How to Cope with Being an Introvert in an Extroverted World

How to Cope with Being an Introvert in an Extroverted World

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Life is already a challenging thing to navigate, but as an introvert, it can be overwhelming, and sometimes downright unpleasant to interact with extroverts and other people in general. You’re hyper-aware of the micro-expressions on a face or the subtle change in someone’s tone. A sudden drop in a conversation makes you wonder if you’ve done something wrong, and you keep thinking about it for hours, even days later.

As introverts, we can’t spend our whole lives as the Shrinking Violet who lacks confidence and fears offending others with every little step or action that we take. How do we get past that paralyzing social anxiety that prevents us from building relationships, advancing in the workplace, and leading an otherwise happy, fulfilling life?


Find Your Tribe

When you’re already quite fond of spending time alone, it’s easy to want to stay inside your cave. It’s cozy, it has all of the things you love, and your goldfish has never judged you…not even once. Why on Earth would you want to go out mingle?

The fact is, human beings need some interaction with other human beings. We all want to feel like someone can relate to us, see the good in us, and bring value to our lives. If you’re an introvert, where do you find that kind of companionship? Well, it starts with getting out of the house!

Think about things that bring you joy, running a monthly 5K or volunteering with an animal shelter, for example, are actually perfect settings for someone who needs to ease into social settings. They’re not necessarily “group” activities, but you have an opportunity to meet and greet at your own pace, no pun intended.

Find a way to connect with just one person in your workplace and watch how simple networking becomes in person, rather than trying to do it behind a screen. Sure, you don’t need to have hundreds of friends and family to feel safe and secure, but close companionships are important. 

We need people in our lives who can build us up and remind us of our inner strengths. Knowing that there is someone in the world who believes in you and sees the best in you will come in handy during times when you need support, guidance, and reassurance.

Know Your Limits

So, we’ve already established that introverts are not naturally inclined to gravitate toward situations involving heavy conversation, physical contact, or being put on the spot in general. If you’re already working on getting out and meeting more people, I commend you! That’s not an easy feat to overcome and it takes a lot of courage.

However, you don’t have to push yourself to the ragged edge in an attempt to be more sociable. There will be occasions when outsiders think they’re being helpful by trying to “pull you out of your shell” by testing boundaries. 

First of all, there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert. Some of us just aren’t fond of spending as much time in social settings as others. You’ll often hear other introverts talk about a “social battery.” It varies for everyone, but by the 3 to 4-hour mark of intense social interaction, you’re over it.

Once you reach that limit, take a break! Building relationships doesn’t mean that you have to change your entire personality. Take the time you need to recharge your battery with alone time, just don’t take too long.

Not Everyone Cares

Look, there are going to be occasions when you run into folks who just don’t like you, for whatever reason. Maybe you looked at them the wrong way, maybe they heard a rumor, it really doesn’t matter. That’s just life, but it doesn’t mean that everyone in the room is staring at you in disgust. Actually, they’re probably not looking at you at all.

One of the biggest fears that introverts have is making a spectacle, in no way do we want to be the center of attention. This is a major reason for avoiding social settings, but the truth is that no one really cares. If you say or do the wrong thing, try to remind yourself that everyone does at some point in their life. Brush it off, take a breath, and make a laugh out of it if possible.

Being an introvert isn’t some disease that needs to be cured, it’s just who you are. Embrace it, but don’t forget to engage with extroverts from time to time; it may do you some good!

76 thoughts on “How to Cope with Being an Introvert in an Extroverted World”

  1. I’m an introvert since a child. I’m also HSP (Highly Sensitive Person), as I learnt nearly two years ago.
    I have come out of my shell as an adult, slowly over the years. But the biggest change in the last two years. Being with the right people helped this.

  2. Thank you for this post. I have been an introvert my whole life and I totally understand the “battery” concept! I can literally feel my battery draining in a social setting. Some settings are worse then others and the speed my battery drains is determined by the setting. I was able to relate to your post and I appreciate knowing that I’m not the only one out there. Thank you.

  3. I love that last paragraph. It motivates me to stop being so highly critical of every single public action I take but instead, learn to love myself more. Thank you for sharing this and spreading positivity!

  4. I think most people can be intro or extroverts depending on a moment in life. I’m past 60, so I can see how being more introvert can be more valuable than extrovert at some times and in different periods of life. Both types have advantages and disadvantages. I’m personally ok with public speeches and among or in front lots of people and in communication with them, I love managing big crowds, too. My work is mostly done when I am alone. I love being alone when I paint or write, or do some sewing, etc. That is type of work when I do not allow anything to interrupt me, I do not answer phone or door.
    I don’t think one has to worry when they are more into themselves. Being fine and alone is a great thing and we get done so much when nobody is interrupting with some silly small talk.

  5. Helping people to understand themselves better and to suggest ways they can better cope with the modern world is a wonderful calling and you clearly have a balanced and compassionate approach to the many behavioral differences people exhibit, and to the challenges we all face in coming to terms with modern life. Visiting here reveals an empathetic spirit throughout your written entries, and it feels good just to read those.

    I am currently employed part-time in a job that interacts with the public-at-large and when it gets busy, I might have to engage several hundred individuals during my shift in a brief conversational exchange, lasting anywhere from thirty seconds to several minutes. It sometimes requires me to find ways to politely expedite these interactions and at other times, to respond with courtesy and diplomacy, and everything in between. There couldn’t be a more challenging and rewarding task when it comes to responding to so many people in this way, and your advice to recognize that not everyone will like you and that there are those who don’t care is right on the mark. I enjoy those conversations which are positive and polite, and just let go of the ones that are less so.

    There is much to admire here and I appreciate your interest in my writing very much.

  6. I love how you can tell all who have commented that we all have different personalities, yet we all relate to these words. It’s amazing that although we all/or most of us are introvert, we all express it different, yet the same as well. Not only are your words hitting home, they are showing not all introverts fit a set mold.

    I hope you could see that this is what your beautiful writing does. You made us all feel not alone, and that there is nothing wrong with us. Beautiful, thank you. I love when I come across writing like this.

  7. This post is beautiful. It’s always reassuring to know that being an introvert is perfectly fine and that we don’t have to put ourselves in uncomfortable situations all the time just so we “don’t stand out”. 🙂 Thank you for this.

  8. I can relate to so much of what you speak of. Thank you for doing what you do and helping others thrive with and love their uniqueness ❤️

  9. This was great!!! I can’t even deny the fact that I have a hard time dealing with people who don’t like me. Unless they are just an awful person. But I’m getting better.

  10. Wow! You have a big important following and I can see why! Thank you for writing this and stopping by my blog. I am an intense introvert and scorpio with mental health conditions and chronic pain, so you can imagine my vexation at social gatherings. All of this is spot on! Thank you for the reminder that mostly no one cares. As a ruminator, I greatly appreciate that reminder. How long have you been blogging?

  11. We nearly speak the same language. I truly enjoy your write. I’m an introvert and an extrovert. I see myself in this piece. Until we read again, I’m sending you positive vibes of love, peace, and happiness.

  12. Ooooooo I love your blogs!! INTJ Introvert/Empath here lined up and ready for duty. Thank you so much for following me so I could then discover and follow you! ❤

  13. LOVE IT! Being an introvert, in my opinion, is special. I have come to embrace it in myself and knowing great people I look up to, like Oprah Whinfrey, are introverts. I think introverts are more tend towards quality. Thank you for the beautiful topic.

  14. Thanks Ron for this. I was once totally introverted but a few things changed for me:
    1. I learned that everyone cares for themselves first. This made it easier for me to handle people who didn’t necessarily “connect” with me.
    2. After reading Carnegie’s How to win friends and influence people, I began to be more extroverted but still prefer my introverted side.
    3. The micro-expressions are frought with error-checking problems, so I tend not to rely on them, instead on bigger signs of people trying to hard or trying to sell me something.
    4. I start on a negative and based on experience with people build into positive as I see signs of characteristics which work for me.

  15. Sarah Richards

    As an introvert, I concur. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. I remember growing up, other kids would say, “You’re quiet,” like it was a bad thing, but they never told other kids they were loud. Now, I like to say, “You learn a lot more by listening than you do by speaking; when you speak, you’re saying something you already know, but when you listen, you just might be learning something you don’t know.”

  16. You read my mind! Self affirmations and stating what I need from people is helping me assert myself more. I’ve started to care less about what people think. It’s a process! Also I found virtual social groups to attend to connect with more women, corporate professionals, and creatives. Thank you for posting.

  17. worth reading …….
    “truth is that no one really cares. If you say or do the wrong thing, try to remind yourself that everyone does at some point in their life. Brush it off, take a breath, and make a laugh out of it if possible”.

  18. I definitely agree with your post. I feel like I became an introvert as I became older. I need to recharge my battery quicker than before and I enjoy more and more solitude and being around with smaller groups than bigger ones. Thank you for the post and for making introverts feel normal 🙂

  19. In my younger years I would have described myself as an extrovert. Now retired, I feel as though I’ve transitioned to more of an introvert. Your statement about introverts being “over it” after 3-4 hours of intense social interaction accurately describes me these days. Thank you for the affirmation that there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert! P.S. Thank you also for becoming a follower of my blog, From the Inside Out. I hope you’ll find the posts meaningful whenever you’re able to visit!

  20. Hi Ron, thank you so much for this post and many others in your blog. I am true introvert with a tinge extrovert if I squint my eyes. I’m learning to lean into it and use it as asset rather than a hindrance. For a long time I thought that being an introvert would preclude me being a business owner, but I’m making it work. Thank you for following my blog! Hopefully, we can glean helpful information from each other!

  21. Thank you so much for sharing this post. I struggle with many aspects of being an introvert now that I’m in business. Finding a tribe definitely helped me.

  22. “First of all, there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert. Some of us just aren’t fond of spending as much time in social settings as others. You’ll often hear other introverts talk about a “social battery.” It varies for everyone, but by the 3 to 4-hour mark of intense social interaction, you’re over it.”

    -I totally agree with this.

  23. Thanks, Ron. You shined light into some of my darker corners. I’m ok with publishing and speaking professionally, but making a comment online really stretches me! With little opportunity to have intimate conversations in person, sending a response to you is a close second, and (I hope) worth the exposure. Great insights! You opened my eyes a little wider. And thanks for following my brand new blog!

  24. Hello. My name is KJ and I am an introvert. 😉 I’m good with it most of the time. But some times, acceptance of who I am can be a struggle and I long to be able to shamelessly put myself out there without fear of negative feedback or rejection. It’s like there’s a constant inner conflict waging between the part of me that wants to sit back and enjoy just being me and the part of me that wants to scream to the world, “Hey! Look at me. I’m right here and I have a lot to offer.” Your words are encouraging and true – we have to learn to embrace our introvertness (Yep, I know that’s not a word!) and embrace who God made us to be so we can fully enjoy our lives! Great post! And thank you for becoming a part of the A Couple of Stars and a Happy Face family! 🙂

  25. Eva Szarafinski

    Good piece. I’m an introvert and am torn between loving my alone time and feeling guilty over not wanting to be more social. My husband is the complete opposite and have had some arguments over this in the 30 plus years of being together. I do need to recharge after spending a few hours with others. I am just not into ‘small talk’, and I am happy with spending time with myself. Thank you for writing this.

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