Hello innie friend!
Has this ever happened to you?
You’re going about your business, running errands, ticking off your to-do list, and just being your awesome innie self when all of a sudden, without warning, your eyes glaze over, you forget about the task at hand, and you become completely absorbed in your own thoughts.
This moment of being in the introvert zone, as I like to call it, might last a few seconds or a few minutes. During this time you take on zombie-like qualities, such as unusually slow movements, and a vacant expression. It is as if you have left your body and camped out inside your own mind.
Then, something happens to bring you back to reality, and you realize you have been standing in front of the same section of the meat aisle for two minutes. Meanwhile, a tired-looking middle-aged man has been trying to find a polite way to get you to move so he can access the eye-of-round roast that is on special.
This is exactly what happened to me earlier today.
I felt embarrassed when I realized how strange I must have looked, completely zoned out, staring intensely at packaged beef for an unusually long time. This wasn’t the first time this has happened.
My loud mind has a way of calling me away from the present moment. Often, my own thoughts are too enticing to ignore. I know that being present is important (I skimmed the first four pages of Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now). But much of the time, I just can’t help but enter the introvert zone.
In the past this led to people calling me “spacey”. Nowadays, I’ve gotten better at staying present during one-on-one interactions and in small groups. But I have to admit that in larger groups, I often zone out as others converse. Like many introverts, I find group conversations cumbersome and hard to follow. The rich inner landscapes of my own mind easily entice me away from such interactions.
Do you have this introvert problem of zoning out? Do you ever feel embarrassed when you snap back into reality and realize you’ve been in the introvert zone?
Frequently. 😛 My little trips into the inner world mostly happen when I’m alone, but when they do sneak into outings with other people, it’s almost always because a conversation has started that I really can’t follow.
So I just kind of dig into my mind for a while until I think it’s about over, buuut I’m often a couple of minutes late. They’re now either staring or asking my opinion of something I know nothing about.
This, along with my placid default expression, tends to make people assume I’m always bored. Haha
Haha – what you say sounds all too familiar, Chatman. 😉
Yeah …. I … have …………………… zoned out! 😛 More so when I was younger. I thought it was kinda weird when I was a kid. Love the graphics above 🙂
Thanks Michael! Haha yes, it happened more for me when I was younger, too. I guess we learn to train our brains to be in the moment with time.
All too many times in elementary school. Things were easy, and it got boring. My classmates were putting letters together to make words, and I was four pages ahead in the textbook. And when it was my turn to read, it took me a little while to come back to their reality, and pick up. Like I was stupid or something…
And the bad habit continues. Although now it’s also when I don’t get the topic and not just when others don’t… Which is also considered rude, I guess.
Thanks for sharing your experience with this, Maria. I think boredom pushes many an introvert into the introvert zone.
When being trained on new functions at work it is hard to stay out of the Introvert Zone (a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind). Fortunately, I always receive a manual so I can train myself better than my trainer could, not for a lack of trying.
Yes, Adam! I always found it hard to focus during training,too, unless it is hands on.
This happens to me all the time! I try to use them productively now, because it’s like my brain is taking a mental cat nap when this happens. I usually feel a lot more energetic after emerging back into the world. It’s a great way to shut out distractions and “increase the bandwidth”, especially in high-stimulation environments like when commuting home to/from work.
The secret to a great eye of round roast is a crock pot. Not relevant here, but thought I’d share anyways 🙂
I remember once in elementary school, a girl late up for the class and when she entered the class room, all the students looked at her (even me). After a few minutes I zoned in again and saw her looking at me and doing hand expressions, like asking me “wth freak?”. Then I laughed without noise just before the teacher told her to sit onto her chair.
I’m not sure how long I looked but imagine someone stares at you, without blinking, without any face muscles moving, like a living statue watching you without emotions. And in the next moment that statue laughs at you for whatever reason.
Oh yes! This happens a lot when I am in meetings or conversations with people that drone on and on. My time is precious and if I can figure out a problem or come up with something creative, then why not go into the zone. I usually can come back to a conversation when it is time for a response and really haven’t missed much. I like your wording “introvert zone”.
I zoned out yesterday during a conversation and another person in the conversation had thought that I was offended by something someone had said because, as they put it ‘I closed up and got quiet’. I explained that I was just in my little introverted thoughts and to not read into my facial expressions and she said “well that’s all I have to go on.” Ugh, this was embarrassing and frustrating. I tried hard to explain myself, but she wasn’t having it, she would rather just make her assumptions and move on. What is a better way to explain this to someone?
Yes, I do! It happens all the time. I remember some of my teachers and my own parents and grandparents pointing it out to me when I was 15, shortly after a relocation. My husband still teases me about my staring into space, but I am not embarrassed. I’m pleased to know it is part of my temperament, not a symptom of some mental illness, as some almost suggest! I know ppl get offended but I can’t help it. I just can’t stay focused when in a large group, even if it’s my own relatives.
The moments where you zone out may be a result of lack of stimulation. You are so used to being inside a building rather than outdoors, that you can’t help but be inside your head.
For me no, im an introvert and i discovered my personality when i was 16, im 27 now. I guess being aware earlier that you are introvert prevent situation like this to happen. Its that understanding what you are will make you aware that you are like this,like that. In fact im proud to say that i became a successful introvert businesswoman though its hard but i did and survived. To those young introvert woman who wants to become successful regarding online business just visit this website http://www.paychecktoprosperity.com/ This website helped me and my introvert friends became a successful businesswoman.Hope this helps. Anyways thanks for posting this blog!
Oh yes, I can relate to this! I did this a lot when I was in high school and earned myself the nickname “Dingy” which was a great frustration, partly because I did not understand what earned me the title. I had no idea that I was spacing out so obviously! One tip for those who do not wish to space out so much, get enough sleep! I formerly shorted myself by an hour or more each night, and now that I get enough sleep, I find I am much less likely to go into space-out sessions. If I do feel myself going there, I make a mental note to get extra sleep as soon as possible!
Yes! This happens to me so much! ? It happened even more as a kid. One of my substitute teachers would call me out on it & say: “Ok Gloria, come back down from purple mountain” & the whole class would laugh. Lol, oh well.
When I get caught, I usually say, “Sorry, I was just visiting the Bahamas for a second.”
Oh, yes! I did it just today at work. I was reliving an episode of a TV show I had watched, and imagining how I would have handled the situation had I been in that character’s place. My coworker called my name three times before she broke into my reverie. “Are you all right?” Yep, just off in my own little world.
Yes!!!! Sometimes that’s when the best ideas come, making it an exciting place to visit!
In group situations, I am often distracted by background music, and end up focusing on lyrics or arrangements, which can be sweet relief when I’m conversation saturated but can’t escape. Rude as hell, but blissful.
Growing up, my dad used to do that at dinner all the time. He would just go blank and stare, we would call him on it and he would snap back. As an adult I realize I do it all the time.
I do, but only in certain circumstances like waiting for the train or bus and nearly missing it. Also nearly missing my stop or completely forgetting instructions.
Yeah, I’ve done that – a lot younger, I totally missed the train literally pulling up next to me (just outside my field of vision/stare) … late for work on that one. Or engrossed in a novel and completely missing my stop late at night and needing a lift in the middle of the night to get back to my stop (last train service).
Oh yes I do:) remember used to zone out in school too but at the time thought it was simply boredom. Likely there were introverted characteristics present then but didn’t know I was INFJ. Introverts were not really ever mentioned let alone discussed when I was in school 1960s- early 1970s. Wished I’d known about introversion then…
I was deep in the coding parallel universe, and a management acquaintance I had made in a previous position and hadn’t seen in ages (a pronounced Extro), literally and jovially jumped in front of me to say hi. It took a considerable time for me to change gears, notice what was happening, and then most difficult of all …. fire up my facial recognition to attach a face to my personal data (however the hell that works in a INFP). In the meantime he took great offence, scoffed as he walked off clearly miffed and writing me off in his acquaintance list. It was as if the driver part of me was watching it out the windscreen while frantically changing gears and flipping switches. He was well down the hall before the rest of me caught up, and I just shook my head. I knew he would have no practical way of understanding what just happened, and I was not in a great place mentally to be able to turn the situation around.
Normally this wouldn’t worry me so much, except he was a valuable (and only high-management) lead for me to move on from that position … it cut me deep. I was on my usual cyclical downward workplace spiral and well into formulating a move away from that work environment – my Intro tendencies were being considered aloofness and/or elitist. I was getting openly verbally targeted – that cycle had run it’s course.
I ended up breaking down quite badly shortly after this, and came out of it resolute that I will never work in an office environment again …. or for someone else. I’m nigh on 50 now, and have never managed to tolerate a workplace for more than 2 years, either entering a break-down and recovery cycle or else jumping ship to get away from there … anywhere else. Usually a downward or sideways move at best (often a completely different/new occupation). It’s not like you’re anywhere near the top of your game at that point so presenting well in interviews is not really an option.
It’s been 4 years since that episode, and I can’t quite say that ‘I haven’t looked back’ – solo business is it’s own Intro hellishness – but I have talked myself out of going back to a pay check many times, keeping this experience fresh in my mind to remind me. Still fine tuning my direction, and life is very stressful, but this makes sense to me, and I’ll keep at it.
I have experienced life being good on extended occasions in my time, so I know things can get better – if weren’t for all the damn people, right? 😉