I think every introvert has had this painful experience. You find yourself in a social situation where you feel totally out of your element. Maybe you’re in a noisy bar with people who are only interested in shallow drunken conversations.
Or, perhaps, you feel like the odd one out because most of the people there know each other and you are the new guy who doesn’t get all the inside jokes.
It’s really tough being in these kinds of situations as an introvert because we tend to internalize. When we feel awkward, we retract into our shell even more. And then we feel judged for being ‘snobby’ or ‘boring’.
It’s a vicious and painful cycle that can really kill your confidence.
I know the feeling because I used to find myself in these uncomfortable situations all the time. I’d always feel like it was my fault. I was the broken one who needed to be fixed.
But then I had a few key realizations that turned things around.
3 Realizations that changed everything
1) The people I was with did not share my values. I didn’t even like or respect them. So, why was I wasting my time with them in the first place?
2) The environments where I felt the most uncomfortable were practically designed to torture an introvert: loud music, big groups, no opportunities for one-on-one connection, no interesting activities to share. We all have places in which we naturally shine. There’s no need to feel bad that a crowded room of strangers isn’t one of them.
3) There are people and places that DO make me feel like I can be myself. I wasted so many years trying to shine in circumstances that didn’t even deserve my light. Once I turned my energy toward interactions that feel good to me it all got easier.
I hope you’ll remember what I’ve shared when you’re feeling inadequate and judged. Forgive yourself and practice self-compassion. See the pain as feedback.
Do I even like these people and this environment?
Is there another place where I would feel more in my element and could actually enjoy myself?
What characteristics do I value in a friend and where am I most likely to meet such people?
If you like these innie insights and nuggets of inspiration, check out my new book, The Year of The Introvert.
You seem to enjoy being around many and try to get others to connect more. I, on the other hand very much enjoy being al-one. my holidays are spent at home meditating and would rather stay there.
Most, if not everyone does drain me and if given the choice, can only tolerate people in very small doses. The more I am alone, the more I enjoy it.
I can even sense energies from emails and those who come around me.
I have a very, very limited enjoyment of being around people at all and if given the choice, would stay home al-one. I have pretty well zero desire to bother going outside, but I do have to pay bills and get things done, not that I really want to.
I am quite personable and polite, but would rather put in my headphones and be al-one. I speak to others, because I need to, not because I have a need to connect.
I would rather not say anything, which is why animals are so much better to be around. Not sure there are many who relate, as until I awakened, I still longed to find those who I could connect to. Now I am whole and enjoy my “me” time.
I agree, Anita. Although this website is helpful, it seems there is still an emphasis on socializing. I love my alone time and prefer the company of animals and can relate to almost everything you mentioned.
Hello Anita, hello Angel. If I can share a thought as an INFJ, I agree your (our) desire to be alone. We thrive without people around but… at the same time, I feel the need of a deep connection with a small group of “super-friends” (that I haven’t found yet and I don’t even know if they exist), a subtle need of an “introvert socialization”. I think this site is focused mainly on this continuous struggle… loneliness is ok but with a secret desire of a deeper connection with special people (sorry for my english).
Hello Francesco. Yes, it’s understandable, and I hope you find those special people to really connect with. This culture is very group/people oriented–hard for me to just live my life without feeling judged every day. There should be organizations for introverts to connect with other introverts, especially online.
I know this is an old post but I’ll comment anyway. For me the most painful example of this was joining my husband’s family. I always felt that they judged me and continued to do so throughout our married life. I did not “measure up” with the extroverted individuals; I was not the person they wanted for their relative’s wife. My awareness of their scorn made me even more introverted when around them. One of the great reliefs of my divorce was knowing I would never have to see any of them again.