The Plight of the Introvert

Introversion should not be confused with shyness. Two different concepts. One can identify as a loner yet feel quite secure interacting with others both in familiar and novel environments. Shy folks feel insecure in social settings. They feel inadequate—like they are lacking the necessary skills to navigate and converse successfully. Sadly many of them are extroverted—desiring to be a part of the group. But fear restricts their agency. Whereas introverts never want to join the group. They simply aren't joiners. They don't get the energy of the crowd—the thrill of meeting and greeting. They prefer to be alone with their own thoughts and noises. Others are a distraction, keeping them from remaining comfy in their heads. Of course the introvert will occasionally wander outside themselves for external inspiration and stimulation. They may even go to a party. But oftentimes you will witness them wandering off by themselves. Don't be alarmed. This is them being themselves—doing what feels natural and necessary. Coping is having a clear escape route—both physically and mentally. If they need to leave the setting it is about self-preservation not snubbing. Though the two aren't necessarily mutually exclusive.

Sounds brutal. I know. But it is true. And the truth can hurt... both the introvert and the folks who love them. There is a sense of shame the introvert experiences for not fitting in with the crowd and guilt for being greedy with one's time and presence. It's not easy to understand and accept the introvert for who she is and how she acts. It is not easy being the introvert who feels misunderstood like she is speaking a language that cannot be understood by extroverts.

I can picture a small group of extroverts discussing introversion over a cup of coffee or glass of wine. Each is speaking and listening—sharing their thoughts, enjoying the banter, the community. Funny, you'll never see introverts discussing introversion with other introverts in a bar or coffee shop. Introverts keep these ideas to themselves. What is the point of sharing them? They aren't up for debate. Case closed.


I am not shy but I am very introverted. Drives my family crazy. My mom and son are extroverted. They show and receive love by demonstration: socializing with loved ones. I show it by thinking about them and sharing these thoughts via text or quick phone chat. And by spending planned, quality time with them. It is a real juggling act for me: time alone vs time together. Sometimes the guilt is far worse than just showing up for a few hours.
I can totally relate, especially to the guilt part, and I never stopped to think about whether I'm introverted or was only when a family member said, "oh, you're more of an introverted type." That really bugged me. Because it felt like it was said as a judgement by someone who is completely extroverted and therefore does not understand the need for alone time. As if there's something wrong with doing your own thing and living life as you see fit. I was never a joiner, always feeling like my own person and complete within that sphere.
Thanks for sharing your experience Violeta.

Here are some fun sayings: It's an extroverted world. Extroverted privilege.

I think the latter one explains why the extroverts don't understand the challenges we face, as introverts, in extroverted societies. I think we would like Japan. Silence is valued there.
I’m so far into the introvert end of the spectrum I can barely see socializing from here!

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