Four Things An Introvert has Trouble Dealing With

Introvert hiding in a sweater

I’ll be fine just here, thank you.

Many of us in the land of blog have declared ourselves to be introverts. These are a few of the ways that my own introversion manifests itself in my day-to-day life. Can you relate to any of these?

1) You’re in a small group situation. Finally you’ve not only managed to think of something to say (a feat in itself), but plucked up the courage to actually say it. You wait for a pause, start, and one of the following things happens:

  • Someone else starts talking at the exact same second that you start. You immediately stop talking and berate yourself severely for getting it wrong.
  •  You’re mid sentence and someone else in the group interrupts you. At this stage it’s not so easy for you to stop talking. You’d given yourself the pep talk – Come on, you can do it, just start talking, stop being silly, just do it!, you’d launched into it, and now you’re into the home straight; it actually takes a different kind of confidence to stop at this stage, and you don’t have that, so you just keep going, desperately hoping for a freak lightening storm to arrive and throw the power out.
  • You’re half way through your story when a couple of others in the group start up their own separate conversation. You’re faced with the harsh reality that you just weren’t interesting enough to hold the whole group’s attention (but you knew that anyway). There is now only one person listening to you, and clearly they’re only being polite. All you can do is stare intently at that one person, trying your hardest to act like you were only talking to that one person anyway, whilst racing through as fast as you can to get to the end of what you want to say.
Girl hiding her face in her hands

You can’t see me right?

2) You tell someone that you will email or text them, and they say “Or just give me a call”. Just? Just?! No no no no, emailing is a “just”, texting is a “just”, giving someone a call isn’t anywhere close to being a “just”.

3) Someone is blocking the way that you want to walk. You say “Excuse me”, but horror of horrors, they don’t hear you! You’re pretty convinced however that everyone else in a 5 mile radius DID hear you and they’re all wondering why you don’t just say “Excuse me” again, a bit louder (Ha, as if THAT’S an option). There’s only one thing for it, you must pull out your phone, tap the screen a few times while looking slightly concerned, and make a little “ooh” noise. This indicates that there is something on your phone alerting you to the fact that you no longer need to go in that direction, but instead need to turn back and go in a completely different direction. Keep looking at your phone while you execute the manoeuvre. No one will suspect a thing.

4) You’re in a large group situation, maybe a party, or the dreaded “Refreshments and networking” section of a conference, or as I like to call it, the “Refreshments and stand there awkwardly wondering how soon is too soon to go back and sit in the conference room ready for the next talk” section. You’re pleased that someone you’re reasonably comfortable with is talking to you. And then from nowhere they decide to throw you to the lions by doing one of the following things:

  • They say “Anyway, I’m just going to go and say hi to a couple of people”, and off they go, leaving you standing there wishing you possessed that superpower of being able to just go and say hi to a couple of people. If you’re at a conference, you’re lucky, you will probably have been given some papers, these papers are your new best friend; there is no limit to the number of times they can be read.
  • They say “Come on, I’m going to introduce you to a couple of people.” This has the exact same effect on you as if they’d said, “Come on, I’m going to take all your clothes off you and parade you around naked for a while.”

Introverts unite

Seriously, how do we get through the day?

———————————–

Image credits:
Girl in sweater –  Nguyen Hung Vu
Girl hiding face – Matthew Loberg
Introverts unite – Kappy V11

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84 responses to “Four Things An Introvert has Trouble Dealing With

  1. Yes yes YES! Spot on Vanessa!
    (This is why I love your blog) 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was going to reply but then I saw I was the first one…hmmm…maybe I should wait until someone else says something first.

    When I was a teenager my father gave me all of my elementary school report cards. My first grade report card said, “Karen is starting to talk to the other students.” Does that mean I’m shy? I didn’t know I was shy. I just thought I wasn’t popular. That was the day I realized I was an introvert.

    But not anymore! Years of teaching, dealing with parents and being in an executive role in every job I had forced me to talk to others, though it wasn’t always easy. I can do it when its called for but that doesn’t mean I like it. I hate having to mix and…what’s the word…oh yes, networking. I hate networking. I am awesome at one-on-one or even in a larger group, having to speak or give a seminar but don’t make me network…please!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, that awful thing of being described as shy when you’re a child, and they say it in front of you as if that’s going to help anything! It took me a long time to realise that my awkwardness was down to being an introvert. It somehow helps knowing it’s a thing!

      Sounds like you’ve learned to manage your way through it well, even if you still don’t like it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. See…it took me a while to decide if I should post now or wait and someone beat me to it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. OMG – #2!! And trying to get loved ones or acquaintances for that matter to understand that talking on the phone is just…ACK for me, is like explaining water to a cactus. lol – this list is so me. Great post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m not an introvert, so I spin it this way … This blog is a way for an introvert to be an extrovert in an introverted way.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m practically off the introversion scale so this is all 100%, totally, completely me. The meeting and conference scenarios in particular are so true. I’m forever berating myself for not finding the right moment to jump in to a discussion, and by the time I’m ready those pesky extroverts have already moved on. As for conferences, I cannot count the number of times I have read papers, checked the agenda or studiously got out my phone (I’m only updating Facebook and Twitter but nobody knows that, right?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is some comfort in knowing that we’re not alone though isn’t there! When we’re feeling like that, we imagine that we’re the only one, like in the conference situation, we don’t think that the others who are studying their papers, or doing lots of stuff on their phone are feeling awkward, we think they’ve just made a choice to do that!

      Like

  7. So funny. I’m not an introvert at all but I apologise for doing all those things to the introverts. I usually then realise and start saying sorry too. It’s awkward for everyone. Love the pix you have to illustrate this. I think the first one really ought to fly off the shelves – maybe call it a shysie? Nicola

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Nicola, and nice to see you 🙂 At least you’re aware if you’ve done thost things to an introvert, I usually feel that extroverts aren’t aware at all, but I’m sure that’s unfair! I love shysie, I think you might be on to something!

      Like

  8. I can relate. That’s why I carry an Introvert Bat (patent pending). Instead of the embarrassment of having to say “excuse me” to the path blocker, or deal with the awkwardness of an anecdote interrupter, just start swinging. In moments your path is clear and your anecdote can continue unabated. It’s a gem.

    And yours for only three payments of $19.99! Supplies are limited! Act now! (And, no, you don’t need to talk to anyone on the phone. Email is fine!)

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Vanessa I would not have guessed you to be an introvert from your writing. I am an extreme extrovert and I have spent a lot of time working on being more sensitive to the introverted. Some of the situations you describe I cringe thinking, ” Oh please I hope I never did that to someone.” Gulp!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I laughed myself silly with this post! Because every one of the scenarios rings a bell. Over the years (many!), I have taught myself to act otherwise in most situations. But the feelings are still there and very prominent so it’s a struggle to overcome them. One of the things I hate most is being interrupted. It’s the mark of an extremely self-centered person who isn’t listening to you anyway. It has nothing to do with whether what you’re saying is interesting or not, it’s that they don’t even have the self-control to wait until you’ve finished to tell their own much more important and interesting story! Sometimes I’ll say, “Excuse me?”, with a cold look until they (sometimes) realize they’ve been rude; at times, I’ve even said, “Excuse me, I’m still talking”. I’d say the worst for me is being in large groups, as you describe, even if I know 99% of them and they aren’t strangers! What helps me is having realized that almost everyone else there feels exactly the same way, and are trying as hard as you are to conceal it. So in those situations I force myself to make the effort to speak first and engage, and you can often almost see the look of relief on their faces.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ah yes, we kind of learn to manage it over the years, it sounds like you’re much further ahead than me with that though! Yes, interrupting is just rude! I’m sure extroverts don’t like being interrupted either, but maybe they don’t feel quite so mortified by it as we do! It definitely helps in group situations if you realise that others are feeling the same way.

      Like

  11. I avoid social gatherings – one reason I’ll never do well at live promotion of my books. I am the worst small-talker in the world. I can never think of a thing to say. It doesn’t go over very well to approach a group, break into another’s conversation, and say, “So what do you think of intelligent termites?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m no good at small talk either, I see people who don’t really know each other just chatting away, and I wonder what they find to talk about, I can never think of anything either! Or I start rambling on incessantly about nothing in a slightly nervous manic way!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, we have that in common! Wonder what you and I would talk about if we ever met each other in the flesh! I guess we’d need Neil there so he and I could argue over the existence of things spiritual!

        Like

  12. You know I can relate! I learned long ago not to let #4 happen anymore though. I always bring reading material or my iPad to a conference. During the breaks, I stand up at the side of the room (because I can’t take sitting anymore) and get caught up on my journal reading or blog reading or whatever. And I’m not alone. There are plenty of other introverts doing the same thing. Now, parties on the other hand are a different thing. That’s why I so rarely attend them…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This is me in every way. I’m the wallflower at every gathering. I can’t even watch some of the debate type programs any more. When they talk over each other I have to tune out.

    Maybe I should go out of my way to write an extroverted character. Maybe I could learn something.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes, maybe this is why I get so annoyed when I listen to political type interviews on the radio, and the interviewer keeps interrupting the interviewee, or like you say, others are talking over each other – I didn’t consider that one of the reasons I hate that is because of my introvert traits!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh, hell yeah! At least you have ONE person still listening to you talk. I don’t even get that most times. I was just thinking this week how I’m so introverted, I could really become a recluse in my old age (Not far off…) I guess when it comes down to it, I don’t like being around groups of people because I get so drained so quickly with all the energies. But I love talking one-on-one to people with real in-depth convos, just none of this bullshit small talk crap. This is why I can’t function working in an office setting, it panics me to no end. I need my mental space, dammit!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I can cope with so much, but then I really need time on my own to recharge. My idea of a nightmare weekend is having a social engagement on Saturday AND Sunday. I can’t work out whether the blog world has a higher percentage of introverts than the real world, like maybe we’re drawn to that as an outlet, or whether it’s just that we’re more willing to admit it in writing!

      Like

  15. Wow! You caught all the awkward moments so perfectly! Are you ME? Ha ha. I love the last bit–introverts unite–separately in your own homes. Hee hee.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I am so sorry to say that I can relate to all of this. Particularly the reading the papers over and over again. Where can i order one of those giant pink socks?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. You blew it with the mobile phone … anyone who can act that out in public, like an actress, can’t be introvert – there’s no way I could get my phone out and PRETEND to have received a message, or whatever .. but then you’re an actress so it comes naturally to you.

    I was painfully shy when I was a kid, and now that I’m an out and out extrovert, and the life and soul of the party (isn’t lying easy when you’re just typing!), but I still feel painfully awkward when I tell someone how I used to be so shy, it’s like admitting to being the culprit of some dreadful social faux pas.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. So.Painfully.True. You totally nailed it. Yes – how do we get through the day?????? And keep going back for more….

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Well here’s the thing, I know exactly what you mean. I try to convince myself that I can “work a room” with the best of them, but its just not true. I don’t want to admit that I’m anywhere close to introverted, all the “tests” say I’m not, but I can’t strike up a conversation with a perfect stranger to save my life. But once, I do get started, look out. You can’t shut me up. That’s when they say “Anyway, I’m just going to go and say hi to a couple of people”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah well, maybe you’re a good mixture of both. A true introvert would never try to convince themselves that they can work a room with the best of them! Although…I guess there must be such thing as a delusional introvert 😉

      Like

  20. If someone starts talking at the exact same second that you start, stomp on their foot really, really hard. Then you’ll have the floor. Come to think of it…that can solve ANY of the dilemmas you mention here.

    You’re welcome!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello you 😉 (You know why I’m winking!)

      Foot stomping you say? My Dad says that when I was a kid, if I didn’t get my own way about something I’d lie on the floor on my stomach and beat my fists on the ground, maybe I could try that?

      Like

  21. I’m convinced texting was invented by an introvert. There was this whole phone thing that the extroverts loved and one little introvert said “hang on a minute, this may be a great way for me to stop talking to people.” That love that introvert!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’re right! Although thinking about it, I believe most techy development type people are introverts, so it all makes sense – computers, the internet, they all allow us to communicate and express ourselves without having to directly talk to anyone!

      Like

  22. You introverts have it tough. As an extrovert, I’ve got my own set of issues, and as an exhibitionist extrovert, I’ll write all about them for all the world to see.
    On a side note, it appears from your pictures that introverts are usually clad in some sort of sweaters.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. As an extrovert, I am constantly (mentally) beating myself up for blurting and interrupting when someone else who normally says less than me finally opens up to speak. That is my curse. All thoughts and considerations come AFTER I have already spoken. I think you’re hilarious, though, and if I knew you in real life, I would work very hard to hold my tongue a little so that you could get some of your wit out for all to enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. And I thought I was the only one. I think we need to start a club. But then, that’s what extroverts would do, isn’t it? Maybe we could start a club that “just” texts or emails?

    I’m going to a conference this coming week. I’m already terrified.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. You’re not introvert – you’re normal, we’re all a bit like that!
    It is extroverts who are the abnormal ones. I have an old friend who practically salivates at the prospect of a business cocktail party…his eyes light up, he works the room, introducing himself to one and all, charming everybody and comes away triumphant with a whole lot of new best friends —- and then he follows up on them. Its extraordinary to watch him in action. He is always introducing people to each other and then gliding away leaving both people in tongue-tied misery, wondering how to extricate themselves from the whole ghastly experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well I didn’t say introversion wasn’t normal 🙂 I think like anyting, there are scales, and those of us that declare ourselves as introverts are probably further up the introversion scale, and your friend there is high up on the extrovert scale! There are some other commenters on here who have declared themselves as extroverts and so can’t really relate to what what I’ve written, other than realising that they’ve done that to other people at times! As I understand it, one of the main definiting characteristics of introverts vs extroverts, is that introverts get their energy from spending time alone to recharge, whereas extroverts get their recharging from spending time with other people.

      Like

  26. Oh this is all so familiar. I can do presentations, trainings, speeches, sales – anything on stage or with a prop…but all this other chit chatty stuff others do effortlessly…….running far far away…..

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Me.
    Not you. You’re an actor. You get up on stage/in front of a camera and be extrovert… ive. I still avoid talking during team meetings. Ridiculous. How did I get where I am?

    Liked by 1 person

  28. It’s taken this introvert this long to think of a response. 😉

    Yes, you’ve nailed those situations perfectly! It’s as if you asked me to described how I would feel in them, and I told you these things, and then you wrote them up in a far more entertaining way than I ever could. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  29. They (that group of mysterious people we continuously refer to) say writers have to be introverts, since we spend much time alone. I had thought I was an extrovert but now am thinking turtlenecks are my best accessory.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. A lot of bloggers DO say they’re introverts. I wonder if they are drawn to the medium because of the anonymity. I also wonder if many perceive themselves in a way that others would not. Interesting.

    That part about starting a story and having others turn away is so true and so awkward. Now what. Power through? Hold onto the remaining person’s arm so they won’t leave? Scream at the top of your lungs, “I’m TRYING to tell a story and it’s really funny, so all of you SHUT UP AND LISTEN!!!” That shouldn’t pose any problems for an introvert.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well blogging means we don’t have to have that direct personal interaction that’s so scary! In many real life situations I can be pretty outgoing and people might be surprised if I said I was an introvert, but I haven’t quite figured out what the magic formula is that can make me feel more confident! I definitely consider myself more introverted than not, although of course we’re all a mix. Hello? Peg? Are you still listening?! I’M TALKING TO YOU!

      Like

  31. So me! So me! Especially the part where I finally start to talk to a small group of people, and then 2 or more either leave or start their own conversation. It happened enough times I got to the point I decided they were simply rude people, just so I could get through the rest of the night. If I started overanalyzing my lack of wit and charm, I’d never step out of the house again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well yes indeed, they are very rude, when the tables are turned I’m always that one person who is still listening, and I’m sure you are too, and we do it whether we’re interested in what the person has to say or not, because we’re not rude! So yes, it’s all just rudeness, nothing to do with us lacking wit and charm 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Oh, I am so with you here. Funny how extroverted we can sound in our writing, but in person, get me outta there. I kinda like Mike’s idea of the bat, but I’m too introverted for that. Best scenario – I skip any group setting at all. But usually not possible (And I totally agree with you re e-mail vs phone call. JUST LET ME WRITE IT TO YOU, I don’t want to have to TALK for god’s sake). Anyway, the only time I escape the snares of introversion is when I teach creative writing. Suddenly, I’m in charge of a group of people who (a) are probably just as introverted as me and (b) are scared out of their mind about what I’m going to make them do in class, and I’m in control: confident, clear, and courageous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it’s funny how we can become less introverted when we’re with people who seem more introverted than us, I don’t just mean we are less introverted by comparison to them, but that we literally grow in confidence and lose some of that introversion. That must be what it’s like for extroverts, if they’re extreme extroverts anyway, they must feel like superhumans when in a group setting with us introverts – no wonder we can end up feeling so overwhelmed by it all!

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Your post is so interesting. I can see myself in your descriptions and not. Are there people being in between?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I did a bit of research about this after I wrote the post, and it seems it’s like one big scale that goes from extremely extroverted at one end to extremely introverted at the other, so people can be anywhere on the scale, including in the middle, and people can change as well, sometimes being more introverted and sometimes more extroverted.

      Like

  34. Oh, I see. It’s good to learn more about the other end of the spectrum, but some of this can be true, at least to a certain extent, for the “fairly” extroverted people too at times. Great post!

    Like

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