“How can I stop being so introverted? Any advice would be very welcome.”
I was asked this question for the first time a few years ago. I’ve been asked it many times since. In fact, the blog post I wrote in response to it was one of the most visited articles on my website.
I wanted to help introverts to move in sync with their natural rhythms instead of resenting them. So I’ve turned the post into a podcast episode so that we can explore what this might look like in more depth.
- What Do You Want to Stop Being Introverted? | 4:47
- How To Stop Being an Introvert | 23:14
- It’s About How We Are, Not Who We Are | 25:34
- Embracing Who You Are | 44:22
What Do You Want to Stop Being Introverted? | 4:47
It’s easy for me to say “just embrace your introversion, it’s who you are”, but I know it’s not that simple. There are good reasons why we might wish we could stop being an introvert. Especially when we compare ourselves with the person we are told to be by society. Our natural preferences don’t always fit with the values of a noisy, overstimulating, extrovert-centric world.
It can feel like we don’t belong. Like there’s something wrong with us. And of course, we might wish we could change that.
Isolation in an Alien World | 8:32
Do you ever get the sense that everyone else is in on something and you missed the meeting?
Have you looked at others and envied how comfortable they are, interacting with an overwhelming world. They appear unfazed by the madness. They know what they’re doing, where they want to go, and what they need to do to get there.
Laurie Helgoe says that this is very common for introverts. An idea she articulates perfectly in Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life is Your Hidden Strength.
She describes two kinds of responses introverts might have to an extrovert-centric world:
Shadow Dwelling Introverts:
“Appear (if they can be seen) as reclusive and inaccessible – alien.”
“Do not come off as remote or intimidating because they have almost adapted to the extrovert culture”
The potential problem we might face through these ways of adapting to a noisy world is that they can create alienation. We might become alienated from the world around us as the shadow dweller. Or we alienate ourselves from core parts of who we are deep down as the accessible introvert. Life gets exhausting when we feel like we have to spend it hiding.
There’s nothing wrong with being reclusive if it gives us the platform to flourish. But if we are hiding and harbouring resentment about the world we wish we could be part of, then it’s not helping us flourish. Likewise, many people see themselves as social introverts. They love spending energy on other people and experiences, but they need plenty of downtime to prepare and recover. But if we spend all our energy pretending to fit in and be something we know we’re not, then it’s not helping us flourish.
If we don’t fully accept or understand what it means to be introverted we can find ourselves in a state of limbo. In a place where we might feel it necessary to make that choice: to disappear or to play along.
But Everyone Seems So Happy | 13:58
Much of our world is driven by perception. We are encouraged to believe that who we are is not enough. Where we are is not enough. And other people are enjoying the things we don’t have.
But these stories are believable. It’s easier to tell the story that other people have their lives together than to realise the truth; that no one is whole and complete. The stories we tell ourselves about what life could be if only we were not who we are, might reinforce our sense of alienation and self-loathing.
Happiness is little more than an occasional passing highlight on the mundane canvas of everyday life. If we accept this we might start to build a more useful self-concept. And enjoy what it means to be one of seven and a half billion people trying to make sense of this weird and mysterious thing we call life.
What Do You Mean By “Introverted”? | 20:28
For many of us who want to stop being introverted, we are usually referring to a particular aspect of our personality in relation to something that matters to us. For example, I have helped people take action on their dream of performing music on stage. In one example this required changing part of a script that told the person, “you can’t perform because as an introvert you get too nervous”.
When we tell ourselves stories like this, we reduce our potential by attaching what we believe is possible – or not – to something we can’t change. And by doing this we tell ourselves we CAN’T do what we would love to do.
But what if introversion doesn’t stop you from doing ANYTHING? It just informs the way you might need to approach doing the thing.
In the example of the performer, we could remove the word “introvert” from the script, and look at possible ways to manage and use the nerves more effectively. It turns out that nerves are not an exclusive introvert thing. They are universal. And they won’t always be there.
What story are you telling yourself about introversion? How might changing the script shift your relationship with your temperament?
How To Stop Being an Introvert | 23:14
There is a lot of clutter surrounding what introversion means. As our awareness and acceptance of it has grown in mainstream popularity, so too have a number of myths. It’s still confused with shyness and social anxiety. Of being afraid of people and scared to speak up in public. But while these are true for some introverts (as they are for extroverts), they are not a product of the innate temperament as we understand introversion to be.
If we really want to stop acting in sync with our introversion there are several things we might try:
- Spend time with people when you’re feeling low on energy
- Increase sources of external stimulation
- Rush making big decisions
- Find someone to talk to about everything you’re thinking
- Fill your calendar with social engagements
- Share your opinion before you’ve considered it
At its core, introversion and extroversion are about how we create and budget our energy as human beings. Introverts typically turn inwards when they need to recharge and process things. While extroverts require external stimulation (other people, crowds, invigorating experiences etc) to create the energy they need.
It’s About How We Are, Not Who We Are | 25:34
“Even though I’m a classic introvert, when I give a lecture for my students I perform with great passion. Introverts, when they are ‘on,’ become pseudo-extraverts. Can you tell the difference between a born extravert and a pseudo-extravert? Usually you cannot.”– Professor Brian Little (Me, Myself, and Us)
Acting Out of Character | 26:11
Brian Little suggests that we all have the ability to “act out of character” when something is important to us. This phrase can be interpreted in a couple of ways:
- Acting in a way that doesn’t fit a ‘fixed trait’ view of who we are (doing something that might be unexpected, not typically introverted, or viewed as unusual for us by others)
- Acting contrary to our natural disposition for the sake of something deeper than our own immediate comfort (acting out of our character – character being moral strength)
When it comes to thinking about our personality, we often have a tendency to discuss it without context. We might say ‘I don’t like parties’, ‘I hate crowds’, or ‘I can’t stand the phone’.
Yet in reality, rather than using those preferences to ensure our own future happiness we will still go to a party, stand in a crowd, and make a phone call when the situation requires it. Or at least we CAN.
Free Trait Agreements | 30:37
The 5 Big Personality Traits (Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism) are not completely fixed. Little describes them as making up an arpeggio rather than a chord.
As an introvert I may enter a free trait agreement, for example, to arrange a party for someone I care about, to go and be a part of a crowd when I really want to watch a live performance. Or to call a friend who really needs some support right now.
When we become invested in stuff that matters we become able to temporarily put on hold our natural desire (maybe to sit at home with a book) and do something less comfortable.
The other side of a free trait agreement is a restorative niche. These are uniquely personal things we do to recharge after spending our energy. They restore our spirit and recharge our sense of self.
One reason we might want to escape our introversion is that we aren’t aware of our own restorative niche. It’s a vital part of the rhythm that allows us to invest our time and energy into things that matter to us. If we don’t have them we risk overwhelm and burnout. These restorative niches are part of the agreements we enter into.
Little suggests that there is give and take when we are in free trait agreements with others. He says “with spouses and bosses, we can strike a bargain: I’ll act out of character to advance our joint project if you will grant me a restorative niche. What we need is a Free Trait Agreement.”
The Pros and Cons of Personality Tests | 33:57
Who doesn’t love a personality test? There’s something fun about seeing things about yourself reflected back in a description of your particular ‘type’.
If we can refrain from using them to diagnose our personalities – “I’m a hothead, I fear intimacy, I’m a dreamer” – then these tools can be useful.
The Good Thing About Personality Tests
I often use a DISC personality profile when I begin a new coaching partnership. It provides some good information to explore together and allows me to adapt my approach to suit their natural communication style and personal preferences.
We often encounter resistance when we don’t understand the differences between people. Personality profiles remind us that we see and experience the world differently to others. And others experience it differently to us. Not only is this a potential path to hold the world with more empathy but also to encounter ourselves in a new way. Everyone is a bit weird. Not just us.
When we acknowledge this truth and become more aware of our subconscious preferences, we are better equipped to work WITH ourselves in service of our personal values and goals.
The Problem With Personality Tests | 37:16
“Too many of us wake up one day feeling stuck inside a narrow definition of ourselves” – Michael Puett (author of The Path: A New Way to Think About Everything)
When I first realised I was an introvert I had a category by which to divide my picture of the world. There were introverts and there were extroverts. Introverts behave a certain way and extroverts another way. The danger with personality typing is that we look for a prescription rather than a description of our preferences. It can quickly become an identity rather than a tool for understanding.
When we allow our labels to drive our behaviour we live out a self-fulfilling prophecy. Who we are reflects how we think we should act, and we end up putting ourselves in boxes that are only a tiny part of the overall picture of who we are.
Labels and Traps | 41:07
I had a conversation years ago with someone who had recently learned they were an introvert. I was talking about how much of a relief it was to realise I wasn’t as weird and different as I thought. They were quick to snap back, “I never thought I WAS weird! It’s everyone else that’s got the problem”.
On the one hand, good for them. It was great to witness such a strong sense of inner confidence. But on the other hand, I’m not sure it was confidence. They used their introversion as a source of tribal identity rather than a tool for personal growth. This was evident when they continued, “they say I’m too quiet and they can’t hear me. But I’m peaceful and calm, just because they’re not used to it, that shouldn’t mean that I have to change. They need to get over themselves.’
There is a difference between an insult and a criticism. An insult is personal whereas a criticism contains something we can use and learn from. It’s sometimes a vague line, but we must be careful not to take everything as a personal insult.
As introverts, we CAN make a free-trait agreement and adapt our natural preferences if the situation requires it. Perhaps we need to speak louder in a particular environment or when carrying out a certain role.
Embracing Who You Are | 44:22
Your introversion is part of who you are. It’s the foundation of your natural rhythm. It can help you approach your hopes and dreams in sustainable ways. It’s the track on which you run.
It’s not something to overcome, but something to understand and work with.
If you feel alone in how you see and experience the world then I would love to invite you to join The Haven. It’s a virtual village for naturally introverted, sensitive, creative, and gently rebellious people like you. Connecting with other people who are like ourselves is a great step in learning self-acceptance and working in sync with those natural rhythms and preferences that hold the key to our quiet flourishing.
I struggle to interact. I have always found men easier to talk too.
after gong through the covivd shut down alone, and a heart event a yr ago, gong out is mch harder. i do go out only to come home feeling defeated and lonely. Seeing other pool togeyher and never having that is a open wound.
i do volunteer at a thrift store. i keep busy and do help customers. still trying to find other opportunities.
I am not mouthy enough. i tend t keep quiet and disppear into the background.
i am not good socially, and was harassed by a narassistic mother. sorry i don’t have that skll.
i am vey functional i take care of my personal business, sell stuff online.
i am just just a square peg in a round hole socially. i have had therapy.
i am tried of trying and failing, picking wrong people. time to move on and do things i an succed in.
i say going to talk than shut down, it s hard when you always been told to keep quiet.
thanks for the info i will try it. i only have up to go!
Wow actually scared me reading this felt like you just had a whole conversation with me, so thanks.
So glad! 🙂
I am happy to be an introvert. I think people sometimes do not realize, you really cannot change it. You are hard wired this way. It has to do with your neurotransmitters, neural paths and enzymes burn out those neurotransmitters (and how the blood flows in our brains). We are just not wired to take in vast amounts of external stimuli.
Me too Beth! Yeah once you become aware of and understand the natural flow of energy between inner and outer world it is such a game changer. Can manage it in ways that support your broader life goals rather than feeling like a tension between what you want and what you can cope with. Thanks for stopping by!
Wow! I just came across this post and I really believe that you hit the nail on the head. Throughout the years, I have started to embrace my talents with being an introvert. However, at times it can be a little annoying. My biggest trait that I have that I would like to improve on is when I want to recharge and tune out everyone, my family and friends will take it as me ignoring them. My mom has never understood me being an introvert. She expects me to talk to her almost everyday. When I am in my recharge mode, she’ll make a comment, “ I wish you could at least respond to me letting me know that you’re okay”. Don’t get me wrong, I do agree with my mom. My friends will say the same thing. It’s hard to explain but I am a regional account manager. I love my job but it’s also draining for me. Especially, if a customer is needing/wanting to “connect”. Meaning that they have either an extreme high or low moment, which for me to connect to that energy is super draining. If they’re low, whether they’re going through something sad or they’re just naturally a low person, then I find myself being low. Same for them being high. This type of connection that I have with people is where I find myself shining. I find that my customers and really anyone that I come in contact with, naturally wants to share things with me. I believe that this is a great trait to have, especially as a sales person. However, I have always found this to be so draining for me. By the time I get home, I could be zapped of all of my energy. The last thing I want to do is answer the phone. However, I do see my mom’s point that I could at least text her and say I’m okay but I need to rest. The problem is that I cannot always turn it off. Meaning that at times, I’m having deep conversations with allot more people then I can handle. Hence the real lows. Hence the reason I don’t answer my phone. Now only an introvert could understand how that makes you feel lol. I love my talent to be able to connect with people in a deep way. Just wish I could turn it off at times and Just say “No Not Today”.
Hi Steph, thanks so much for sharing! I am very similar to you in so many ways you describe. My reset mode can be an extreme withdrawal. I love connecting with people in deep ways and it can wipe me out (and I can’t help myself but go into deep conversations when they’re there). And being an absorber of moods/energy – someone who people open up to. It’s a mixed bag – I love the depth and the empathic connection, but it takes some serious awareness/management in order to avoid overwhelm and burnout.
I am 15 now and all my life of school being around people I never said a word only when I had to. I never said anything and I was with the same classmates for 8 years. How is it possible that I can not speak in all that time. I don’t even speak to my own family that I know since I can remember. I don’t say a word to them. I only speak to my siblings and parents but that hardly. I had 2 friends but we not close anymore. I can’t speak even if I want to. I am in my house most of the time. And my parents are stricked so they won’t really make me go out. I have a problem even with sharing my feeling. I need help
Hey, sorry to read that you’ve been struggling. You’re great at sharing your thoughts through writing, thanks for taking the time to comment. What stops you from feeling like you can speak to people? I know it can be different for everyone and the feelings that emerge in that moment are not the same for us all. There are many situations where I feel completely unable to speak up.
maybe being a introvert isn’t so bad after all but changing is so hard
I don’t understand why I’m quite and more to myself when I want to make more friends and build better relationships with people but It’s hard to change my whole personality
Does being an introvert mean it’s difficult to look people in the eye that are talking to you,not wanting to be around your friends much and find it hard to express your feelings without writing it on paper?
Thanks a lot Sir/Ma’am for providing such a zeal knowledge of being extrovert to some extent.
I do remember whenever i feel introvert at public places and social speaking.
It’s always sorrow to back off from the public discussion and sometimes i felt gloom when being alone.
But after getting to know ample knowledge to improve myself, I will definitely bring me up in the upcoming future.
Thank you once again!!!!
At last want to know one solution Sir
How to cope with the unknown persons openly on any topic already discussing between them
If anyone reading this is Extroverted please tell me, what do you do on a daily basis that makes peaople like you. At school im the cool kid that everyone hangs out with but when I get home I don’t leave the house unless my parents tell me we’re leaving or we have to go. I don’t know what to do when I get home bc I only have 1 friend that lives near me that i would hang out with. I’m really short so some of my friends make fun of me for it so I don’t like to be with them often. Please, what do I do after school, when I’m home and don’t have new people to be around
I’m very introverted and don’t really wanna be, I find it hard to know every person I can and be friends with everyone i want to be friends with, I think it has to do with how I was raised. I was raised with no other people living around me and my Dad was always hard on me to be my best self, and to become friends with everyone, but, the way they raised me doesn’t agree with what he tells me. This article really helped me out and I’m only 11, so I hope it can help me build a strong base to my Introvertism, changing to Extrovertism
I don’t remember how i was before but since grade 6, two of my classmates started spreading rumors about me that caused most of my classmates to turn against me. I started trying to find new friend groups and kept on shifting around. The same thing happened when I moved to high school, since those 2 guys were in my high school as well and it was pretty unpleasant.
People would randomly called me faggot in the hallways and I was usually always alone and avoided people i knew in the halls. I had like one or two friends I hung out with sometimes but that was it. In grade 10 to 12, things got better but because of it, i never really had a friend group in which i was close to.
When I got to University, I started having my own friend group and it was nice but because i was alone for such a long time, I felt like I was just boring and ran out of things to say. Especially when it came to dating.
Over the 4 years i have tried very hard to improve myself and I fell like I’ve come a long way now. After going through 5 different jobs, I do feel more comfortable talking to people but I’m still sort of introverted when it comes to talking to girls in my opinion.
An in all my past relationships, I feel like i’d run out of interesting things to say or I just don’t know how to make deep conversations.
Am I just shy or am i just bad at conversation?
Thanks for sharing Roy. Really sorry to hear of your experiences through school. That sounds horrible. People can be so harsh and disgusting. It sounds like you’re continually growing in self-awareness and you have a sense of where you want to grow your skills. I imagine you’re better than you think you are already. We often under-estimate our abilities. But the good news is that you can move forwards in these goals. Conversation is something we can all get better at (a good place to start is building a bank of good questions to ask people. I remember seeing a study that suggested people who ask lots of questions are seen by the other person in a conversation as more interesting than those who talk about themselves. The person being asked questions (and answering them), has a perception that the person asking the questions is interesting, even if they haven’t actually said anything. I love this because it means I don’t need to be interesting! Phew.
You are saying that being an introvert is a bad thing and I have been an introvert all my life and yes there have been problems but I have no desire to become an extrovert. There are a lot of things I like about myself and what is so perfect about an extrovert as they also have problems. Do you think you are perfect? This is so dumb I can’t believe people think like you. To other introverts I will say except who you are but knowing more about yourself will help overcome some of the struggles. Introverts are good people as they are caring and loving and loyal friends and terrific listeners be proud don’t be led astray but this nutcase
Hi Linda, thanks for stopping by. I don’t know if you read the article, but the points you make are the points of the post. Many people wind their way to my site looking for ways to ‘stop being introverted’, so that’s why I titled this post with that. But I wanted to show why being an introvert is something to celebrate, and the parts of our temperament that society might make us feel are curses, are actually gifts, when we look at them a little differently. Sorry if that message was a little lost in the article. It’s perhaps a little too ‘tongue in cheek’.
I could not talk to any girl comfortably and even with some rude boys. Infact when there is any argument with my parents i can argue for a long time but i could not understand why i cannot do it with them and why i get afraid .
I say forget it! I can be introverted all I want.
Hey Andy, I read this and am still really confused about myself, I think i’m just shy and an introvert at the same time but I’m not sure. If I have no friends I will for some reason out of nowhere be an extrovert until I make a few, then I go back to being an Introvert. If people try to give me a high-five for example for no reason, I will ignore them, I also don’t like it when people talk to me out of nowhere because I feel awkward. Any thoughts or tips on how I can improve on that? I used to be an extrovert and I loved making friends with everyone but then in about 7th grade I just kind of slowly became introverted and have been ever since, I really want to talk to people but it’s mainly a problem with confidence and I just feel like I think too much before speaking and then the chance is gone, almost like It’s too much work to talk and I should stay in my head instead.
Hey, I found this post very informative and helpful. I’m curious if I could get some insite. I am naturally content with my introversion apart from when my natural instinct as you put it gets in the way in situations such as conflict. I spend to much time thinking and analyzing a situation when I should be acting to prevent the problem from happening such as standing up for myself and others when it most dire. Do you have any advice on how to push yourself to snap out of your “instinctive” ways so you do the right thing before it’s too late?
Thanks for this. “…it can be hard to not feel like you’re broken in some way.” I’ve felt this a lot, especially at family get togethers, even small ones.
hello,im from malaysia, i am sad because i really doesnt know how to impress myself to others.i only know how to start conversation with my best friends.i am totally useless because, i doesnt know how to talk to my relatives
I stopped reading after you said you have friends and go to festivals etc. You are not an introvert, you just wrote a post for SEO
Hi Rory, thanks for stopping by. Not quite sure what you mean by saying introverts don’t have friends and cannot go to festivals. Shame you didn’t read the rest of the post as I hope it might help understand what I was saying more broadly. Introversion is about how we deal with energy, not whether or not we are sociable. Festivals are certainly a challenge, but one that I find worth navigating and continuing to persist with trying to find a good balance with, especially as a musician. Very much an introvert. Would definitely be helpful to others not to judge based on your own experience or interpretations. People need to be allowed to do what they do and to find better ways to manage and understand energy as a result rather than writing things off altogether. Thanks again. Andy.
Everything that u said applies to me ..i’m a teenager…i’d love to interact with friends ..but as i’m an introvert it feels much difficult for me to talk with them..And then i get a lil bit depressed – ” why do i don’t hv many friends?”..plz help
Thank you so much 🙏 for sharing this. People have often mistaken my introversion for other things since not many people understand introversion. I just hope more people read this blog to understand that introversion is truly a gift…
Something I just wanted to add which deserves mention and is hopefully helpful to other introverts….introverts in relationships:
I’ve struggled with love for a very long time….my former partners didn’t understand my introversion which led to one heartbreak after another….
Until I found my soulmate….(so have faith people…yours is somewhere out there too if you haven’t found him or her yet)
My soulmate who passed away a few years ago, was outgoing, social, funny, extroverted, and all in all, beautiful in every way….was he perfect? No (no one is) but he was perfect to me…he was the yin to my yang….the peanut butter to my jelly….and it worked because of something very important (besides love of course)….he understood introversion and we complemented each other….his strengths were my weaknesses and vice versa…..he respected and understood our “time together” and especially our “time alone”….he knew it was essential for our relationship to grow and strengthen since we related to things differently….he knew my alone time was when I was closest to my inner feelings, and thoughts, which cultivated the relationship even deeper….introverts NEED that time for self-reflection, creativity, and understanding…..we were opposites in many ways, but we shared interests and loved the same things (although not always)…..HIS GIFT, however, was his EXTROVERTION….at least one of his gifts (because he had many)….He loved people! He was a total people person! Don’t get me wrong I love people too but he could talk to anyone….and easily….and not just talk but I mean carry a conversation until the sun would go down and connect with people in ways I just couldn’t….and I loved watching it! It was awesome to see folks and I’m just going to leave it at that…..until we meet again babe…thank you for all you taught me ❤️
I will always love you…my puzzle piece. 831.
No wonder i’m having trouble spending long period time with my friends i cant bear to be with them more than 1 day i need to go home and re-charge my energy struggle and its so hard to start conversation when there is large group of people and i don’t enjoy being in crowded place sucks my energy to 0 i spent winter alone diddnt go out my phone always on silent mode and my friends ask me why’d u do that being introvert pain
After reading this, I want to stop being introverted even more than before.
I know you didn’t write this as ‘practical advice,’ but I see all five points as excellent goals.
I’ve spent a lot of time in solitude, but I find that it’s really not that helpful for knowing yourself or personal development.
“Thinking out loud” is a very useful habit for a ton of reasons. First: relationships develop primarily through self disclosure. Whether you prefer a few close friends or a larger circle, the absolute best thing you can do to increase intimacy is to share your internal dialogue with them.
The problem with that, though, is… well, your thoughts might seem either too ‘deep,’ not appropriate for sharing, or possibly incorrect. Which takes us to the second benefit of sharing: you get more input from others, which has a normalizing effect.
Thoughts tend to focus on the unexpected, what is out of the ordinary. You might think, “It’s my first day in New York, and the subway is two hours late! The public transport in New York is never on time.” If you think about this by yourself, you will never be able to verify if it is true of not, until you get more experience. But if you say your thoughts out loud, you can observe the reactions of other people to instantly see if your experiences are common or not.
The same goes for ‘deep’ conversations. Generally speaking… if something feels really deep, it’s probably also really personal and unique. Which means that other people won’t see things exactly the same way, and if you share with enough people you will eventually come to a more ‘normal’ perspective that’s the average of many different people’s experiences, which means that your thoughts are free to return to… the shallows. The present. Who you are with, what you are doing, what is happening right now.
#3 is the best advice. While you should never stop noticing the world, there is no need to process anything (while you process, you are missing out on the now). By the time you are done ‘processing,’ you have already missed out on experience. While this might make for a better decision now, if you make this a habit you will miss out on the experiences you need to make correct gut-level decisions in the future. For example: the person who thinks very hard about what to say will always be behind the person who has embarrassed themselves thousands of times before, and now can speak without thinking.
I’ll be honest, this article wasn’t really helpful to me, because I found it by trying to find a way to stop being so exhausted after every single interaction. (I’ve attended online school since fourth grade and now I’m going to a brick and mortar college. I’m worried, because it’s going to be a lot of new interaction every day, and I spend the next three days after going to the grocery store recharging.) Do you have any advice for introverts on how to recharge easier or faster?
BEING AN INTROVERT IS NOT A CURSE!
thank you..this can help me a lot considering i’m still in my teenage years so hope i can try to open up to my friends more
That was bloody awesome! I feel like everything that i just read applies and its all so very clear to me now. I’m not going to deny it any longer. Its been a total pain to live like i have, to find a fix to something i’ve seen as a problem my whole life. Thank you Andy!
Yea man everything you said is pretty much me i came here not wanting to be introverted thinking it would hinder my dream of doing stand up at a stadium. It made me feel like whenever a crucial moment would come up i wouldnt say the right thing. After reading this im gonna try to manage my energy better
I recently left home to travel the world with my new boyfriend. After leaving, my family and friends rarely contact me. Additionally, we have been staying at hostels where people often stay a maximum of a few days, then move on.
This has been putting a lot of strain on my new relationship, because..as an introvert, I don’t find ot easy to open up to strangers in this kind of setting. Therefore, I have regrettably been asking a lot of him. He is wonderful, and has been supportive thus far, but I am afraid of long-term repercussions.
Not only that, but I’ve noticed I have been getting jealous of his social interactions that don’t involve me, and hostel living doesn’t give you much privacy. It feels impossible to break out of my shell, but its also impossible to hide away aside from in the shower.
Going home isn’t an option.
I’ve tried meditation, but it seems impossible without privacy. Same with yoga.
I’ve tried drinking to get a healthy dose of social interaction, but it doesn’t seem to be a cost-effective or healthy fix.
I can only talk to my boyfriend about these things so much before he will think I’m absolutely bonkers.
Please, anyone with advice, I would love to hear it. What should I do?
These are things that introverts CANT do. wow. great help.
I really don’t know if it’s my communication skills that stop me, or it’s my fake friends or it is anxiety……….
man so fucked up it is being an introvert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I hate myself most when I’m in a party or an event that’s full of people and there’s an oppurtunity to socialize, the outcome for most is some new friends or at least a decent conversation, but for me it feels like I give off an aura of: “Please get away from me as far as possible.” Therefore I never get approached or meet someone new, which hurts my ego. You said in your article about how I should teach myself to grasp conversations about celebrities and whatnot, and that not every conversation you have has to be deep. I fully understand that, growing up I’ve come to realize that the majority really don’t have the capacity to think further than the surface, it shocked me at first, but I also can’t seem to manage to fit in although I try to. I just don’t know what the hell anyone’s talking about!
Hi Salma, yeah I absolutely get you. I realise it wasn’t very obvious but my point about getting into celebrity gossip etc was a little sarcastic. I can’t stand those kinds of conversations and find them really difficult. There is absolutely something to be said for being able to entertain small talk. But my point was that we should embrace our introversion and not be hard on ourselves because actually the alternatives make us not that interesting. If you’re more inclined towards deep conversations then that’s a great thing! One thing that’s worth remembering is that at parties/social events there are other people like you/us – it’s difficult to meet people in that setting who you will make a lasting connection with, because they’re probably also giving off the aura of “please get away from me”. Don’t be hard on yourself! You’re completely normal. When it comes to celebrity small talk…I don’t know what people are talking about either. There are many of us who are exactly the same too…
I can say that I’m at the top in list if introverts on the globe.I don’t know why but i hate people, I hate to talk to people, i hate when someone tries to interfere in my life,in my thoughts and in my work, but sometime i need friends for entertainment (everybody said that my company is much boring)so no one wants to join me and then i feel.i cry sometime that why I am of such type?
. Secondly i have no confidence at all, whenever i have to speak in front of people i get nervous and my blood pressure becomes higher and my hand start shuddering.And whenever I see crowd or people I become dumb, i don’t know what to speak.
I tried many time to overcome all above but every time I failed.
I AM INTROVERT, BUT I AM FREE TO MY FRIENDS…
I ALSO FIND DIFFICULT TO BE FREE WITH MY FAMILY…
WHAT SHOULD I DO
Honestly this is not good at all, us introverts think differently then extroverts, I’d say just make some time in the day to have some time alone time so that you could refuel! I would go crazy doing these things that were shown on here.
Absolutely Skye! That was the point of the article. Tongue in cheek!
Hi Ashley from Kenya here.I just wanted to ask how to control the negative thoughts that always seem to bother me especially after interacting with people,Things like ‘did I say the right things’ or ‘did they notice when I said a stupid comment’
Then I start thinking that they don’t like me anymore and have this imaginary beef in my head so I end being too intimidated to follow up on people.Things like that are what get to me.
Yes I know exactly what you mean. The mind chatter after social encounters. I had one the other day. I thought someone was reaching out for a handshake when he wasn’t, so I put my hand out and then we had a very awkward encounter. We are extremely good at exaggerating the importance of things in our own minds. With the handshake thing, the first thing I did was admit it and laugh about it with myself. Sometimes just writing down fears about what we’ve said or haven’t said in a journal or something can be helpful in giving perspective. Soon realise that it wasn’t as bad as you thought. And if you really feel bad, to just send a quick friendly follow up message to the person. Not always easy, but often serves to help in small ways. Another useful question to ask yourself is “will I be concerned about this in a month?”
Yesterday was my friend’s birthday, but im the only one who didnt talk much
yes i did laugh at somethings but i feel weird when it comes to meeting a large group
i didnt even speak up and tell any story. man, i really want to change.
i oftenlly dont make eye contact while talking and it really feels weird
so my goal is to be more talkative, less introvert and more extrovert (mid),charismatic and gain relationships
wish me luck !
This is a common experience, especially in groups. I rarely share stories when there is a big group and I feel inadequate. Especially when there are people I don’t know. But then get me one on one with people (or in a smaller group of people I know) and I can be as chatty as anything. Don’t be too hard on yourself – play to your strengths, and work on anything you really want to change. But you have great gifts as an introvert that extroverts will look at and wish they shared. It’s just not always quite as obvious!
To be honest, there have been times when I wish I was not so much of an introvert. I wish I was more of an extrovert. I wish I was someone who was more vocal and willing to take on things just like the next person. After reading this, I notice there are qualities mentioned above that I do have. I also see how it has helped me in many situations to handle it properly without consequence. So now I treasure me being an introvert, because it has helped me in many ways in life. I see the benefits of being myself and not an extrovert. Don’t get me wrong, there are good qualities to being an extrovert as well. I just see how being the opposite has been a help in life. Thank you for writing this. It really helped me out.
Hi Brian. Yeah it’s completely natural to desire qualities that we see in others, especially people who are different – and natural also to overlook our own qualities – the ones that others might be quietly envious of! It’s really good to have that perspective that we’re all different, and just because we might see others and wish we had some of what they have, it doesn’t mean we haven’t got a whole load of our own qualities that we maybe take for granted! So glad the article has helped. Really nice to hear from you!
Well I’m an extrovert but I have a lot of introvert-like qualities and lately I’ve been wanting to say no to whenever people ask me to hang out and it’s weird
Interesting! Is that a new thing that you’ve started feeling or just a freedom to express what you’ve felt but never really acted on?
I have the triple wammy; Generalized Anxiety, OCD, and I’m an introvert by default. In social settings, these things at times make it near impossible to even come up to someone and talk. I know it’s all in my head, and I try to fight it, but more often than not, I come out unsuccessful, and looking for an excuse to avoid interaction, something that would seem genuine to those around me, like pretending to receive a phone call, blowing my nose, e.c.t. What bugs me the most is when I’m sitting by myself and somebody detaches themselves from their group of friends, to engage enthusiastic small talk with me. It’s not themselves that bug me, they are just being nice, but the fact that what led them to me was likely out of pity, makes me feel even worse about my situation, as I know they would rather be having a good time with their friends, and that it was a self sacrifice kind of deal.
The problem with being an introvert whilst having OCD and Generalized Anxiety is that introverts enjoy their alone time, and that’s especially true for me, I enjoy it too much. Uncontrollable thoughts can start to seep in, and with the lack of stimulation, they fester and strengthen, like a bacteria culture underneath a source of heat. These thoughts usually generate sadness, anger, confusion, anxiety, e.c.t. They stem from the things I overthink and over analyze (for example, social interaction) or from actual worries.
I don’t know what led me to write this wall of text, I guess I needed to ‘vent’ a bit somewhere, without feeling akward.
I have been tongue tied since I was born and because of it I have had a problem saying certain words or sounds and I have had this strange way of talking all my life… because of this at a very young age I have felt embarrassed and began to not talk to anyone that I don’t trust fully… in all my classes throughout school I just sat there and stayed silent… I even began to learn how to do some pen spinning tricks so that people wouldn’t think that I am just doing nothing. But because of me never talking to anyone from a young age I become very introverted… I only have 3 people that I talk to that I’m not related to. But even though I talk to my family I still try to get away from everyone… the majority of my time is spent in my room playing video games by myself… video games was like the same get away as the pen spinning was.. I could just be quiet by myself and nobody would question me because they for the most part know what I’m doing. I am in 11th grade right now… so I guess I shouldn’t be saying was because it’s all still happening right now… every day…. every hour….every minute…
Hi there! Thanks so much for sharing. Sorry to hear that you’ve had such a struggle. I can imagine that has been really hard in the classroom environments. It’s a big problem with large classrooms as well – when there are lots of people in there it can be isolating and you end up removing your desire to get involved. Don’t be hard on yourself. Just take it easy and seek opportunities to build your confidence in small ways one on one or in small groups. Feeling your pain. Hope it gets easier. Thanks again for sharing.
All the best, Andy
This was very helpful! Now to try and put some of these ideas to use 😐😣…. i can do it.
I always feel awkward being the most quiet one within a group of people I work with that are all extroverts! It’s stressful trying to get into the mix. My father always taught me to stay quiet, not to bring attention as they always worried what others thought of them and unfortunately that stuck to me. Always worried that I’ll say the wrong thing! i also tend to not show confidence in my self but because I was always taught that that was a sign of being a show off. I was supposed to always be extremely quiet and shy and extra humble :/
That’s really interesting that you were taught to stay quiet because the opposite is attention seeking and showing off. That puts a different spin on things – pulling you in all sorts of directions. It’s hard when that expectation is put on you from others, especially a family member. Do you find yourself pulling back when you want to speak out?
Ive known it all along. . . . Yet i only read about it today….. Its so encouraging to know im not the only one because i honestly thought my mind is broken or something… Being an introvert and also turning to alcohol has led me to discover new levels of rock bottoms every other day even after i quit alcohol 4 months ago. . . .i would realy appreciate some help!
I always feel awkward being the most quiet one within a group of people I work with that are all extroverts! It’s stressful trying to get into the mix. My father always taught me to stay quiet, not to bring attention as they always worried what others thought of them and unfortunately that stuck to me. Always worried that I’ll say the wrong thing!
Great to see you here! Sorry that you’ve struggled – discovering that part of who you are is a great first step for sure. What have you found hard in particular?
If I ever do it, I would let you know. Now I have your approval 🙂 Greetings from Barcelona
Glad to hear it! 🙂 It’s wonderful to meet you, Mun!
I love being an introvert, but there are certain times when I really wish I am not. Do you think there is a certain age when one should stop trying to be an extrovert? Because as much as I’d like to meet more people and make friends, I just feel too old and I think it’s hard as people my age already have their own sets of friends.
That was brilliant! I’ve been all my life trying to be extroverted and feeling guilty about my behaviour. But since two years ago I’m changing my perspective with the help of some books and blogs. I miss a blog like this for spanish speaking people. Every time I read one of your articles i feel like translating it for the spaniard introverts (we have an extroverted reputation as you konw) because here we stand so isolated.
Thanks for reading
Hello Mun! So glad you’re changing that perspective. It can be so damaging can’t it! If you fancy translating any of the articles I publish here into Spanish then feel absolutely free to. The more people we can encourage the better! Thanks so much for commenting 🙂