Small talk. Social gatherings. Group projects that require getting lots of heads together. If you’re an introvert, all of these situations will likely strike fear into your heart.
If you’re a quiet and reserved individual by nature, it’s hard to remain true to yourself in a world that celebrates and rewards extroverted behaviour.
The pressure to chat, be funny and get along with everyone can be extra draining on you, and things that excite and stimulate overly confident people leave you feeling anxious, awkward and ready to be marooned on a desert island ASAP.
Here are just a few struggles that introverts like you will probably be able to relate to…
1. You dread hearing the phrase, ‘Let’s each introduce ourselves’: Nothing makes your blood run cold like a work meeting that starts with a round of awkward introductions. Your hands start to sweat, your face goes beetroot red and is it just us, or is your voice trembling with fear?
Even worse is when you’re required to throw in an ‘interesting fact’ about yourself on the spot. Please excuse us while we pretend to go to the bathroom and make a run for the nearest exit.
2. And you detest icebreakers: Management always think that icebreakers are a fun way to help everyone get acquainted, but you just feel overwhelmed and sick to your stomach at the mere mention of the word.
While everyone else is laughing, joking and enjoying a round of games, you spend the entire morning mentally playing out all the catastrophic ways that being the centre of attention could go horribly wrong. Dear managers of the world, please stop this madness immediately.
3. Getting partnered up with a stranger in a gym class is super awks: You should really whoop and clap when they’re completing a really hard set of push ups, or at least introduce yourself, but you feel much more comfortable standing there in stony silence until they’re finished.
4. Public speaking and presentations are just a no-go: You will literally do anything to avoid having to talk in front of an audience. If there’s a work presentation coming up, you’ll phone in sick for it. If you’re required to give some feedback in a meeting, you’ll mysteriously have nothing to report.
Oh, and your friends know full well never to ask you to make a speech at their wedding.
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5. Flirting is impossible: While others can make ‘flirty banter’ with ease, your chosen love language is awkward silence, grunted one word answers or – even worse – garbled, fast-talking nonsense that leaves you cringing for days afterwards.
If it was up to you, flirting would only involve eye contact – and limited amounts of that, if possible.
6. You hate when people try to widen your social circle: The funny thing about introverts is that they’re often confident with their closest friends. Behind closed doors, you’re the funniest person in the room, but as soon as someone from your friendship group brings someone new into the gang, you clam up and retreat back into your shell.
7. People mistake your shyness for rudeness: One of the most annoying things about being an introvert is that people think you’re just plain rude. We swear we’re not trying to come across as unapproachable, we’re just struggling to find a pleasant way to arrange our face.
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8. The idea of a night out leaves you cold: Talking to strangers, trying to hear people over loud music, dancing… during lockdown, extroverts longed for all of this to happen again. To you, nothing sounds worse. We’ll take a solitary evening watching Netflix over a nightclub any day.
9. There’s nothing worse than the phone ringing at work: Rationally, you know it can’t physically hurt you to pick up the phone, but you’re going to let it ring out anyway… because having to speak to a stranger is bad; having to do it while the rest of the office listens in is too much to handle.
10. You’re a lot more confident on the internet: People are super shocked when they stumble across your Instagram profile. When you’re online, you seem to be able to express your opinions and share your creative side in a way that you’d otherwise struggle to do in real life.
Selfies, chatty vlogs, posy travel pictures – your friends can hardly believe how self-assured the digital version of you actually is, let alone the thousands of followers you’ve managed to amass.
Now, if only we could be that confident in real life…
Photo Credit: Getty