Advice for an Introvert?

Updated on December 13, 2012
J.C. asks from Blacksburg, VA
12 answers

I recently figured out that I'm an introvert - I think. I've been reading about it some and a lot of it sounds like me. It explains a lot, too - my whole life I've had problems with hurt feelings over being left out of things, and when I meet someone lots of times the next time they don't remember me at all. I realized that, to me, meeting someone and saying a few things to them was a big deal. But to them, I'm just someone who said a few things so no wonder they don't remember or think to include me in the next event. So, I'm thinking that this "discovery" is going to help me a lot. But I'm hoping others can give me some advice on life as an introvert! Thanks!!

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answers from Appleton on

If you want people to remember you, compliment them. Find something nice to say, nice shoes, cute earrings, ect. You will put them at ease and have a topic of conversation.

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answers from Chicago on

I am an introvert, and have known so since I was a child. One thing I do is to make sure to give myself space; from my husband, from my kids, from friends, from technology. Sometimes I get a babysitter and just go drive, or wander the mall by myself, or to a bookstore, or walk through a forest preserve, or ride my bike by myself. That helps me to recharge and to be ready to PRETEND to be an extrovert to the outside world.

There's a Facebook page that has helped me to understand my introversion, and to honor it, while not letting it hold me back.!/IntrovertsAreAwesome/... Another great site is

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answers from Portland on

I'm an introvert too and must force myself out of my comfort zone often for work especially. Anyway, I found a fantastic book a few years back, "The Introvert Advantage". It's fabulous and will make you feel good about being exactly who you are. We're not as shiny and loud as others, but we're just as important. :)

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answers from San Diego on

I subscribe to Susan Cain's blog and here she is on TED talks.

What I've had to learn that you can develop skills that help with being outgoing and social (making friends), but I will always regain my energy by being alone. I know that I want friendships and value people for what they bring to my life, but I enjoy my own company and need that time to process, alone. I am a skilled listener and reflect back what people say, but ask me questions about myself and I am a bumbling idiot. But, my secret super power is that I can oh so easily turn the conversation back to them, asking questions, and again be the listener, a position in a friendship or just meeting someone for the first time that is more comfortable to me. We're pretty cool people, us introverts:)

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answers from New York on

Well, the first thing to remember is that there is nothing wrong with being an introvert. Without introverts, who the heck would listen to what all those extroverts have to say? ;)

A good book I read on this topic a long time ago is "Solitude: A return to the self" by Anthony Storr. It helped me understand that being introverted or needing solitude is not necessarily a negative trait.

I work with a company FULL of extroverts. They are all sales reps. Sure, they are good at selling, but when it comes to getting all the details done behind the sales, the company would be lost without the introverts. We don't mind sitting at a desk and getting solitary work done.

A good tip I learned a while back is, when you meet someone for the first time, ask them a couple questions about themselves (e.g. where are you from, what do you do for a living, etc.). It breaks the ice and people love to talk about themselves.

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answers from Washington DC on

Life as an introvert is what you make of it, and it's not the summation of all you are.

Introversion is basically energy. Do you recharge with or without people? I describe it to my extroverted DH as having "spoons", borrowing a term from those with autoimmune diseases. You only have so much to give and once you're out, it's rough. So during Thanksgiving week, it's not that I was angry at my stepkids, but that they sucked so much energy out of me and I was a little cranky because I was feeling overwhelmed at the demands on me - I work from home so I got no break from them. I got no time to charge. I've also equated it to sleep deprivation. If you don't sleep for 3 days, how do you feel? Same with an introvert who gets no down time between holiday parties.

From the other side - tons of people know my DH and he loves talking to folks...but when you talk to 50 people at a party for 2 minutes each, you're not going to remember every one of them. Does that mean he's bad or they're not important? No. So if you ALSO find yourself judging your worth on how someone remembers you, then that's another issue, IMO. Hurt feelings can be a self-esteem issue instead.

Now, you may find that you are introverted AND shy and if you want to be included here and there, you have to speak up. If you don't like to say much, make the times you do count. Find other ways to express yourself (send a text or email vs phone call). Etc. Or chose situations where you are surrounded with people that you aren't worried about, people who don't hurt your feelings. A small gathering with 2 or 3 friends might make you happier than a big party.

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answers from Peoria on

Excellent question. I also consider myself an introvert and have your same feelings. This year, I forced myself out of my box and decided to start a Girl Scout troop for 1st graders. I knew I'd have to deal with other parents and other leaders of the troop and it may cause some of those situations I'm so uncomfortable in.

I also decided that after I meet someone for the first time and chat with them, I'm going to treat them as a friend from that point on - I just got so tired of obsessing about how they may feel about me!

Outgoing people don't have to think about these things, it comes blissfully naturally to them.

Usually, I'd hang back, wondering if they wanted to talk to me again or if they remembered me or feel unsure of how to approach them. I had to make a conscious effort to get over that. So now when I see them I walk up and say hi and find something to start talking to them about - that's the important thing - you can't walk up and say hi then say nothing else - awkward! Even if it's stupid small talk "I'm so happy we haven't gotten snow yet! Looking forward to a warm winter." or something equally diplomatic.

As intrverts, we tend to be quiet and I think others see that as unfriendly, but we are just not so outgoing.

So far, I've found it's about what you put out there - you will get back. If you have a friendly smile and a kind "hello" and some conversation then that will come back to you. If you are within yourself and not chatty and tend to keep to yourself, then that is what will come back too.

I'll look forward to your other responses too. Hang in there fellow introvert!

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answers from Sacramento on

I'm an introvert, but in college realized I was tired of people treating me like a doormat because I was quieter and decided to take more risks. So much of it is your mindset.

Now, I talk to people I don't know and don't care as much about what they think of me. A lot may have to do with being in my 40s now. Life is too short to worry about what others think of you. Smile and find a topic of common interest (for instance, you're at a school event, ask how long the person's child has gone to XYZ school). Don't think so much about whether the person is friend material or will remember you the next day. Enjoy the moment. Also, don't be afraid to say, "Oh, I think we met last week at the XYZ event" to help jog others' memories.

Remember, too, that it's ok to be an introvert. I still much prefer being home to being at a party. You'll never find me the center of attention at public events. I'm fine with that.

It's all about being comfortable with who you are.

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answers from Tampa on

Yes, I have been this way my whole life. I have discovered now that my parents were the exact same way- very antisocial, closed off, don't join groups of community events. I have forced myself to do things I dont' feel comfortable with like social scenes for my kids.

I find that when I go out of my way to come out of my shell, I sometimes get burned. Like at birthday parties, I will force myself to talk to other parents even though I'd rather hide. Sometimes it works out and other times, the moms look disinterested in talking to me. I have trouble making and keeping friends because I prefer to be alone for fear of being rejected or hurt. It's a lonely life, so I push myself sometimes to not fall into this world my Mom lives everyday.

I had to socialize in college. I even joined a sorority which was totally out of my comfort zone. I found that hanging out with loud, outgoing people helped me back then.
Good luck to you.

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answers from St. Louis on

There are so many things that come into relationships this should not be an ah ha moment. Sorry, don't mean to be a Debbie downer.

If I connect with anyone it doesn't matter if it is a few words or a million, I will remember them, not their name mind you, but I will remember them.

Thing is, how few words, like I said if I connect. If you say hi I am Peg, well I have your name, I don't remember names, I know nothing else about you so chances are I am not going to connect. Now if you say hi I'm Peg, that is my son Billy over there, he talks about Andy all the time. Oh look a connection...I may do all the talking after that, who knows, I never shut up.

So I am saying in that example it is less about why you only used a few words and the words you used. Anyone can be conscious of what they are projecting, what they have said and traits like introversion have little to do with that.

A good chunk of my friends are introverts. I love that they remind me I am the only one talking, oops, and I open up comfortable ways for them to enter conversations. If introversion prohibits bonding then why would I have so many friends who are introverts?


answers from Norfolk on

Hi, Mama;

50% of solving a problem is awareness.

The other 50% is to do something about it.

1. You are responsible to get your own needs met. No one can read your mind.
2. What is it that you need from another person?
3. Don't take anything personally.
4. Suppose you were living in a city where you didn't know anyone.
How would you start a conversation with a stranger?
5. Many people are introverts like yourself. They are shy too.
6. Learn skills to be an extrovert. Look nice, be friendly, ask questions, start a conversation and share ideas.

I had to come out of my shell as an introvert. I had to learn it in a city I knew noone and to have a conversation, I had to be forward.

Good luck.
You can do it.



answers from Cumberland on

As an introvert-I don't think you are the one who needs to change-others need to recognize people to be introverts and include them and cherish their kind demeanor and few, well-thought words. Introverts that I have known always ask great questions and are interested in who others are-they are not over bearing and pleasant to be around-they bring a calming dynamic to a group. Celebrate your gift!

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