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.
My 2 cents worth: to alleviate the ‘after dinner chat problem’ I usually just offer to do the dishes (read: zone out in the dish washing area!) It works for me cause I so happen to enjoy the nice cleansing/soothing feel of soap and water on my hands!
In fact I generally just choose to be engaged in (*ahem* ‘duck behind’) some kind of task in food/social gatherings. In the past I’d always happily organise and cook for my partner’s birthdays or what not- just so that I have the PERFECT COVER for not talking much yet still get off the hook with having ‘tried’ to get to know her friends!!
Thanks, Justin. That is great advice, which I have implemented many times 🙂 .
I am guilty of all of these things! I am horrible, but I often leave parties without telling others because I don’t want to explain why. I detest small talk and also leave the area or day dream if I have to stay! I often will get behind the scenes in order to not be forced to interact! You have hit the nail on the head!
I am just curious as to when the line between introvert behavior and mild Asperger’s begins please?
Hi Angela. I don’t know very much about Asperbers so can’t really say.
Aspergers and Autism are charactised by *very low* emotional intelligence and empathy.
Highly sensitive people (empaths), who are almost always introverts are characterised by *very high* emotional intelligence and empathy.
Emotional intelligence is about interpreting things like body language, facial expressions, having perspective and empathy etc.
Forget getting along with silly extroverts. We Introverts shall rule the world. We shall wage war against our enemy! Then small talk will become a federal crime! Muahahaha!
Yes, I agree. The extroverts shall be required to read books and will not be permitted to keep inviting introverts to clubs or anywhere where meeting new people is required.
Are you saying that extroverts don’t read books?
Oh my word, I will vote for you, you lovely person.
It’s very simple to find out any matter on net as compared to textbooks, as I found this paragraph at this web page.
Many years ago I learned about why introverts and extroverts are different, and that as an introvert I am completely normal. I learned it from a book entitled Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types, by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates. For us introverts, relating to others uses up energy and exhausts us. For extroverts, relating gives them energy. The book explains it in more detail and is available on Amazon. Every extrovert should buy it and read it and stop thinking that there is something wrong with us.
Without making an attempt to troll this comment section … If you leave a friend’s party without a word, this will of course be perceived as rude. How hard can it be to say “Sorry, I am tired and not feeling up to social interaction tonight. I am heading home now.”? If the people in attendance of the party are your friends, they should accept that statement and let you leave without asking 50 questions or publicly shaming you into staying. That would be a compromise. On most websites concerned with the topic of introversion, this sort of culture of an introvert minority seems to develop. Like introverts just cannot help themselves to behave in what ist generally considered a ‘rude’ way. Why are extroverts always the bad guys in these kind of articles? Consisting with your argumentation they cannot help themselves either; they are born social. But still, they are supposed to adapt their behaviour to introverts entirely and not the other way around. Does not strike me as fair. Maybe not all introverts should happily use their ‘diagnosis’ as an excuse to be rude, whenever they feel like it. Compromise, people, compromise.
I agree with the idea that it’s not that difficult for an introverted person to come up with some “go to” reason for wanting to leave a social gathering. However, if you want to talk about rude behavior regarding introverts and extroverts, I’m fairly sure the extroverts will win. Unfortunately for us introverts, extroverts rarely recognize their own annoying/rude traits. Another notable issue is that being an “extrovert” is always touted as a positive thing. Like I’m a “winner”, not a “loser” (introvert). That is the unwritten rule in America so, I think that it’s high time for extroverts to get a clue and stop thinking their way is the best/only way.
A good excuse for leaving a party/other social gathering (only works if your under 18) is to just blame you parents. Tell your friends at the party that you parents want you to come home early. (I suppose you could also say that you have a doctors appointment or something, but that should only be used in emergencys, because you can’t say that every time)
A good friend would know the introvert, so that good friend would understand, and the introvert would not have to lie to leave.
It can be highly stressful for an introvert; why would you, as a good friend, want your good friend to endure that stress?
Not going to lie, even if I were to say goodbye, extroverts are terrible at realizing what that means. I’m leaving now, not after 20 minutes of vapid rambling. Want to hang out, come to my place or I will go to yours, not your friends with a thousand faces all learning mine. I like my home, my friends, and my neighborhood. They get it, I’m a recluse. But when they need someone to listen, advice, or a second opinion my door is (almost) always open.
Here’s The thing. Be respectful of others and be respectful of yourself.
With that, who you are is just fine, and a learning opportunity to bith sides. Just as much as Introverts can make an effort to be more understanding of our more extroverted friends and family, they also need to do the same.
Have together time, and a part time. Both need to respect the other. If not, time for new circles.
You don’t have to sit around for after dinner chat if it’s torture. Might help to figure out an effective honest way to explain that to your friends. Perhaps, 1-2 nights a week you can have “after dinner game night” or something, so every ine is happy. MAybe the other nights, it may help to let them know you and your spous are going on a walk after dinner for some alone time. Whatever works for you. Get creative, but be both honest and compromising.
My only issue is that sometimes being an introvert, there is this dialogue of having to bend over backwards to fit or make other people comfortable, and then resentment is formed on both sides, and it doesn’t have to be that way.
And for extroverts, some may really not understand the things that make us feel comfortable, amd may think it’s rude. Fair enough. That’s where honesty, empathy, and understanding may prove helpful.
You don’t have to be someone else, you just need to be able to learn andbunderstand each other, and meet somewhere in yhe middle, or move on.
Introverts are cool. Extroverts are cool. We have different strengths that should be able to work together, but there has to mutual respect.
“Are you all right?” An extrovert’s favorite question to someone like me who doesn’t talk a mile a minute. Of course I’m all right! Agggghhhh!
Then join in a the gawd dam conversation. It’s ok to express your opinion or feeling the conversation. Jeez uz phucking Christ!!!!
Do not use the Lord’s name like that.
Even though I’d rather that you use “Don’t” instead “Do not,” I’m glad that you stood up for Jesus. After all, I’m tired of people who you God’s name in vain.
I loved most of the comments and can totally relate..I honestly started realizing there are people who are introverts and people who like to engage in annoying small talk and incessant ramblings! Pure and simple…By the way Ghandi you’re not our parents..
Do you mean, “Wandering off at inappropriate times”?
Fk extroverts. Last week I had the office secretary come into my office and ask “why weren’t you at the going away party for ______?” I said “because I hate people” and glared at her. She got supper huffy and as she walked away said. “Well, good thing I’m not a people”. I actually thought that was a good comeback, but I refuse to let that group loving cat tell me what to do. And did she bother to ask if I had a huge sit down with that person the following day? Nope. Nice blog and your look is dreamy. Take care.
Previous day, not following day.
I don’t even do small talk no matter what. Introverts are usually that way because their RAS is more active giving them a much higher default cortical arousel than extroverts.