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10 Things That Introverts Have The Hardest Time With

10 Things That Introverts Have The Hardest Time With

The fact that I’m writing this from the confines of my bedroom with only my cat around to distract me should be enough to convince you that I’m an authority on introversion. This is not to say that I avoid people at all costs, or am some sort of misanthrope. I definitely enjoy the company of good friends and my family. However, there are many conventions of modern society that introverts just don’t buy into, including the following activities listed below.

1. They don’t enjoy always being around people

I never really understood the idea of “happy hour.” I just spent nine hours of my day with a group of people at work, and I’m supposed to want to spend more time with them when we get out? I know, it’s a good time to let it all hang out; but really, all I want to do when that 5 o’clock bell comes around is go home and stare at the wall for ten minutes before having to cook, wash dishes, and clean up before settling in for the night. Social gatherings can definitely be fun, but not when they’re forced upon you.

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2. They don’t enjoy small talk

“How about this weather?” “Looks like someone did some grocery shopping!” “This elevator’s always so slow.” Honestly, there has never been a time when something like this was said to me that ended with a meaningful connection. I get that it’s seen as friendly to chit-chat while waiting for a bus, but unless it’s going to end with a new-found friendship or relationship, it’s really just not worth the effort. Now, if I’m wearing a shirt featuring an obscure band or something, by all means approach me since we obviously have something in common, and might hit it off. However, what connection is ever going to be forged based on the fact that we both absolutely hate rain?

3. They don’t enjoy crowds

I love music, and I love going to shows. However, I absolutely dread being in the middle of a pack of shouting (possibly drunk) twenty-somethings when my favorite band is on stage. I came to hear them, not to hear them be drowned out by a group of slurring college students. The same goes for the crowd before the doors open. Since you’re cramped up with a bunch of strangers, it will inevitably lead to small talk. As an introvert, there’s not much worse than being stuck in the middle of a sweaty group of strangers and having to feign interest in a menial conversation that will end up going nowhere.

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4. They don’t enjoy phone conversations

I’ll admit, I’m the worst at talking on the phone. However, it’s because I enjoy listening to what others have to say, and rarely put my two cents in. In person, at least the other person has physical feedback that I’m listening and understanding what their saying, but on the phone, there’s only silence from my end. Of course, there’s also a fair amount of small talk, but I’m sure you’re getting tired of hearing about how much introverts hate that. Texting and email are great boons to introverts because they allow messages to be sent and received without any extraneous chitchat.

5. They don’t enjoy keeping in touch just to keep in touch

Visiting my hometown is great. I get to see old friends, spend time with my family who I haven’t seen in months, and catch up on everyone’s life. But when someone from my past who I honestly don’t miss all that much finds out I’m home, I feel obligated to meet up with them for an hour of “So how’ve you been?” I hate to say it, but it’s absolutely dreadful. The worst is when it’s obvious the other person wants to be there even less than I do, but of course they put on the false-friend face and carry on as if the fact that we went to the same high school means we have some sort of life-long bond.

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6. They don’t enjoy icebreaker activities

Here’s another situation in which you’re forced into meeting and interacting with people. Icebreaker activities in college or on the job are almost exclusively dreaded, even by the most outgoing people. Yes, you do get the chance to find out more about the people you’ll be spending a lot of your time with, but it’s done in such a falsified way that no real relationships ever come of it. Relationships that grow organically are much more meaningful than ones that are forced through silly games meant for 8-year-olds being played by graduate students.

7. They don’t like people making noise just to break silence

Silence really is golden. Like I said, I’m writing this in my apartment, with no outside interference to interrupt me (except that buzz-saw that erupted the second I started this part of the article). I realize when I was living with my parents, I never got anything done because there was always some noise going on in the background. I don’t mean people talking; that’s not something I would complain about. However, leaving the TV on, or putting on a song and then walking away from the computer: that I can’t stand. Embrace the silence once in a while. You’ll get a lot more done.

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8. They don’t like people talking while they’re trying to focus

Okay, I hate to shout her out, but my mom is guilty of this one for sure. I used to test her out with it. I’d be sitting quietly on the couch, and she wouldn’t say a word. Then I’d pick up a book, and within two pages she’d find something to talk to me about. Now, talking to my mother is definitely more important than reading a book, so I never complained. However, when complete strangers or co-workers interrupt you while you’re very obviously focused on a task, that is inexcusable. I’m not ignoring you, but I’m not stopping what I’m being paid to do to talk to you about the game last night.

9. They don’t like people thinking they’re conceited

This goes along with the last entry. Just because introverts don’t feel the need to talk about every little thing doesn’t mean they think they’re any better than you. In fact, it’s usually quite the opposite. Since introverts don’t love small talk, they often aren’t very good at it, and feel awkward when they get into these situations. I sometimes wish I could thrive off human interaction the way others seem to do, but it’s simply not my personality. It really does amaze me that some people can act with people they just met in the same way that I do with my closest of friends. Just because I’m not incredibly outward about my feelings doesn’t mean I’m devoid of them, either.

10. They don’t enjoy talking about themselves

Introverts love to listen. They want to learn as much about the world as possible. On that same token, they really do not like talking about themselves. During job interviews, my most hated question is, “What’s your best feature?” Even though I know the point of a job interview is to sell myself, I don’t want to come off as conceited (see above), and I certainly know that I’m no better than anyone else. This is because I’ve spent my entire life listening to others and I understand just how much everyone else knows. Perhaps the toughest part of being an introvert is not so much talking about yourself, but rather wishing you were better at talking about yourself.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

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Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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