When it comes to introverts, certain, seemingly normal, daily experiences can make them feel overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed. Here are a few worst experiences for an introvert.
Introverts are different
Introverts experience life very differently from an extrovert. They often face difficulty in doing certain mundane activities and interactions that appear normal to most others. In fact a 2011 study found that introverts process social stimuli differently from extraverts. As they greatly enjoy being on their own and living in their personal space, an introvert often feels stressed out when that is disrupted. Although one-third to half the American population are introverts, they are still greatly misunderstood.
So today we are going to dig deep and share some of the worst experiences for introverts that make them stressed out.
Read also: 11 Honest Ways To Care For Your Introvert
7 things that make an introvert feel stressed
Here 7 anxiety-inducing experiences that can make any introvert feel uncomfortable and stressed out:
1. Social gatherings with strangers
Although introverts are not popular for their love for parties, they do enjoy attending small gatherings with their friends and family. Unlike an extrovert who loves to meet new people, introverts prefer more personal and intimate social activities. So when they attend a party thinking it will be only close friends and find out that the party is full of strangers, they get rightly stressed out. Although introverts don’t hate people, they do hate small talk. That’s why being stuck in a social event with strangers is nothing short of a nightmare for them.
2. Asked to be friendly
There is a common misconception that introverts are shy. And this is why they are often so quiet. However, that’s far from the truth. Being shy and being introverted aren’t the same thing. Introverts simply prefer being alone over socializing. They like to think and reflect about their rich inner worlds and observe their environment. So when someone asks them why they are being so quiet or that they need to be more friendly, introverts find it rather offensive. It shows that introverts are not good enough as they are and they need to change to fit into this extraverted world.
3. Getting attention
Introverts prefer to avoid the spotlight. Although some introverts do love to get attention and be admired, most find it rather stressful when they are pushed into the spotlight without their consent or any notice. So when they are being praised or acknowledged publicly, an introvert will simply want to run away and avoid all the attention.
4. Forced to talk
Introverts simply hate small talk. They find it superficial, meaningless and mostly false. They would rather engage in deep meaningful conversations with their partners or close friends than engage in small talk in a social setting. This is the reason why they often hide when they are stuck in gatherings or parties. However, when an extrovert fails to understand nonverbal cues of disinterest in small talk and forces them to talk, it becomes a terrible and stressful experience for them. They don’t like to be pushed to communicate or do things against their will.
5. Not getting enough alone time
Introverts love their personal space and enjoy their time alone. It allows them to recharge themselves and engage in deep introspection. Research shows that people who are introverted tend to have a lower threshold of sensitivity for the neurotransmitter dopamine. As it makes introverts more easily stimulated, they need a lot of downtime to get inner balance. However, when their extroverted friends and family embers encroach upon their alone time and force them to hangout, they get annoyed and frustrated. This is why extroverts need to understand the introvert’s need to recharge them by spending some time alone.
6. Coaxed to be more extroverted
Almost every introvert has an extroverted friend who makes it their life mission to make the introvert more outgoing and social. Many people misunderstand introversion as a character defect. But the truth is introversion is a healthy personality type and is not a personality disorder. There is nothing to ‘fix’ in an introvert. Forcing introverts to become extroverted is not a cure for introversion. When their loved ones fail to understand this, it becomes very disheartening and disappointing for introverts. Introverts should be accepted for who they are without feeling the need to change them.
7. Talking on the phone
Making or getting a phone call is hands down one of the worst experiences for any introvert. The phone can ring or buzz anytime it wants without considering if the introvert is lost in deep thoughts or just enjoying being themselves. The phone call is an intrusion to their privacy and it demands their attention immediately. Author Michaela Chung explains “The incessant bark of a telephone presents an inner debate for an introvert. To answer or not to answer? That is the question.” And this can lead to a lot of stress in them. But this is not why introverts hate talking on the phone. They hate it because there are no physical or visual cues. The lack of body language and facial expressions makes them avoid phone calls
Here are 16 other stressful and worst experiences that introverts have to face almost on a regular basis:
8. Networking with others for the sake of their career or interests feels like torture to introverts. Forcing a conversation with someone to sell themselves is agonizingly painful.
9. Keeping in touch with others, especially friends and family can feel exhausting despite how much they truly want to stay in contact with loved ones.
10. Seeking validation and admiration but hating attention can lead to a lot of anxiety. Although they enjoy being reassured, unnecessary praise makes them feel uncomfortable.
11. When they are enjoying their downtime but others intrude and interrupt them to engage in friendly chit chat without realizing the introvert is not interested.
12. Meeting new people and introducing themselves to a large group of strangers is a nightmare. Whether starting a new class or a new job, introductions and ice breaking sessions are a dreaded experience.
13. Going to any place where there is a huge gathering of crowds whether in the mall, movie theaters, concerts or a football game.
14. Having anxiety about being excited for an event and simultaneously being afraid of the crowd that will be present during the celebration.
15. Being ignored when talking as they are soft spoken or being spoken to continuously when they are trying to end a conversation.
16. Patiently waiting for family members or roommates to fall asleep so that they can finally have some privacy and spend time with their own thoughts. Downtime is crucial for introverts.
17. Sudden plans or surprise parties at the last minute that affect their entire schedule for the day. Not only do they need to alter their plans but also mentally prepare for the social interactions.
18. Meeting old friends or acquaintances in public places can be extremely difficult. Such casual and brief encounters demand small talk with people they know resulting in a superficial conversation they can’t avoid.
19. Being considered aloof, arrogant and snobbish, simply because they prefer their own company and tend to be quiet, leads to a lot of misunderstanding and damaged reputation.
20. As introverts need their downtime to recharge themselves, loud noises like slamming doors, sirens, people shouting and loud music can cause serious discomfort.
22. Being asked a question and having to answer that even though they precisely know the correct answer can make them feel highly anxious.
23. Being considered antisocial simply because they prefer their time alone. Introverts are selectively social, not anti-social.
How an introvert can manage stress
Considering that introverts encounter anxiety-inducing events almost on a daily basis, there are certain strategies they can use to manage their stress and better cope with bad experiences in their lives. “There are many strategies that can help introverts to manage the stress that comes with living in a way that works best for them,” writes Elizabeth Scott, MS, author and wellness coach specializing in stress management.
Here are some stress management strategies suggested especially for introverts by Elizabeth:
1. Start meditating
Practicing meditation can be the perfect way to cope with stress for introverts as it is a quiet practice. Meditation, when practiced over a long period of time, can increase resilience to stress in introverts. Hence, they can stay more balanced and grounded even in stressful situations.
2. Write journals
Starting with journaling is an excellent strategy for introverts to express their emotions and focus on the positive aspects of life. Gratitude journaling has several mental health benefits and can help introverts with stress management.
3. Develop a positive mindset
“Negative thoughts can increase your experience of stress,” writes Elizabeth. Thinking positively and being optimistic in life can help introverts look at challenges in a positive way. She adds “If you are an introvert, you can give yourself an advantage in stress management and in life by actively building your tendency toward optimism.”
4. Practice self-compassion
Introverts are often judged and misunderstood unfairly. This is why it is important that introverts embrace and accept who they are. Self compassion allows us to show ourselves the kindness we deserve. “Being gentle with yourself as well as with others, and building compassion with practices like the loving-kindness meditation can really help,” adds Elizabeth.
Life may be tough, but introverts are awesome
There are many advantages to being an introvert. Of course, they face a lot of struggles in everyday life that extroverts wouldn’t even notice, but they have more strengths than weaknesses.
The key is to balance it effectively so that they can be themselves and enjoy life on their terms in this extroverted world.
Here is an interesting video that you may find helpful: