An Open Letter to the Extroverts of the World

Dear Extroverts,

Let me just start off by saying you guys are great. Really and truly. The world needs people like you, and some of my best friends, family members, and heroes are extroverted.

But ummmm….extroverts? You exhaust me.

I understand that you get your energy and jollies from talking a lot and being around varied groups of people, but did you know that introverts gain energy and “recharge” from the exact opposite of situations? We tend to get mentally and physically drained when we are forced to socialize for extended periods of time, or be in constant group settings.

I’m not writing this letter to tell you to “calm down your excitedness” or “stop talking so much”, because like I said, I think the world, home, and workplace really need people like you. I’m just asking that you would try to remember that there are undoubtedly people in your life who are introverted and would love for you to respect or at least be aware of their needs.

So what are the needs of an introvert, exactly?

We need time to be alone.

If we look really deep in thought, don’t interrupt unless it is necessary. Many people, not just introverts, hate being interrupted, but it’s especially difficult for introverts. It can make us completely lose track of what we were doing, and start to resent the interrupter if it is happening a lot. My father-in-law refers to it as “death by paper cuts” – it is a perfect analogy as to how it feels in a work setting if the interruptions are nonstop. Especially the pointless interruptions. When we’re trying to get work done and are very clearly focused on something, they sting.

office

“I see you look really busy, just wanted to tell you about my weekend!!”

As introverts, we will try to tell you what type of chatting/visiting mood we are in based on body language, as it can be awkward to blurt out that we just feel like being alone. If we are avoiding eye contact, looking down a lot, glancing at random objects in the room, looking at a watch, or just acting like a frantic caged animal in general, it’s probably safe to assume we want out.

If we don’t seem like ourselves, maybe a bit standoffish or quiet, don’t assume something is wrong. Don’t keep asking “are you okay? You seem mad.” If we are mad, we’ll deal with it. Most chances are we just don’t feel like talking. I know it may be hard for you to comprehend the idea of not feeling like talking without being upset or angry, but it’s a real thing.

Introverts tend to be great listeners, so don’t take advantage of that.

We’re very creative and imaginative, so use us for your creative needs! We may not have an idea or answer for you immediately, but set us free in a quiet room and we will be full of great ideas in no time.

We get crabby when we have been around people too much. Don’t take it personal, it’s not YOU, it’s just EVERYONE and the situation in general.

Ideal situation after having been in a large group

Ideal situation after having been in a large group

Introverts DO like to socialize, have fun, joke, slack off from work, chat about weekend activities, and partake in water cooler gossip. We do, I promise! We just need a break from it. We tend to be pretty awesome individuals, so I understand if you feel the need to constantly talk to us and be around us, but for the love of God, please give us a break.

Being introverted is not the same as being shy. Sometimes I am the loudest and most annoying person in the room and others would swear I am extroverted. Sometimes we can be off the chain cray cray make you slap yo mama’s face loud. But the difference is after that hour of insanity, we need to curl up like little worn out puppy dogs and get some rest.

Being introverted does not signify a lack of confidence. Do not mistake someone’s introversion for weakness. If you wrong us, we will most likely take it up with you and we tend to be well read, stable, and eloquent people. Watch out. Sometimes we tend to hold things in a little too long so we may explode. Again, watch out.

Think about how hard it would be for you to sit in a room with another person for several hours and not say a word, not a PEEP about what is going on in your head. Now realize that it is JUST as hard for an introvert to sit in a room with someone who is talking nonstop.

We tend to give others energy because of our own positive energy and ability to make people feel heard and important. Use this power wisely! If you really need to talk, vent, get advice, etc…come to us. We like to help and feel needed ourselves. But just remember the cues to get outta there: looking around, responding to you with a lot of “uh huh’s” or “oh, interesting” while looking completely disinterested.

At this point, you may be thinking “man, introverts are so dang needy!” Really though, it’s the opposite of needy. Yeah, we can be a bit funky and awkward in social situations, but we don’t need you to comfort us, pamper us, or read us bedtime stories, we just need to be left alone. If part of your job as extroverts is to give us some space, maybe our job as introverts is to be more communicative, blunt, and honest about how we feel. We will work on that.

Introverts kind of dread small talk. It’s the reason why in my late 20’s I finally realized I hate going to bars or clubs. I have always hated them and thought I was just shy, but I’m actually not shy at all. I couldn’t figure out what the deal was. Then it hit me, I hate bars and clubs because all you do is small talk. It feels pointless and wasteful. I’d love to go to dinner with you or sit at a coffee shop and dive into our recent activities and feelings, but random small talk? Kill me.

How I feel when people are trying to engage me in small talk

SET ME FREE! LET ME GO FROM THIS SMALL TALK NIGHTMARE!

Sometimes, us introverts have a hard time expressing our feelings in the heat of the moment to you. If we are feeling angry, sad, exhausted, or anxious because of something you are doing (or not doing), it can be extremely hard to verbalize it right then and there. We need time to process it – see a trend here? We may come to you later about it and that is okay. We like to have open communication and keep things positive and happy.

Extroverts, I hope you can take a minute and think about the introverts in your life. Think about the wonderful people they are, and how much joy they bring you. If you work your introvert right, you can have a really amazing relationship with one. We tend to be funny, insightful, observant, and easygoing. We just also unfortunately tend to get our panties in a wad if we feel we haven’t had enough alone time. So do us all a favor, and let us be alone for a bit. Let us recharge and thrive in the home, workplace, and world.

Love,

An Exhausted Introvert

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58 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the Extroverts of the World

  1. I don’t need extroverts because most of them antagonized me for who I am. Therefore, I’d rather have introverts run the world and extroverts no place in it.

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  4. LOVE this post! I tend to be both introverted and extroverted depending on the situation. For instance, I am extremely extroverted around my husband or close girlfriends when it’s “just us” in the room. But when it comes to bars/clubs (which I hate anyway) or large gatherings, I am very introverted. I despise small talk and I agree with you – those types of situations are mentally exhausting to say the least. I am the type of person that cannot “mingle” alone and I hate showing up at a large function by myself.

    • Thank you! I know- doesn’t that outfit look just perfect?! I know it’s a joke, but they could seriously market that to introverts, lol. For now my Snuggie from Brookstone will have to do.

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  6. Ohhh…..feck. *wonders if I annoy you now with my gabbiness lol*

    Actually, that was a very good post and description. Also what cues to watch for is helpful. (By the way, when you said that to try and not say anything in a room for hours…then turn it on its head to see how introverts feel about all the noise …. that made me understand better.)

    Also, I liked that you also mentioned how it is both introverts and extroverts who need to work on things…very well done *smiles*

    And …. I loved the trapped rodent photo….poor little guy.

    • No!!! I never get annoyed by your comments, they are something I love and look forward to! I think the thing I was trying to get across in this post, and maybe didn’t quite succeed at, was that it’s not that extroverts need to change anything about what they are doing, but introverts need to understand why we feel the way we do, and most importantly that that is okay. We have different feelings and overall traits than extroverts and understanding them can be crucial to happiness at work and at home. Extroverts should be aware of the character traits of introverts the same way introverts should try to understand extroverts. Being ignorant of others needs can make for an unnecessarily tense situation. Does that make sense? haha. Rambling I feel like.

      I LOVE extroverts and think my life/the world would suck without them. I am a really outgoing introvert, so it has taken a lot of self introspection to realize some of my social preferences and why sometimes I get cranky for “no reason.”

      And yep, we all have things to work on all the time I think. Who wants to be boring and stay the same, no growth and learning? πŸ™‚

      • *smiles*….actually, you succeeded very well nod nods. I just KNOW I can be totally gabby. (My ex-husband complained that I talked wayyyyyyyyyy too much. Bastard.)

        So question (which if too personal you can decide to not answer) … is your husband an introvert or an extrovert or somewhere in between?

        • There aren’t too many questions that are too personal in my book πŸ™‚

          He is also introverted, actually! I mentioned this to someone above- but I am actually working on a post right now about personlaity types, the Myers Briggs ones! We’ve learned a lot about each other through understanding our MB personalities. Anyway, it works out really well for us because we both love to talk to people, be outgoing, and have fun but then we come home and he’ll go play video games and I’ll read or write or do something else alone. Sometimes we will sit in the same room doing our own thing, and it still feels like quality time to me, haha. I think that extros/intros can have great, powerful relationships, but I’m thankful to be married to an introvert. It really works out that we both understand each others need to be alone.

          So you said your ex complained you talk too much, I’m assuming he was an extrovert? However, I think Isaac may make the same complaint about me and I’m an introvert too haha. I think we are just WOMEN and we like to gab πŸ˜€ What have you found to be a more satisfying relationship as an extrovert- being with an intro or an extro?

          • Ohhh Myers=Briggs. I have taken that twice. What was my letter? I cannot remember now!

            I think the Myers-Briggs blog post is up already too … I will take a looks soon.

            As for the ex…he was more….in the middle I would say. Me…I used to be super extroverted…but as I have grown older…I find myself pulling inwards. (But I think tis the depression at times….moving on….)

            Who do I find more satisfying? Introverts? Extroverts?

            I am totally not sure. The extremes on the spectrum is not good for me. I like those in the middle I think.

            • I agree, I think that a person’s letters can really kind of vary based on their current mental and emotional state. I definitely lean towards one letter some days and another on other days.

              Yeah, I like middle of the spectrum people too. REALLY introverted is incredibly hard to be around, and so is INSANELY extroverted. But then again, really extroverted people keep me laughing and entertained usually. My grandma is extremely extroverted and she just cracks me up! It has been 2 months since my wedding and people are STILL telling me how awesome and outgoing my 80 year old grandma was. She circled the tables at dinner introducing herself, just like the bride and groom are supposed to hahaha. Love it!

  7. Oh my gosh, you don’t understand how helpful this post is for me. Being an extrovert with an introverted boyfriend, I have so much trouble when it comes to conflicts because I never know how he feels and he can’t express himself very well. Sometimes I think to myself, “why in the world can’t he just tell me what he’s feeling?!” and I have to remind myself that he is only a human being and an introverted one at that. Hopefully this will help me relate to him much better. I’m always looking for ways to help me understand him easier and connect with him more. c: I really appreciate this!

    • I loved reading your comment, it makes me so happy to hear that both introverts and extroverts are finding this useful!! That’s exactly what I had hoped for. Have you and your boyfriend ever looked into your Myers Briggs personality types? I’m actually working on a post about that right now- it’s fascinating stuff!! It may help you guys understand each other more, and why you guys each act the way you do in certain situations. It REALLY helped me to understand my hubby and he felt the same about me.

      Thanks for reading and for your kind words, they are so appreciated!! Good luck to you and your boyfriend. An intro/extro combination can seem challenging at times, but it’s really good. I’m sure you guys bring out the best in each other!

  8. This was such an amazing reminder for me! I have to be engaged in conversation all the time (I annoy myself sometimes) and my poor fiance is an introvert to a T. I can feel myself overwhelming him and I still can’t stop myself. Thank you for the insight! I know he will thank you too!

    • Oh I’m so glad it was a good reminder for you! I’m also glad to hear that extroverts aren’t taking it the wrong way, haha! I LOVE me some extroverts and was trying to make it clear that this wasn’t a hit at extroverted people. I imagine it can be frustrating sometimes being very extroverted and having an introverted hubby…but the two personality types also really compliment each other. I guess it’s all about finding a happy place, like everything πŸ™‚ Thanks for the compliments and kind words!

  9. I shared this post on Facebook! Everyone agrees that it’s absolutely awesome and to the point. I also agree with someone’s comment regarding bars and big social events. It’s good to know that others feel the same way I do.

    • Oh thank you so much for the compliment and for sharing!!! Glad there are so many introverts out there who can relate πŸ™‚ Nope, you’re definitely not alone as far as the bar scene hatred is concerned.

  10. When I read the “cray cray” part I was laughing like an extrovert…but I’m definitely an introvert… When I get home each day Matt knows I have to have my “me” time. πŸ˜‰ or I turn into his other wife.. The cray cray one…

    • Yep, you and me both mama. Even if it means just being in the same room and not talking, that’s fine too haha. That’s why we were such good roommates in college!!! Oh wait….pretend roommates πŸ™‚

  11. You know…people have always said I’m an extrovert, but now after reading this I really think I’m an introvert, a lot of what you said hit home. So i guess it is possible to have outgoing introverts, I always thought they were interchangable terms. Thanks for sharing!

    • Yep, you can absolutely be an outgoing introvert! I consider myself really outgoing, I start conversations with complete strangers often, but am still very introverted. I think prob all of us sisters are πŸ™‚ the only con of vein an outgoing introvert is that we wear ourselves out sometimes haha! I think you can change on the intro/extro scale too as you get older.

  12. Ohhh I relate to this so well… My job is listening to my boss rant and rave for SEVEN HOURS. I do no work, just listen.. afterwards I curl up in a ball at home with the lights out and just sit/sleep… its miserable!

    • Ughhh that sounds awful!!! And it’s your boss, so it’s hard to just say “HEY SHUT UP AND GO AWAY!” What a draining job. At least we are both finding out early in life what jobs are no good for us as introverts πŸ™‚ if you look online there are hundreds of articles posted about introverts in the workplace and best jobs for us. Kinda cool!

  13. Sometimes I feel like I am a perfect combination of both introvert and extrovert. However, you so nicely point out that at the end of the day, the introvert needs to silence and the relaxation to recharge. Clearly, this is me. Maybe I need to consider myself more introverted and things will make more sense to me! Great post!

    • I know what you mean about feeling like both! And sometimes I forget I’m introverted and feel so guilty for being cranky and just wanting to be alone. It really helps to remember that it’s okay to feel like that, it’s part of being introverted! Acceptance is the first step haha πŸ˜‰ I hope you tapping into your maybe introverted self helps!

  14. I want to like this post times a thousand!!! You conveyed this so perfectly on behalf of all us introverts out there. Your open letter should be required reading by all extreme extraverts πŸ™‚

    • Oh thank you!! I’m glad my fellow introverts approve, haha. I have a feeling a lot of “bloggers” are introverts, at least to me it makes sense as a venting and recharging tool. I also hope this doesn’t offend extroverts! We love them!!! Juuuust sometimes in small doses haha.

  15. Beautiful post and so straightforward. I had to laugh so many times; the way you describe such complicated social interactions is absolutely marvellous. However, I am still slightly worried about the extroverts who think they are an introvert, and recognise themselves wrongly. You know, the kind of extrovert person that presumes to be β€˜a good listener’ but that links just any conversation topic, as soon as possible, to one of theirs…etc. Un abrazo, Rosa

    • Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed it πŸ™‚ I know what you mean about extroverts thinking they are introverts…I think I know a few of those actually!!

      You named one of my biggest pet peeves – the people who in conversations constantly try to relate it back to something in their own life, or always try to “one up” your story. Ugh! I’m in no way saying that is a characteristic of extroverts, just saying it’s annoying haha. Ohhh social psychology. It’s so fascinating.

  16. OH MY GOSH. If I ever need to communicate this to an extrovert I will send them this way. You are totally in my mind right now. Let me have some alone time for goodness sake. I will get over everything and will be funny and charming. And kill me if I ever have to engage in small talk. Kill me! Thanks for speaking on behalf of all introverts!

    • Oh it warms my heart to know so many fellow introverts agree and know how it feels!!! You are SPOT ON- just leave me alone and I’ll be my happy normal self in no time. Seriously, just walk away. hahaha!

      Thanks for the comment!

  17. I have been trying to tell people for years that I’m really an introvert but people always convince me I’m wrong. After reading this post, I’m more sure than evuh! Thank you for sharing this, Courtney! Love it!

    • I’m so glad it was helpful in figuring out your social style, heheh! If you are more in the middle and not REALLY introverted or REALLY extroverted, it can be really hard to figure out. I’ve done a lot of reading on both styles, it’s pretty fascinating! There are even entire websites dedicated to introverted people, haha! Who knew. Thanks for the comment my fellow introvert πŸ™‚

  18. Bang on, Courtney. Small talk is my absolute pet hate. I too have only recently realised that it is the reason why I find the pub/club thing so painful. Shouted conversations with strangers about nothing of any value? I’ll pass thanks…
    Great post. πŸ™‚

    • Isn’t it so relieving when you realize why you hate those situations?! I always felt so guilty (which is ridiculous in the first place)….but I just didn’t know why I hated them and everyone else seemed to LOVE the bars/clubs! Ugh, not for me. Even for my bachelorette party I went to a gorgeous cabin the the woods with 7 of my girlfriends, it was perfect!! No bar crawls or crazy clubs for me πŸ˜€ And thanks for reading!

  19. I also hate going to bars/clubs for that exact reason! It is kind of frustrating to my more extroverted friends that I never want to “go out,” but I’d much rather meet people in a different setting. Small talk is awk talk.

    • Ahhhh there ARE others like me out there YESSSS! hahah πŸ™‚ Thankfully I’m finally to the age where MOST of my friends prefer to do more homebody activities, BBQ’s, movies, dinners, and other random things as opposed to wild, drinking, crazy nights. I get tired just thinking about going to a bar at 11pm on a Friday night, no thank you!

      awk talk. Yes. love that.

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