The teens are tough for anyone. But being an introverted teen comes with its own specific set of painful problems.
There is the pain of wanting to belong, but instead, always feeling out of place . There is the absolute agony of always understanding, and never being understood. Then, of course, there is the confusion of having a personality that turns inward when everyone is pushing you to be more outgoing.
As an introverted teen, you also struggle with the pain of constantly being forced into places (i.e. school) that highlight just how different you are. Isn’t it ironic that being quiet and observant is something that makes you stand out nowadays? You are the black crow in a crowded jungle of parakeets. You are simultaneously ignored and singled out for your quiet nature.
So, yeah, being an introverted teen isn’t easy.
Hopefully, today’s article will help you see that you’re not alone, even if you desperately want to be. Here are 7 introverted teen problems that show that the struggle is real for young introverts:
1. Pretending to be immature to fit in.
As an introverted teen, you tend to be more introspective and reflective than many of your friends. While others focus on the superficial, you think and feel deeply. Basically, you are an old soul in a teen body.
This isn’t exactly the norm in your high school, so you force yourself to be more superficial and fun. You act immature so that you don’t get called out for that weird inner Yoda thing you’ve got going on. Here’s my simple advice for you:
A wise one you are. Change you should not.
2. The loneliness of being misunderstood.
They say that loneliness is the human condition. I prefer to think that loneliness is the result of human conditioning. When you enter your teens, the pressure to fit into a narrow definition of normal is at an all-time high. You are conditioned to behave in a way that makes others feel more comfortable (smile more, talk more, make lots of friends!!!).
But acting this way makes YOU feel about as comfortable as a cat taking a bubble bath. If one more person asks you why you’re so quiet, you’ll want to scratch their eyeballs out (but you won’t because, as an introvert, you hate drama and conflict).
You’re backed into a corner: Conform and feel exhausted, and lonely. OR be yourself and get singled out for being different. The latter can leave you feeling just as worn out and lonesome as the first option.
Thankfully, nowadays you can go online and quickly find people who really get you (like me, and the rest of the awesome innie community we have here at Introvert Spring).
As an introverted teen, you’ve likely experienced some kind of bullying. It may not have been the violent, overtly aggressive kind that you see on T.V., but it was bullying nonetheless.
Bullies are people who make you feel small so that they can feel big and important. They might do this by teasing or insulting you. “You’re weird,” says the puffed up bully, “why do you act like that? What’s wrong with you?”
Bullies think that your quietness is a sign of weakness, an invitation to be dominated and controlled. For a while you might be tempted to believe them. Don’t.
Quiet wisdom will take you further than loudmouthed ignorance. Be patient, and stand your ground. It will get better, I promise.
4. Feeling overwhelmed by the other humans at school.
Are you the kid that always sits at the back of the class? Do you count the minutes until lunchtime is over so that you can get the hell out of the crowded cafeteria? Do you get home feeling completely flattened by the weight of the day, even though nothing stressful seemed to have happened? If so, you’re not alone, and there’s nothing wrong with you.
As an introverted teen, you are more prone to feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by the school environment. Think about it, schools are giant buildings crammed to capacity with other humans. Most of these other humans spend a whole lot of time talking at you, and little to no time listening to you.
All this talking and peopling is incredibly mentally exhausting for introverts. This is because you have a different threshold for outward stimulation. After a while, you need to be alone, and turn inward. And that’s okay.
5. Being underestimated because you’re quiet.
This one sucks so much. You have all these amazing thoughts, ideas, and emotions inside you, but you can’t express them as freely as the extrovert sitting next to you. So, people assume that there’s nothing going on in there. They think you’re boring, or stupid.
Little do they know that you do know the answer – plus a whole lot more. You are just keeping quiet about it because you don’t feel the need to verbalize every passing thought.
This is one of those things that can change if you want it to. You can get better at expressing yourself in ways that feel more natural (like writing!). Just remember this: you don’t need to say a lot to show the world who you really are. You can be quietly compelling, and inwardly expressive. 😉
6. Parents pushing you to get your extrovert on.
As an introverted teen, things will be especially rough if your parents don’t understand your introversion. Your mom and/or dad might buy into the idea that you have to be outgoing, popular, and extroverted to succeed in life.
Because of this they push you to go out more, do more extracurricular activities, and make more friends. The operative word here is MORE. They don’t understand how exhausting this is for you. They don’t see that less really is more for quiet sensitive introverts like you.
If you’re lucky, your parents did a Google search and found an article on “how to parent an introverted teen”, and they are starting to let up on you. If you’re not so lucky, they found all sorts of articles on mental illness, and decided to “diagnose” your introversion as something that needs to be cured.
For the record, introversion is simply a personality type that 1/3 to 1/2 of the world’s population shares. It’s not something that needs to be fixed or changed. Embrace it, baby!
7. Finding friends you actually like.
Contrary to what many believe, introverts do want and need human connection. As an introverted teen, you face the challenge of finding friends who don’t drain the life out of you. This can be tricky because your quiet nature often attracts overbearing, bossy types.
You may want to connect with the other introvert in your class, but neither of you is willing to make the first move. Popularity can also be a problem for innie teens, but not in the way you might think.
I know this might sound like a contradiction, but there are actually plenty of popular introverted teens. Introverts are perfectly capable of making lots of friends. The hard part is feeling a real connection with these friends. Oftentimes, popularity is just loneliness in a different dress. Even though you are surrounded by people, you still feel just as misunderstood and different as ever.
Advice for the introverted teen
At this point in your life, it may seem impossible to get others to understand and accept you, which is all the more reason to make it your #1 goal to fully understand and embrace your true self. Read blogs and books on introversion, sensitivity, and Myers-Briggs personalities.
If that sounds boring to you, just look up funny memes on these topics, and you’ll get more or less the same result. You’ll feel like maybe you’re not such an unloveable anomaly after all.
You’re an introvert, and that’s pretty awesome.
A question for introverted teens
What say you introverted teen? Do you relate to the problems I shared here? What else do you find challenging about being an introverted teen (okay, I guess that was three questions, but you don’t have to answer all of them!).
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. 🙂
I’m glad you’re doing this Michaela, it’s nice to see you include others and share your wisdom with those that may not be heard. We have a lot in common. 🙂
Not to sound intrusive as this is for the teens and I want to be a part of the solution here, I can say that from what I’ve seen not much has changed since my day in school. I’d say the bullying is still going on in spite of having anti-bulling laws, most of what I see has now moved online when kids are bullying others via social media platforms, I’m glad to see others take a stand against it. I do feel especially bad for the girls that get bullied, mean girls suck and as a teen I saw them as so competitive, that they’d trash introverted girls or try to steal guys away from them with gossip and what not. When I was in school I found myself defending many kids, introverts and the disabled mostly, anyone that was different. Home wasn’t so bad I had an ISTJ dad, so that helped, he wanted me home more often then out anyway. Introverts don’t need many friends, I still have my original 3 friends from high school and that seems like a century ago, so don’t worry about popularity, many of those loud mouth guys will be working for you one day, so you’ll get the last laugh.
This is a great post, I don’t see too many like this, and it’s truly unique and very INFP as I have come to expect. Trust Michaela guys, she’s knows her stuff and all of us introverts have been through much of what you’re going through, believe it or not. If any of you have problems with people bullying you, tell a trusted adult make it their responsibility to stop it, it’s the law nowadays after all. If no such law exists, advocate for it. I fought for the rights of myself and others in high school and you can too, don’t let others stifle your voice as you are capable of amazing things, come hell or high water, as a collective of fellow introverts, you can overcome any obstacles.
P.S. If any teen needs some good advice, don’t hesitate to contact Michaela, she’s amazing with kids of all ages, she understands your pain and frustration like no one else I’ve seen and she’s good at what she does because her motto is Love all, trust a few, and hurt no one. In my mind, she is uniquely qualified to teach what she does as she’s lived it and learned what it takes to succeed as an introvert in todays world.
Hi Michaela, I’ve subscribed to your newsletters for quite a while now and your content always strikes a chord. I found my teenage years difficult. With hindsight, I can see my introverted nature was quite a big part of this. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be popular and found not many people really understood me, including to some extent my well-meaning but unenlightened parents. I just wanted to say a big thank you for your work in helping introverts understand and accept themselves and the rest the world understand us a bit better too! I’m sure you’ve helped so many of us feel better about ourselves and find our place in what often feels like an extrovert’s world!
I wish I had read this 20 years ago. I look back now and feel so awkward about those years and I can especially identify with feeling flattened by the weight of all the events at the end of the day when there really wasn’t much going on. Now in my 30s I still go through exactly the same things as I did in my teens. Thanks for this article it was perfect!
My teenage kid is introvert, quiet, least social. Now his studies are affecting his grades. He is less interested in conversations as in past I’ve been harsh on him. Is this psychiatric problem or parenting problem. Any guidance or further study/ consultation to help my kid would be off great help.
Even though I am not a teen , I just wanted to commend you for yet another magnificently written article. 🙂 I faced every single problem you named here when I was a teen, and I am speechless with the level of understanding that shines through your words.
Another masterpiece Michaela, well done! 🙂
Thank you so much for doing this, Michaela! I’ve always felt being understood for once in almost all of your blogs, but this one truly hits home. Especially that ‘parents pushing you to get your extrovert on’ part. Luckily for me though, my dad has become understanding of my introversion (ever since I showed him Introvert Spring), and I’ve never been so free. It really felt like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. Therefore, I appreciate what you’re doing so much. I can never thank you enough for this, and for all the advice you’ve given. Lots of love!
I disagree with #7. My husband and I are both introverts with introverted daughters. They’re 20 and 18 now. I am well-informed about this personality type and can empathise with them. We reared them in such a way that they always felt secure and happy with who they are. They always have a strong opinion about things that don’t flow with the popular trend. I allowed them to express themselves in the way they dressed. Both of them show exceptional talent for writing and the younger is very artistic as well. I have had to protect them mostly from family members who didn’t understand that they thought on a different frequency. Now they are strong and independent. My prayer is that they will continue to live their lives as formidable forces of influence.
That is the sweetest thing ever. I hope I get to have a family like that one day even though I’m just 15. I feel really out of place while talking to my friends and always feel as if they don’t understand me. It is the exact same with my mother. She has never accepted me for who I was and constantly pushes me to be someone I’m not. I really want her to stop and understand that just because you talk a lot does not mean that you are necessarily smart or whatever you are saying is right. Sometimes you have to think before you speak and I would really appreciate if people would let me do that. Thank you for listening.
I’M NOT ALONE ?
I relate to every one of these.
Thank you for writing this, now I feel a bit more understood (especially with the parents one?)
You’re very welcome Katie! So glad they make you feel like you’re not alone. 😉
Very good article. I am 33 but I still have some of this problems. I wish I had read something like this when I was younger. My life would have been so much different. But thankfully, now I can see there are other people like me.
Thank you so much for this article! I can relate to it completely. I am a 13 year old, sort of popular introvert. Im only ‘popular’ because all the other teens in by class keep having teen problems and i generally try to make them feel better – if not for that, i’d be literally invisible. I face problems with bullies – they say i’m stupid because i never or rarely talk if i dont have to. My parents tell me that they’d stop if i start talking in the class, interacting with friends… they invite my ‘friends’ over in the weekend and that leaves me with no recharge time. I used to think i was the only one who faced all these problems… im so glad im not!
As an INFJ, I witnessed every single thing you said.It was really crazy especially because I was in a boarding secondary school run by the army. It was standard for everyone to be a tough person,but I couldn’t adjust. Many times my quietness was taken for weakness, and I just tried to fit in even as my grades dropped.
After Secondary (or High) School,i came out of my shell and was able to appreciate myself more. I got into music(singing,playing the guitar,talking drum,recorder and keyboard) which made me very popular in the University.
Now I’m studying Art Design to improve my drawing skills on the computer/with my hands. I’m happy to be improving on all my talents(writing,music,teaching,art,archaeology and more).
But now I’m at a stage with scares me. A girl who’s an extrovert and popular in my secondary school and I got talking recently. She actually told me recently that she loves me. I actually started a rumor about us being in a relationship then in High School and me being angry with her for being rude. Everyone said she actually dumped me. We actually never spoke.
I haven’t seen her yet except for our chats on Facebook/whatsapp.Now she says she’s in love with me. And I have to see her soon. Secondly, im supposed to be going for a reunion of my Class in High School,and I’m having jitters.
This is scary
I wish I’d known this when I was a teenager; I think it could have made me feel more at peace with myself and perhaps I could have avoided some of the pitfalls of trying to fit in and be what I thought I was supposed to be, or what others thought I should be. I hope this article will make a difference in the life of a teen facing this dilemma today.
Another great article Michaela.
When I was a school, quite a long time ago actually, I was picked on for 2 reasons. 1) because I was skinny. So other kids teased me about that. And 2) I was quiet, so kids teased me about that too. So my best friend was Lisa who was also slim and quiet. My Dad used to tell me not to take any notice of bullies. So if someone said something not nice to me, I used to ignore them and walk away. Not that I wasn’t upset inside though!
One strange thing was that one ‘horrible’ girl in particular, I saw her at another friend’s house a couple of years after we left school. I pretended that I didn’t remember her and she was nice as nice to me. I don’t think she remembered being nasty!
Another thing. Every morning I used to feel sick before going to school.Now I realise that it was because I was introverted!
Thank you so much. This is my first time reading your articles and i’m looking forward to read it all.
i’m 21 and still facing those problems.
I am 66 and still facing problems. In my days of schooling I was always called a “loner”.
I seldom went to any dances or parties – going home to my room and listening to my music or reading a good book was the best things for me. Thank you so very much Michaela for such a wonderful article.
Aaaah man, number one brought me back to high school hahaha. And finding friends you actually like is a life-long endeavour, as people come and go in your life. Having read this as a teenager would have been very uplifting, glad you’re sharing it!
The fact is my society think being introvert is a crime !
I hope I would have read this 8 years ago. That me. Bullied and misunderstood. Even today.
All are so so so true!!
I’m 25 and still struggling with #7! The real connection is tough, if not impossible, to find!
Literally everything in this article is so true! It sucks that so few people really understand how introverts work, and most of them unknowingly make life just that much more difficult, even if they have good intentions. It’s really encouraging to read all the comments and be able to see that I’m not alone. Thanks for all the awesome articles, Michaela!
You’re welcome, Zach! I’m so happy that it resonated with you! xo
I relate to every single one of the problems you listed, and I have been doing so during all of the years that I have spent in school (in this moment I’m about to turn 17). Ever since I was a little girl I have been yearning graduation and then getting to study at university, although I believe I have glorified that too much, chiefly because of these problems. Thank you for a lovely website!
Hi Michaela i’ve been reading some of your articles & they are really interesting & awesome. I just have a problem that i am an introvert and also shy & this just somehow increases my problems to great extent & on top of that my mom who is an loud extrovert doesn’t understand my feelings which makes it even more harder. I hope you can help me.
Hi all, I’m one of those horrible parents who never understood my daughters introvertedness. As a matter of fact I probably hurt her so badly when she was younger that she will always remember it. She sees a counselor when she feels overwhelmed with life. I told her when she was in second grade she would never have friends the way she acted around them. I know horrible. I regret many of our horrible fights. She should not have had to endure. I just never understood her anxiety and shyness. She is 16 now and we are a lot better. I keep thinking with age communication skills will improve. Alas, they are still mediocre at best. This really makes it hard for her, on her because she is an athlete who is always trying to make everyone happy as I am understanding that is their nature. So she is never coaches favorite, teachers favorite, has trouble finding and keeping friends and boys because she is just so unsure and seemingly needy. It hurts her to her core. I try to constantly reassure her of her skills, talents,a brains, athleticism. I have to confess I lose it quite often when she harps on all the negative things when she is so blessed in life. Albeit introverted but extremely blessed. I know most people will not have nice things to say and believe me I beat myself up for the words I can never take back. Parents please have as much patience and understanding as possible. Our children are our greatest blessings in this world.
OH MY GOD THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS!!! I totally relate with all these points. I’m in 11th grade and I basically have no friends because it just feels like everyone is so loud and overbearing and insincere. I also tend to be a target of tons of narrcists due to my quiet and conflict-hating personality. Being the rarest personality type (INFJ) can really suck 🙁
my mother tells me once in a while that I am being too quiet and I should speak louder. This habit of her telling me that has been very emotionally taxing to me since young, especially because I naturally have a soft voice. It makes me extremly self concious. I always wanted to tell her that she is making me very upset but I couldn’t do it. I feel like crying every time she said it and I dont want to cry so i just kept quiet.
Thank you for the advice.
Thank you so much…I am an introvert, and you are right, we do need human contact. What people don’t understand is that human contact means you need to be with a human, it doesn’t say anything about people talking. My parents tell me I need to talk with everyone MORE, and while under certain circumstances it’s nice most of the time it wears me out. I had a fight with my mom today and as a teen it seems like she basically downgraded my feelings. I wasn’t sure how I could feel passionately about something and feel so withdrawn from others…thank you so much. P.S. Is anyone else having MAJOR insecurities about pressing ENTER?
Oh man I know the pain so well.. I didn’t want to go to any dances or any events with my school. I always felt extreme guilt that I was just some nerd with no life and who can’t stand any of the people around him… Yet they always had fun, went to dances, they were loud, outgoing and they were all these things that I wasn’t. (And even tjough im not one to care for social norms I still felt terrible because I just couldnt help but wonder.) I was thankful to find out about introversion 4 years ago as a freshman in high school. That was a time of turmoil for me and I was so upset all the time because I just felt overwhelmed and lost as far as anything besides acedemics.. But now i am so much better than i was in the past. This past year I’ve felt actually confident and have made strides in accomplishing my career goals, which puts me ahead of others quite a lot. And I just graduated so its a mix of emotions for me but I feel happier to finally leave behind some of the struggles I faced on a daily basis due to school.. College will be better XD
Really, thanks Marko and Michaela you’ve put a light at the end of the tunnel for me to reach for and know that im not alone and things will be better.
Thank you so much, I really like your blog. First time I am reading your article and it is very good. Many teenagers struggling with these problems this article is very helpful for teenager. TalkingToTeens is also a good site, This site is also about how to handle the behavior of the teenager. This site helps me to know more about the teenager behavior.
Thank you so much for writing this!
As an introverted teen in high school right now, I can related to every single one of the things you mentioned. I always thought that I was the only one going through this, and I’m glad to know that I’m not alone and that it is an introvert thing.
Love your blog!
Truly relatable. I feel I’m not alone. I always felt like an outsider ,misfit . Especially introverted girls are rare and extroversion is considered the norm. After reading this I am relieved. Thank you so much ??
I’ve always struggled to feel at peace with myself for being an introvert. I also worry about what everyone thinks of me and I am shy of expressing my opinions. I am in Grade 9 and have few friends to whom i can personally relate. i recently started doing research about introverts, and realised that it is actually a very special personality tipe. Although I am clever and do well in school, I stuggle with my social life. People sometimes ignore me and think I’m boring, because I’m quiet. y parents also don’t understand my need for privacy. But I’ve learned to accept myself for who I am. Thank you, Micheala. Introvers, remember: God made every person unique and special, with his/her own unique talents. We can all make a difference.
As an extrovert parent of an introverted 18yo how can I help with the whole getting a job process and the effort required of her to put herself out there. Especially as so many advertised jobs specifically ask for outgoing, bubbly people rather than calm and quiet people?
As the introvert in a family of extroverts, it can be extremely lonely. As I was reading this I was thinking “Finally! Someone who knows that introverts exist! My family thinks introverts are a myth!
YES! My 15 year-old son is struggling so much right now. He went to the same school k-8, after that they all scattered to their home high schools and he literally has 1 friend in a school of 2300 kids and unfortunately that friendship has changed a lot as the friend has a built in community of church friends he now socializes with, which left my son with no one. And it is heartbreaking and I don’t know how to help him. I know exactly how he feels and I try not to push him, but at the same time I know that he needs to go outside of his box just a bit. His dad and I are also pretty darn introverted so I know exactly where he gets it. In football, he was the kid standing off to the side of the other boys and I would think, “get in there boy! Talk to someone!” as I am standing off to the side from the other parents not talking to anyone. I get it. I do. If he had one friend that would make all the difference. I need help. I need advice.
I am an over the top extrovert with an introverted 15 year old daughter. I love her and my constant prayer is that she will have self acceptance. This article was truly wonderful
As an introverted teen, I love reading blogs like this because I’m trying to learn who I am and feel more comfortable as I am, which is hard to do as an introvert because everyone is always telling me about me and I just listen thinking “you don’t know me at all” and I don’t want to explain in fear of being misunderstood and having to talk more to try to have the other person which drive me nuts. Anyway, at this phase of my introverted teenage years, I noticed that I cannot connect with others and I feel like something is wrong with me 🙁 I’m thinking about starting a blog to reach out to people who have the same struggles as me like you are.
Thanks for sharing your experience, Anon! I think starting a blog is a great idea. 🙂
So much similar to me , I think I came to the right page to find out what is happening with me, thank you very much micheala
Hi I am a teen and I am an introvert. I read this cos I only just realised when my new friend asked me Why are You so Quiet? So I searched the internet and discovered I was an introvert. But I thought it was a bad thing. That I was anti social and hated people. But then I found this and THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!! I relate to everything you said except the bullying thank goodness and now I know why after getting home from school I crumple to floor even tho the day was ok and why when I’m around people I usually just sit at the back except around my 3 friends. Anyway thank you so much for writing this article it helped me understand loads and learn something about myself!
Am introverted! I have struggled a lot! I feel the pain! Am so socially awkward! I need help! I feel so drained
I have a 12 year old daughter who is an extreme introvert, and after a series of conflicts with her friends and separation from school/peers because of COVID, she is left with no social group. She would like to do online school at home because in person school makes her anxious and overwhelmed. Is homeschooling a good option for introverted teens, or does being at home, away from the peer stressors, just strengthen her anxiety about them? We don’t want her to lose touch, but we also want to give her a positive environment that will help to grow her confidence. Right now, she isn’t in any activities and doesn’t feel up to participating in anything, so I’m afraid about the lack of on person exposure to other kids.The program we are looking at has a virtual classroom, but not sure if that is enough interaction.Thoughts welcome, please…we are at a crossroads and torn on what to do.
I am 65 yo and wish I had great information like this when I was in high school in the early 70s. Nothing has changed and these observations were true then as now.
My advise: find out what your talents are such as music writing science or math and even theater as many introverts are talented performers. Then concentrate on those areas and find friends in those areas and accept the fact that your social life may be delayed 5 or 10 years or more beyond your peers.
Also keep a good witty sense of humor about life as it may all just be a cosmic joke.
Young people need a better sense of humor now a days. Laugh every day!
I am a mother of a 15 year old daughter who is an introvert. We adopted her when she was 9months old from Guatemala. My husband and I are both in our early 60’s. We blame ourselves for how she is because we are old. We lost our other daughter in a car accident when she was only 22 and our 15 year old was 4. They were close. We have another 36 year old daughter but she has a family of her own with 3 daughters younger than our 15 year old. I constantly worry about her and having friends, having teens over to the house, going to the movies, going shopping, talking, and having fun at school. It’s constantly on my mind. She is not like our other 2 daughters were, and it is very hard for me because I want her to be happy and have fun. Can she without having friends she can do things with?????