10 Challenges Only The Painfully Introverted Understand

1. Social media is destroying your self-esteem. The minute you log onto Instagram or Facebook or any of that other soul-crushingly demonic social platforms, you see tons of attractive, happy people doing cool things. They go for hikes, they get tattoos, they get really drunk, they make (insert pointless, mediocre hobby here). You’re just spending your free time sitting on the couch eating and having what can only be described as an intimate relationship with your Netflix account. (How did it know you wanted to watch another episode of that random British drama from the 60s that’s so bad, it’s good?!)

2. You only engage in functional hobbies. You’re not about to do something that charges you exorbitant amounts of money to have fun — that shit’s supposed to be free! Gas is expensive, movie tickets are expensive, and the materials you need to knit/make jewelry/weld/crochet/etc cost money. The only things you can justify doing for fun in your free time are hobbies like cooking and you can only eat so much in one day, so this has a limit. Reading and writing are the only other similar hobbies you engage in and those aren’t really group activities either. You made an effort last week and bought some sandpaper to re-finish this one piece of furniture you have, but now the sandpaper is just sitting there in your closet and that dresser is still just looming, mocking you. Therefore, even your free time you prefer to spend alone.

3. You don’t want to be a bad friend, but you are. Speaking on the phone or Skyping is torture and requires an insane amount of courage and determination. Texting is mildly painful, and even listening to voicemails can end violently. Mustering a “like” on social media is probably the most involved on a daily basis you can be with my friends. It’s hard to find people who are OK with how flaky, solitary, private, and introverted you are (although you are undoubtedly a very loving and loyal friend) and this means you’re constantly not being the supportive, fun, energetic, ‘let’s go party’ friend most people want you to be. It’s not because you don’t love all the wonderful people in your life enough, though, you swear!

4. Group activities are better when performed quietly and with minimal conversation. You automatically can’t help but dislike people who talk a lot, especially those who talk just to fill the silence. You love the silence. And if someone’s standing closer than three feet away from your face speaking to you or making any sort of physical contact you haven’t had penciled into your agenda for the past week, your aggressor might wake up to find their beloved pet’s severed head in their bed tomorrow morning. The best kind of parties or group activities are the ones where everyone sits around discussing things that aren’t sex, drugs, and shitty pop culture references (you’ve heard all you need to hear, really) in a very calm, rhythmic manner. Even better are things like hiking or going to the river to kayak because then you can just sit in silence under the guise of “being in awe of nature” and everyone seems to follow along. Obviously, this excludes most gatherings from your social agenda.

5. Much like that dog one adopts from the shelter that spent its puppy-hood being abused, loud noises freak you out. You went to a part for the Fourth of July/Guy Fawkes/New Years and spent much of the night sitting inside with your hands over your ears. Drunk people shooting roman candles at each other? SINCE WHEN IS THAT FUN?! You don’t get it. You also don’t like to go anywhere where the music is so loud you can’t converse with the people you made the Herculean effort to hang out with. (Now I don’t know a lot about acoustics and live musicians, but if one of you could explain to me why your music is always too loud, I really am curious.)

6. You know you will never experience the level of comfort and relaxation you achieve when you’re naked on your couch doing nothing. Someone asks you to come to a show with them, grab a drink with them, or whatever and all you can think is “….or I could just continue to sit on my couch.” Unfortunately, the fulfillment of that use of your free time often wins out over any desire to be social, contributing to the cycle of laziness and being a bad friend.

7. Eventually, no one invites you to anything. This is where it starts getting depressing. When you make a new friend, they are excited to do all these cool things together and will spend maybe the first month of knowing you inviting you to parties, to get-togethers, etc. Rarely will you join in unless the activity appeals to you (based on some of the above-mentioned preferences). So what happens is now you have a bunch of friends who have given up on getting you to be social, and you will have to be the one to make an effort if you want to maintain a friendship with them. It’s a slippery slope.

8. Depression. Most introverts spend too much time in their head already, but when they give into their introverted preferences, very few can ignore that they’re being a bad friend, that they aren’t like the majority of society, and be happy. Depression often comes along with introversion and I’m not criticizing either (duh), but both traits require a lot of balance and maintenance. Further effort. Also, this post took a turn for the darker didn’t it?

9. Netflix keeps asking you if you’re still watching. “I’ve only watched two episodes, stupid Netflix, leave me in peace and let me binge-watch an entire season, why don’t you?!”

10. You’re a minority. Everyone is a minority in some way or another depending on your gender, skin color, religion (or lack thereof), educational background, etc. You will be a minority somewhere, so this isn’t something new. However, being a minority in terms of your social needs can be a little harder for other (insert)-verts to empathize with. It seems so counter-intuitive to most people that you don’t want to come to a party with them, even though there’s sexy genitalia and free booze, or that you don’t want to automatically go see a live show by a band you really like (NOISE. CROWDS.) just because they’re in town. You have to try a lot to do those things and you don’t like to not challenge yourself at all and refuse to expose yourself to new, loud, crowded experiences ever, but it’s hard for your friends to understand why sometimes, you need a night off from being social. TC mark

featured image – Lauren Rushing

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