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12 Reasons You Should Stop Feeling Guilty Of Being An Introvert

12 Reasons You Should Stop Feeling Guilty Of Being An Introvert

When you’re an introvert, it’s challenging to live in a world where extroverts set the social standards. I know this first hand because I have an introverted personality. It’s not that I don’t like people. On the contrary, I love to socialize and to hang out with friends and family, but for an introvert it can be mentally and physically draining.

If you’re an introvert, you might analyze and judge your actions because you feel as if you don’t fit into the same mold as extroverts. For example, in the past I’ve felt guilty about my actions, such as avoiding eye contact, escaping small talk or screening calls. I worry that I’m offending others or that I’m perceived as being socially awkward. However, when I learned that we as introverts have unique qualities that are just different from extroverts, I began to accept my ways of interacting with others.

If you’re like me and you occasionally feel guilty about your actions from your introverted personality traits, here are a few things you should know about introverts that make us unique, extraordinary and purely awesome people.

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1. We might think we’re outsiders, but up to 50% of people are introverts.

Nobody wants to feel like an outsider. Introverts like spending time alone, but we don’t want to feel alone in our world. It’s comforting to know that up to 50% of the United States population are introverts. Thus, we as introverts are in good company. Many of the most successful entrepreneurs, actors and politicians are introverts including Mark Zuckerberg, Meryl Streep and Hillary Clinton. Hence, it’s not necessary to be an extrovert to excel in fields that are typically perceived as only suitable for those with outgoing personalities.

2. While we might be quiet, it doesn’t mean we’re not great listeners.

Introverts are phenomenal listeners. In my experience, colleagues, friends and family members often approach me to express their feelings and to request assistance. Introverts carefully examine situations before speaking. When we’re ready to speak, we’ve considered all the views and alternatives. Our responses might not be lengthy, but they’re right on point. Because we vigilantly assess what’s being said and study non-verbal cues before expressing our views, we’re solid partners when solving problems, generating creative ideas, making plans and working in teams.

3. We don’t always do the happy dance, but we’re genuinely happy and appreciative.

I have an extroverted friend who will bust out in a happy dance just from hearing a favorite song. Everyone knows when she’s feeling joy because she openly demonstrates it. We as introverts are not as gregarious when we’re happy. We might even appear ungrateful and this can make us feel guilty. Understand that we have the same deep feelings of joy and appreciation of extroverts. However, we’re more reserved and show our feelings within the boundaries of our comfort zones.

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4. Just because we don’t tell stories at parties, it doesn’t mean we can’t script an epic tale.

The author, John Green is quoted as saying, “Writing is something you do alone. It’s a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don’t want to make eye contact while doing it.”

Green nailed it. Writing requires quiet, solitary surroundings, such as musty libraries and closed office spaces where we can conjure up deep thoughts and reflect intensely. Introverts are excellent storytellers, but we tell our stories through writing. Brilliant writers such as Edgar Allan Poe and William Faulkner were introverts and in some cases were considered reclusive, but it never stopped them from being thought-provoking storytellers.

5. Even though we avoid phone calls, it doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy conversations.

For introverts, making and receiving calls requires a lot of energy. Many of us screen our calls, even from friends and family, and we feel guilty about it. This action results from our need to conjure up the energy to have a conversation, especially when we’re over-stimulated from a busy day. If you can relate, accept that you just need some downtime to prepare for your calls. Understand that once you’ve mustered up enough energy, you’ll be happy to spend the time conversing.

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6. We might spend time alone, but it’s not because we don’t have mind-blowing relationships.

What’s fantastic about being an introvert is we’re very comfortable spending time alone. In my own personal experience, solitude helps me to be more self-aware. Introverts can form terrific relationships because our frequent introspection supports our ability to form an accurate perception of our character, feelings and behaviors. This self-awareness helps us understand how our behaviors affect others and we become less guarded. In turn, this knowledge and understanding feeds and grows our relationships.

7. While we tend to be less social in person, we rock it online.

Introverts can have serious swagger online. Whether it’s on social media, blogging, gaming, online dating, email or other online outlets, we’re typically comfortable when using these channels. It’s just easier to be sociable online than it is face-to-face. Why? These interactions are less draining to introverts because non-verbal communication is detached, we have more time to process our thoughts and we can write our views instead of verbalizing them. In fact, introverts can outshine their extroverted counterparts online because of these dynamics.

8. We might be guilty of not joining the company softball team, but it doesn’t mean we’re not athletes.

As an introvert, when someone mentions bowling I want to hide in a corner. Many introverts tend to shy away from high-energy team sports, such as rugby, softball, basketball or even bowling. While we might not enjoy team sports, many introverts are excellent athletes. We have outstanding hand-eye coordination and we enjoy complexity. Golf, track, cycling, archery and tennis are ideal for introverts. The lesson? Stop feeling guilty about declining the company team invitation, and pursue sports that suit your introverted personality.

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9. You might think we’re snobs, but we’re actually just happy being in our bubble.

Many times in my life I’ve felt guilty about being labeled as a snob or stuck-up because I’m not the most social person. However, after people get to know me, they understand that I’m just comfortable in my own bubble. As it might be more difficult to get introverts to open up, once you pop our bubbles, look out! We’ll share our deepest thoughts, tell jokes and talk up a storm. Introverts are very loyal so you might even find a best friend for life.

10. If we decline your invitation, it’s just because we need to recharge.

The energy of an introvert is comparable to our cell phone batteries. After a day of email, texting and talking our battery simply dies. We need time alone to meditate, exercise, be with nature or just think. If you’re an introvert and you feel guilty about declining an invitation, understand that you’re doing the right thing. Accept that being overstimulated can take a toll on your mind and body. If you need the time to recharge, take it.

11. We avoid big music festivals, but it doesn’t mean we don’t like concerts.

Austin, Texas is a mecca for live music and the Austin City Limits music festival is one of the most exciting music festivals in the world. When I lived in Austin, I felt guilty because I only attended this festival one time. Introverts like me don’t like crowds and attending a festival with 450,000 people is overwhelming. I learned to accept this personality trait and I no longer feel guilty about it. When I attend concerts, I don’t purchase general admission tickets. I splurge on VIP or seats up front where I know the crowd will be controlled so I can make an easy escape if I get overwhelmed.

12. Our circle of friends is small, but our relationships are meaningful.

As an introvert, do you ever feel guilty that you don’t have a large number of Facebook friends? The reason for this is introverts focus on fewer, more meaningful friendships, rather that hoarding shallow ones. Stockpiling friends doesn’t make us better and more interesting. Thus, being popular is not always something for which we need to strive. What’s important is we have a few friends that we can call at any time of night or day and get help if the need ever arises.

Featured photo credit: 162/Mitya Ku via flickr.com

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Marilyn Rogers

Marketing Consultant | Content Strategist | Freelance Writer

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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