I’ve said before that conversation is like a sport for extroverts — a fast paced one at that. For introverts, it’s a different story. Trying to have a ‘normal’ conversation can feel beyond awkward for introverts.
It’s not because we are socially inept or hate people. We might genuinely want to connect, but some aspects of conversation just don’t quite click for us.
We could blame our awkward conversation moments on the fact that our brains work differently, and we need more time to think before we speak. Or we could chalk it up to our hatred of small talk. And don’t even get me started on group conversations.
But to really understand why conversations can be so awkward for introverts, I think we’ll have to get into the specifics. Here are 10 awkward conversations moments that every introvert will understand:
1. When you daydream and miss the punchline.
As embarrassing as it is to admit, I have been guilty of this one too many times to count. The worst part is that you can’t ask people to repeat themselves because they’ll know you weren’t listening. You end up nodding and smiling, hoping they don’t pickup on the fact that you were in LaLa land for the last thirty seconds and you have no idea what they said.
2. When you get interrupted repeatedly.
This one is probably more annoying than awkward, but it definitely leaves introverts feeling uncomfortable. You wonder whether you should try to finish what you wanted to say, even though the conversation has moved onto new topics.
You might try to play it off cool, like you didn’t really want to keep talking, when really you put so much thought into the few things you do share that you feel supremely hurt and insulted when someone cuts you off.
3. When you think of something awesome to say 10 minutes too late.
Introverts are known for speaking slowly in conversation. Unfortunately, it can take so long for the perfect idea or joke to come to mind that we miss our chance. Group conversations compound this problem, which brings me to my next point …
4. When you don’t know when to chime in during group conversations.
The thing that is super awkward about group conversations is that it’s hard to know when to talk. Extroverts seem to have a secret code for knowing when to speak up. Or they just don’t care about interrupting each other.
Meanwhile, introverts keep patiently waiting for our turn to talk. It’s also pretty intimidating to have ten sets of eyes staring at you as you try to come up with something interesting to say.
5. When you speak so slowly even you lose interest in what you’re saying.
Sometimes, introverts trail off in conversation. This could be because you feel like the other person isn’t really interested in what you have to say. Or you realize that your thoughts aren’t coming out quite as you had hoped, so you just give up mid-sentence.
6. When you know you’re a third wheel, but you don’t know how to leave the conversation.
Have you ever been stuck in a conversation with two people who were totally ignoring you? You know they just want to talk to each other, but how do you eject yourself from the conversation without feeling like a total nob? Do you just slink off without saying anything? Or do you interject and announce your departure, knowing they don’t care anyway?
7. When you don’t know what to do with your hands … or the rest of your body.
It’s not just the speaking aspect of conversations that can feel awkward for introverts. The more uncomfortable you feel, the more you are aware of your limbs, facial expressions, and posture. Since you are an introvert and overthinking is kind of your specialty, you start to overanalyze your every movement.
8. When you share too much or not enough.
This is why small talk is such a pain in the butt for introverts. It really blurs the lines between what is ‘appropriate’ to share and what is TMI. If you don’t share enough, others might poke at you for more information. But if you start talking about things that are too deep or personal, they might get uncomfortable.
9. When someone points out your quietness and you don’t know how to respond.
Seriously, I never know how to respond when someone says, “you’re so quiet!”. Ummm … yeah, I know, but you pointing it out doesn’t exactly make me want to share my life story. Instead, I want to shut down and pull away.
10. When you don’t know how to end the conversation.
If there’s one thing I can give my fellow introverts props for, it is our tendency to be overly considerate in conversation. You don’t want to be rude and interrupt someone to end the conversation. You also don’t know exactly what to say to make a polite exit. “Nice to meet you, umm … I’m going to go to the toilet now. Bye!”
Speaking of which …
It was nice errr … cyber meeting you, but I gotta go binge on Netflix shows now. Bye.
P.S. If you want tips on how to make conversations less awkward, and get advice on how to truly connect, signup for my mailing list. You’ll also get a free 50-page Introvert Connection Guide.