Do You Suffer From Introvert’s Paralysis? 9 Ways to Break Through


do you suffer from introvert paralysis

Have you ever frozen up in public? Scrambled for the right words in a meeting? Forgotten everything you were going to say in the blink of an eye? It’s frustrating, to say the least…literally!
You have suffered from what I call Introvert’s Paralysis. This is the sudden blankness or void that overcomes you at the exact wrong time.

What Is Introvert’s Paralysis?

Imagine yourself at a meeting table with twelve others. The leader is going around the table asking for a brief introduction from everyone…name, role, years in the company, and then the tricky one – one unique thing about you no one else would know. Your turn is coming as the wave moves around the room and you are scrambling to think of something to share…

You are at a cocktail reception with hundreds of strangers. You are determined to blend in, or perhaps you are told to do so as part of your job. So you approach a table of four and all eyes focus on you. It is your chance to speak…

You are giving a presentation at work (or church or some other organization). You are introduced and approach the middle of the stage. And your mind goes blank…

Related: 19 Signs You’re an Introvert in a Loud World

Who Suffers From Introvert’s Paralysis?


Well, introverts are the obvious and most common victims. Shy people also may deal with this phenomenon. Not everyone suffers from Introvert’s Paralysis, but if you are both shy and an introvert as I am, this devil may rear its ugly head at the most inopportune moments.

Why Do We Get This?

This disabling issue can be a form of social anxiety but it can be especially common with introverts. We get “in our heads” a lot. We build up these events in our minds from the moment the event is on our meticulous calendar. This anxiety swirling in our reflections often directs us to lean on another common strength…preparation.

But are we preparing in the right way?

What Are We Doing Wrong?

Our inclination is actually to over-prepare. We write out our speech, add PowerPoint slides, and hold curled note cards in our hands. We review what we will say when it is our turn for an introduction, often to the word. I know, I did this for years in my corporate job and in my awkward social life.

But we are building up a wall that is hard to scale.

Where Did This Wall Come From?

This paralysis is due to a build-up of tension and apprehension. It’s like your stomach tightening with every click-click-click as your rollercoaster climbs to the peak before the inevitable plunge. Once you reach the top, the tension goes away.

You may not love the rollercoaster, but you are likely to release your pent-up energy with a piercing shriek. You may even love the ride and will surely be proud you took the chance.

It’s the same with this paralysis. Once you break through the initial wall, the conversation will go smoother and your confidence and pride will grow.

How Do I Break Through This Wall And Overcome My Paralysis?

1. Know yourself.

It sounds simple but so important to know what your strengths and values are. Forget about your gaps and lean on your strengths. Do you like to learn? Are you thoughtful and empathetic? Are you creative? Are you curious? Are you a planner? Each of these can help in preparing for difficult events.

Related: 4 Types Of Introverts According To Jungian Psychology

2. Be authentic.

This can be a tough one, especially as an introvert surrounded by the extroverted social norm. But pretending to be someone else is transparent and painful. Be yourself and you will attract interest from those who like the real you.

3. Question.

Ask yourself in advance if you truly want and need to be at this event. Often we let our blind ambition and determination to push ourselves get the better of us. It is definitely good to stretch, but it’s best to find a happy medium closer to your comfort zone.

4. Relax.

Take a deep breath. Life will go on after the meeting, cocktail, or party. You are not likely the focus of all the attendees, so don’t put undue pressure on yourself. Plan some alone time afterward.

5. Envision success.

Instead of focusing on the anxiety or all the things that could go wrong, envision a successful event. You can do this well in advance of something, or in the moments leading up to your introduction at the table.

Support yourself with Positive Self Talk. Remind yourself you are interesting, curious, and capable. These words help, and they will drown out the negative thoughts that often take over.

6. Start early.

I’ve always found if I speak early in a meeting or show up early to a party and introduce myself to the few already there, my cluttered mind is distracted and the butterflies disappear.

7. Prepare your List of Four.

As a general exercise, these four lists are wall-breakers! Put them together, keep them handy, bring them with you, update them periodically:

a. Interesting points about you.

Unique trips, hobbies, talents, passions, dreams.

b. Current event topics.

Scan the news for interesting topics ranging from weather, sports, space program, or history. Avoid politics and religion.

c. Work items.

Depending on the audience, you can inject your elevator speech of what you do, three projects you are working on, the biggest challenges in your job, or information you are seeking from your counterpart.

d. Questions for strangers.

Know your audience. Ask about their hobbies or trips. Rather than ask “what do you do?”, ask “what projects they are working on, what attracted them to their job, or what the biggest challenge is in their job?”

Asking questions shows interest in others and also gives you a bit of time to prepare for your next line. You are never wholly responsible for maintaining the conversation. Finding a common topic will quickly relieve any nerves and you’ll be off and running.

8. Review your List of Four or speech outline.

Be prepared by reviewing your presentation or speech outline or your List of Four, but don’t write your speech out and don’t try to memorize it. You are much better off knowing the subject and letting it flow than trying to remember each line and stalling when you can’t.

Related: 7 Differences Between An Introverted And A Shy Person

9. Bring a cheat sheet.

Before a social event or conference, I often jot down items from one or more of my List of Four on a business card or index card and put them in my pocket. If I feel overwhelmed and hence forgetful, I can duck into a corner or restroom and quickly review my list before returning to the foray with a renewed approach.

With a bit of forethought and authenticity, we can shed our introvert’s paralysis and shift our approach at these social and work events from victim to victor!

Check out more insights and tips for introverts at and The Beyond Introversion YouTube Channel. Their most popular quizzes include The Introvert’s Superpower Quiz and The Introvert’s Leadership Quiz.  Both are quick, free, confidential, and provide personalized feedback to help you learn and grow. Steve hopes you’ll make Beyond Introversion a part of your Introversion journey.

Written By Steve Friedman
Originally Appeared In Beyond Introversion
What Introverts Paralysis pin
Introverts Paralysis pin
do you suffer from introvert paralysis pin

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Up Next

“Why Do I Hate Talking On The Phone?”: 7 Signs You Might Be Dealing With Phone Anxiety

Why Do I Hate Talking On The Phone? Signs Of Phone Anxiety

Do you ever find yourself rolling your eyes and letting out an exasperated sigh when your phone starts ringing or buzzing? Do you feel dread at the mere thought of having to make or receive a phone call and try to find out how to avoid talking on the phone? If you’ve ever said these words to yourself, “Why do I hate talking on the phone?” with frustration, you’re not alone.

There are many people out there who feel the same as you, and hate talking on the phone. And it turns out, there’s a very valid reason behind feeling this way, and that’s phone anxiety.

Today, we are going to talk about phone anxiety and the signs you hate talking on the phone, so that the frequency of you asking “why do I hate talking on the phone” lessens. So, are you ready to know more about this? Let’s get started, then.

Up Next

How To Make An Introvert Miss You? 9 Simple But Thoughtful Things You Can Do

How To Make An Introvert Miss You? Charming Things To Do

If you are curious about the mysterious world of introverts and are wondering how to make an introvert miss you, then you have come to the right place, my friend. Today we are going to talk about how to tug at an introvert’s heartstrings and make them want to be with you.

Picture this: you’re sitting at home, wondering how to capture the attention of that introverted friend or crush. You want them to miss you and yearn for your presence just like you do. So, today I’m going to be your wing woman in navigating the art of captivating introverts.

Ready to know more about how to make an introvert miss you and some of the profound signs an introvert misses you? Let’s get started, then.


Up Next

The 8 Most Introverted MBTI Personality Types: Ranked From Most To Least

Most Introverted MBTI Personality Types: Most To Least

The MBTI personality types have always intrigued people, especially introverted people (I know because I am one!). Today we are going to talk about the most introverted MBTI personality types, and better still, we are going to rank them as per their level of introversion.

Let’s explore the most introverted personality types in the MBTI universe, and find out the secrets of these introverted people who find peace within their own selves and who flourish in their quiet worlds. Let’s get started, shall we?


Up Next

Supercharge Your Social Energy: The Ultimate Guide On How To Recharge Social Battery

Pro Tips On How To Recharge Social Battery And Revitalize

Do you find yourself mentally and emotionally drained after being around people, even if you like them? Do you often feel the need to rejuvenate yourself by spending some time alone? This happens when your ‘social battery’ is running low. What is a social battery and how to recharge social battery? Let’s find out.

What does Social Battery Actually Mean?

The idea of social battery refers to an individual’s ability to engage socially

Up Next

Why Introvert Extrovert Couples Make Great Parents: 8 Compelling Reasons

Reasons Introvert Extrovert Couples Make Great Parents

You know why introvert extrovert couples make great parents? They’re the perfect combination of yin and yang. Introvert extrovert couples work really well because where one person lacks, the other makes up in spades. And this approach reflects in their parenting skills as well. They have different ways of looking at things, and they give the best of both worlds to their children.

In this article, we are going to explore some of the major reasons why introvert extrovert couples make a powerful team when it comes to the battle of parenting their children.

So, if you are someone who is in an introvert and extrov

Up Next

The Introvert’s Guide To Confidence: How To Be A Confident Introvert

How To Be A Confident Introvert: A Step Guide

A confident introvert? Is that even a thing? Aren’t introverts supposed to be shy and meek? Well, no! Introverts can be highly confident, it’s just that the confidence introverts have is very different from that of extroverts. While they may still be shy and socially awkward, introverts can still be immensely confident in their abilities and skills. 

If you are an introvert, I am sure you have often preferred the solitude of being alone in the corner of a room than seeking attention in a party or in large crowds. I am sure you have felt misunderstood as people confused your peaceful and reserved nature for shyness or lack of confidence.

This is the story of most introverts. But does that mean introverts aren’t typically confident? Can introverts be confident? And how to be a confident introvert? We are going to explore all that a

Up Next

5 Reasons Why Introverts Go To Bed Early While Extroverts Stay Up

Reasons Why Introverts Go To Bed Early (Even If They're Not Sleepy)

Do you ever feel like the best part of your day is slipping into those comfy sheets early? Well, you’re not alone! Explore the five reasons behind why introverts go to bed early.

I know I’m not alone on this but bedtime isn’t just sleep for introverts. It’s the escape from a world of complete chaos. And diving into an early night isn’t something we regret — it’s a sweet haven that we secretly enjoy.

Sleeping early is a foreign concept to extroverts. The idea of it is ridiculous. “Why would I ever want to sleep so early when there’s always so much stuff going on?” They know that sleep is necessary, but they don’t want to get any.