Even although extroversion and introversion are both just personality types (And are, arguably, both part of the same spectrum: I suspect it’s probably quite rare to come across someone who’s either 100% one or the other. I just totally made that up, though, so, you know, don’t mind me…), for many people, extroversion is seen as ‘the norm’, while introversion is viewed as some kind of weird character flaw, that needs to be endlessly commented on, and ‘fixed’.
All of which, of course, is absolutely INFURIATING to us introverts. It’s like, we just want to read our books for a while, you know? But there you guys are, endlessly prodding away at us, demanding to know why we’re so quiet, and if there’s something wrong, or, hey! Let’s throw a party! Like, RIGHT NOW, THIS VERY SECOND! Because THAT’LL cheer us up, for sure!
*Deep breaths. Veeeeerrrry deeeeeep breeeaaaths.*
The thing is, though, we know you don’t mean it. You’re not deliberately trying to annoy us: you just don’t ‘get’ us – just as we don’t really get you – so, in a bid to make life a little bit easier on us all, here are a few things some extroverts sometimes do that make introverts HATE* them…
THROW THEM A SURPRISE PARTY
Look, I love a good party: because, yes, introverts can and DO enjoy socialising… we just generally like to have a bit of notice first, so we can mentally prepare ourselves for it. So, the thought of coming home, all excited about the nice, quiet night I have planned, and then opening the door to find a houseful of people instead? It’s the stuff my nightmares are made of, seriously. Please don’t do that to me: I might never forgive you…
(On the subject of parties, by the way, one of my introvert traits is that I don’t particularly care about my birthday, and I hate it when you try to make me care, by insisting that I MUST have a party, or going on about my ‘special day,’ or whatever. Seriously, the best birthday gift you can give me is to not make a big deal out of my birthday: not even joking…)
CALL THEM OUT FOR BEING ‘TOO QUIET’
Bonus points here if you do that ‘faux surprised’ thing when your introvert acquaintance speaks, and you go, “OH MY GOD, SHE SPOKE! SHE SPOKE!” Or the sarcastic version, where you’re just all, “WHOA, shut up, Amber, I can hardly get a word in, here!” Yes, I am aware that I’m quiet, thank you: were you aware you were rude, though?
TURN A SMALL GATHERING INTO A LARGE ONE WITHOUT TELLING THEM
There I am, looking forward to dinner with a couple of friends. There you are, busily planning to invite 15 other people, and also their dogs, uncles, and random work colleagues, because, “The more, the merrier!” right?
WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.
OMG, SO VERY, VERY WRONG.
Like I said, introverts are perfectly capable of socialising: we can even enjoy it – imagine! We much prefer doing it in smaller groups, though: large ones can be overwhelming, and will make us do that whole, “Too quiet,” thing you hate so much. So, if we’ve arranged to meet up with you, and are expecting to see JUST YOU, please don’t invite everyone you know, or we’ll be forced to, well, HATE you. Sorry.
(My husband is the prime culprit for this one. We have SO many conversations that start with me going, “Let’s invite X+Y round for coffee at the weekend,” and end with him going, “But if X + Y are coming, we’ll have to invite Z, too! And if Z’s going to be there, I bet he’d like to see A, B and C. But if we invite C, we’ll have to invite D+E, and they’ll probably want to bring F. Do you think G+H would be up for it? What about I and J? We’ll need to buy more coffee: or should we just do a buffet, instead? Should I look into hiring a venue?”
Next thing I know, my quiet cup of coffee with my good friends X+Y suddenly involves the entire alphabet, is costing me a fortune, and will now require outside caterers and a whole bunch of people I don’t even know. This is what happens when an introvert marries an extrovert, people: let this be a warning to you all… )
DESCRIBE THEM AS BORING OR ANTI-SOCIAL
Of course, when the introvert in the party DOES push back against social plans, they’re inevitably described as ‘boring’ or ‘anti-social’. Which is ironic, really, given that we’re not the ones trying to insist on spending an hour engaged in mindless small-talk about the weather, or any other talking-for-the-sake-of-talking activity, are we? You would not like it if we described you as “needy” just because you like being around other people: please don’t call us ‘boring’ just because we don’t…
ASSUME THEY’RE LONELY OR SAD
Just because someone spends time on their own, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re lonely. Actually, I only ever really feel lonely when I’m in a crowd… which makes no sense to extroverts, obviously, but ALL the sense in the world to my fellow introverts, am I right?
TRY TO ‘FIX’ THEM
Introverts are not broken. It is not a personality flaw. They do not need to be ‘fixed’ or ‘saved’ or taught how to be more extroverted, any more than you need to be taught how to be more introverted. So, suggesting there’s something wrong with them is….well, imagine if someone asked you if you’ve ever considered hypnosis for your verbal diarrhoea issue, because their Uncle Tony tried that, and he’s, like, totally normal now? Exactly.
SUGGEST THEY ‘JUMP ON A CALL’ WITH YOU
Seriously, what IS it with this whole, ‘Let’s jump on a call!” thing lately? Because, all of a sudden, it feels like everyone who emails me – no matter what it’s about, or how trivial it is – wants me to ‘jump on a call’ with them, and, to be totally honest, I’d rather jump out of the WINDOW, really.*
(*Note: not really.)
Of course, not ALL introverts hate using the phone: most of the ones I know personally DO, though, so please, do us a favour, and USE EMAIL. It’s just so much easier, because it gives us time to think about what our response is going to be, and we like that. Speaking of which…
PUT THEM ON THE SPOT
On the subject of communication, you know what else introverts hate? Social messaging platforms that pop up a little ‘read’ sign to tell you when someone’s seen your message. We hate those little notifications because they make us feel like we have to respond instantly, and can’t just pretend we haven’t seen the message yet … which means we have to DECIDE instantly whether or not we want to do whatever it is you’ve just suggested, and OH, THE PRESSURE. We need time to THINK, dammit! Why can’t we have time to THINK?!
I’m not asking you not to use Messenger here, though, obviously: I’m just asking you not to be offended if you notice that we’ve seen your message and haven’t replied: we’re not ignoring you, we just need a bit of time to think.
(Unless we ARE actually ignoring you, obviously, in which case, WHOOPS.)
ASSUME THEY’RE SHY
OK, this one doesn’t annoy me personally, because, as it happens, I AM pretty shy, really. Not all introverts are shy, though, and not all shy people are introverts: so there’s no need to speak to an introvert very slowly and carefully, just in case you scare them (Actually, there’s no need to speak to a shy person like that either, obviously: I mean, SERIOUSLY…): they will cope just fine with being spoken to, and are not going to faint at the idea of socialising… they’re just going to need a little bit of time to recharge afterwards, is all…
Fellow introverts! What things do extroverts do that YOU hate?
*I’m kidding, I’m kidding! You know we don’t actually HATE you, right?