potter is a STELLAR example of an introverted type- I mean, she’s always in the library! (Just like me) And she’s such a great role model

  26. Great literature has some amazing introverted heroines. Jane Eyre. Eleanor from Sense and Sensibility. Dorothea from Middlemarch. It makes sense that books with depth would have characters of depth.

    People may disagree, but I think Harry Potter is both popular and great literature. And Hermione is a STELLAR example of an introvert. She’s always in the library! 🙂 And she’s such a great example for girls.

  27. When I was younger I often wondered what was wrong with me, as I found it extremely difficult to socialise in big groups and I stayed quiet most of the time. One person even asked me why I was so quiet. How was I to respond to that question so they could understand why I was that way? I find it much easier to socialise one-on-one or in small groups and I do not enjoy spending long hours engaged in small talk. I consider myself an introvert and it’s only recently I’ve started to embrace it. I am single in my mid-20’s and have gone back to living on my own. I really enjoy living on my own and am realising that my alone time is becoming a precious comodity, for who knows, I may end up marrying and having kids. I am becoming happier just to have a few good friends in my life and am becoming more selective in who I spend time with.

  28. My comments might seem a little repetitive. I hope that’s all right! 🙂

    Yet another fantastic blog post, Michaela!

    After being called everything from ‘weird’, ‘complex’, ‘moody’, ‘arrogant’ and ‘shy’, to ‘nervous’, in junior high and bombarded with highly intrusive questions and hurtful and ludicrous statements like ‘why are so quiet?’, ‘why are you so gloomy?’, ‘why are you so serious?’, ‘it’s good to have friends’, ‘smile and the world smiles with you’, ‘you should come out of your shell’, ‘we are all here for you’ etc., I developed this reputation among a couple of my highly extroverted classmates in college (some of whom actually became my close friends), for being crazy (in a hilarious way) and a ‘goofball’. I was on the one hand, very well liked by my professors and on the other hand, a lot of my friends declared that ‘there was no telling, what she’ll come up with next’. I guess it was probably my strong powers of observation (which IMHO, is one of the gifts of being introverted!) and my wicked sense of humour!

    This side of me would surface only for a select few. As a result, some of my extroverted friends just couldn’t stomach the fact that I was the exact opposite in public. I have even been asked questions like ‘are you ill?’, accompanied by remarks and ‘observations’ like ‘you seem to be a shadow of your old and cheerful self!’. I guess I am what people refer to as a private extrovert and public introvert.

    But there is more. Coupled with my introversion, were my Highly Sensitive personality traits. My tendency to ‘please people’, has led to severe mental exhaustion! To be honest, there have been times when I used to try and be hilarious and goofy, just for the sake of it. Just for the sake of ‘mingling’, ‘coming out of my shell’ and just for the sake of appearing to be outgoing, therefore trying my hardest to mask and may be even kill my introversion! Hence, I sometimes, couldn’t afford to retreat into my own personal space, to get away from highly energy draining social situations!

    As I have grown older, I have become much more comfortable with and proud of my true personality, namely a Highly Sensitive Introvert, coupled with a little bit of private Extroversion! 😉 I am determined to exhibit my extroverted side, only when I feel comfortable and not as an obligation to other people. That is one major lesson that I have learnt, these past couple of years! Another critical fact that I have learnt is that Introversion is another personality trait, like Extroversion. Nothing negative or wrong about that. In fact, I am of the opinion, that ‘Silence Is Golden’ and that the world needs more Introverts, like us! 🙂

  29. I’m very happy, having read your post. Until now I’ve not really understood what it means to be an introvert. Now I can say, I know how to take care of myself around extroverts.:-)

  30. I have nothing against extroverted or introverted women. I say . . . to each her own. A woman should be true to herself, regardless of her nature. But I am an introverted woman. And I hate it when someone insists that I be more outgoing or talkative. I hate the idea of someone trying to shape my nature to fit their ideal of what society believes I should be.

  31. I find so many truths in this article. This statement is something I relate to:

    “While other women delight in constant chitchat and colorful banter, we silently wonder if we’re missing a crucial femininity chip.”

    Yes, these other women who advertise in one form or another are “hot,” and “stand out.”

    When I attempted, for several decades, to be the ideal, I put energy i,to superficial interactions, flirting, not being “so serious”, etc, I got a lot of superficiality back. Here I am now, solo, middle-aged and having to recover and rely on the introvert’s natural superpowers to be alone even when I want companionship. And wondering what in the world happened and why I don’t matter in anyone’s life enough to be worthy of more than a peripheral meeting in their busy schedule. No intimacy.

    “I recognize that femininity radiates from the inside out and finds its true form in quietness.” This I find a bit of an overgeneralization. Femininity is not limited to quietness anymore than to bubbliness. It depends on the person.



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