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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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