“Don’t think of introversion as something that needs to be cured…Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to.” Susan Cain
Navigating a very social, overstimulating world as an introvert comes with many seemingly insurmountable challenges, and it can often feel nearly impossible to cope with a world that seems to never stop talking. Introverts and extroverts simply have different brains that react to stimuli in virtually opposite ways; extroverts respond more strongly to external events, while introverts gain their energy from solitary activities.
Introverts have been mislabeled and misunderstood for quite some time, often viewed as rude, antisocial, unfeeling, and uninterested. However, introverts simply don’t see the need to ruin the beauty of silence unless their words will truly make a difference. They relish in their quiet time, and would rather not pollute the silence with useless chatter. Introverts DO enjoy connecting with others, just in a more laid-back, less stressful environment than most social situations offer.
If you identify as an introvert, you probably can relate to the following places that most introverts avoid:
1. Parties and large social events
More than anything, this particular social event makes introverts run for the hills. Parties usually mean lots of people, an abundance of noise, and for the most part, a lack of meaningful, stimulating conversation. If you do catch an introvert at a party, they likely will be sitting outside with a small group of friends, chatting quietly about something other than the party they’re at.
2. Going to a social event where they don’t know anyone
This is another area where introverts and extroverts differ; an extrovert would do totally fine going to a place where no one knows them, but an introvert will quickly retreat into his or her shell. An introvert needs to feel comfortable first before opening up to new people, and being thrown into a new situation before getting their toes wet just doesn’t fall in line with the characteristics of an introvert.
You’ll probably find them at the punch table, trying to find a quiet place to sit amongst the crowd.
3. Job interviews and meetings
Introverts can’t come up with things to say on the fly, which is why job interviews are particularly difficult for those with an introvert personality. No matter how much they prepare, they still might stumble over some words or just feel awkward about the whole thing in general. Furthermore, they don’t like having the spotlight on them, so getting to brag about their successes and strengths for a solid thirty minutes or so just doesn’t appeal to them.
At meetings, they also have to have something prepared beforehand, rather than just being called on spontaneously. Quiet introverts would rather just listen to others’ ideas rather than input their own opinions.
4. Family functions and reunions
Yet another thing that introverts can’t stand is a big gathering of family members they have, for the most part, never met before who they know nothing about. They know that family reunions promise forced conversations and awkward laughs about childhood stories and memories, and introverts would rather just sit under a tree with a good book and enjoy the day in peace. An introvert can easily adapt to a small gathering with family members they grew up with and know well, but dealing with many new faces all at once can quickly overwhelm an introvert.
5. First dates
First dates can even seem awkward and nerve-wracking to extroverts, much less those more prone to introversion. However, sometimes a first date might find an introvert’s struggle with words endearing, which can make the introvert feel much more at ease. Even if the two know each other fairly well before the date, the whole idea of impressing someone and keeping the conversation flowing can greatly intimidate an introvert.
6. Places that are jam packed with people (concerts, elevators, etc)
Introverts hate places that have people packed in its walls like sardines, not only because of the amount of people, but also due to the noise factor. One of the traits of an introvert is avoiding overly noisy or crowded places, so navigating such an environment can be challenging for an introvert.
In an elevator, an introvert will nervously glance at the numbers to see how far it is until their stop. They also will scoot as far away from others as possible to maintain their space. At a concert, introverts prefer a smaller venue over a major show.
7. Going to a busy place like a mall or supermarket
Another social situation that introverts can’t stand is somewhere bright, loud, and swarming with people, such as a mall or supermarket. The stimuli simply overwhelms their senses, and they find it hard to concentrate on the task at hand with so much interfering with their train of thought.
8. Company dinners
Introverts may have one or two close friends at their place of employment, but getting together with the entire company for dinner can make them break out in a nervous sweat. Especially if they have to give a speech or stand up in front of everyone to accept an award or promotion. However, this is one of the least intimidating social situations, since they will likely know many people at the gathering.
9. Extremely loud places
You can count an introvert out of any overly noisy place, because they get too easily buried beneath all the chatter. They have a hard time processing all the noise at once, while an extrovert thrives on this kind of stimulation.
10. Blind dates
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First dates are intimidating enough, but a blind date? Not a chance. If they don’t click with the person, that just makes for an even more awkward time for an introvert, as they search to find any sort of common ground. Introversion and blind dates really don’t even belong in the same sentence, because they normally won’t go for such a wild idea.