“In an extroverted society, the difference between an introvert and an extrovert is that an introvert is often unconsciously deemed guilty until proven innocent,” wrote Criss Jami.
As introverts, our society is not designed to understand us. Social conventions that are meant to bring excitement or even comfort can be terrifying. Living in an extrovert’s world can mean endless awkward moments. The world isn’t made for us, and we aren’t made to flow effortlessly through it.
Here are 31 examples of moments an introvert would rather avoid:
1. When your partner forces you to host a social event. With people. In your home.
2. When the people who have come over decide to stay way too late.
3. When you try to escape to the bathroom and it’s occupied – and you have to wait for it with Chatty Cathy.
4. When your co-workers all eat lunch together, and you have to choose between losing your downtime and being rude.
5. When the teacher calls on you in front of the whole class.
6. When you thought your roommate was going out, but they’re not.
7. When you work harder than anyone else in the office, but the boss always forgets your name.
8. When a person decides to keep calling rather than leave a message.
9. When your friend sets you up on a blind date.
10. When your friend insists you accompany them on a double date.
11. When your kid gets invited to a play-date and you’re expected to come.
12. When someone wonderful thinks you don’t like them because you don’t talk to them much.
13. When you’re asked to tell a group of people “a little bit about yourself.”
14. When you’re on a bus, train, or airplane next to a “talker” who seems to not notice your headphones.
15. When your kid won’t nap and all you want is five minutes alone.
16. When someone comes by your house unexpectedly.
17. When you get caught lying in an effort to cancel plans.
18. When your child is friendly. To everyone. Everywhere you go.
19. When you round a corner and run into Katie who loves to make small talk.
20. When your friends throw you a surprise party – and think this is a great idea?
21. When your partner thinks reading time is a good downtime to ask you random questions.
22. When someone calls “just to catch up” – and you have nothing to say.
23. When you’re daydreaming, and someone tells you that you look sad.
24. When someone keeps a conversation going much longer than they need to.
25. When a large portion of your grade is based on group projects.
26. When someone asks why you’re so quiet, and you want to ask them why they’re so nosy but you’re not that rude.
27. When you want to leave a social situation, but you caught a ride there with an extrovert who might just stay forever.
28. When someone reminds you that you made plans, and you were hoping they’d forgotten.
29. When someone asks if you’re okay because you aren’t taking much.
30. When participation in class discussions is mandatory.
31. When you text someone, and they respond by calling you.
“Sometimes the silence is the loudest thing in the room,” wrote Cory Basil.
Being an introvert is hard in a society that seems to see a lack of extraversion as a crime.
Embracing your natural temperament is a revolutionary act. Hold your head up (or down) and don’t be afraid to own your introversion. Own the silence. Embrace it. Revel in it. Let everyone else deal with any discomfort that brings them.