Inside the Noisy Introvert Head

whatIThinkI’m sliding down into the weekend, and not inspired to write today, so let’s discuss how introverts talk inside their heads, shall we?

Here’s what it’s like inside my head:  I’m curious about so many things.  I love a leisurely mental cruise to nowhere in particular.  But that also means I have a ton of stuff in my head.  The sheer tonnage of it all is daunting.  I’d love to see an extrovert keep up with the small talk in my head.  That would turn them off of small talk forever.  Sweet revenge!

Because there is so much careening around in between my ears, it’s hard getting it to come out my mouth.  It’s not that I can’t grab anything long enough to talk about it… not at all.  It’s a matter of having twelve or fifteen separate and parallel trains of thought that I could bring out at any time.  By the time I choose only one, the conversation has moved on.  That’s why I spend a lot of time saying, “Why didn’t I think to say that THEN?”  Don’t you hate all those brilliant things you think of right after the moment has passed?

I also have this habit of mentally rehearsing things I’m going to say.  Cee (my better half)  understands when I say I’m just scripting.  That means I’m quiet because I’m writing or rehearsing an anticipated conversation with someone.  I do lots of that.

But then I also forget to say things out loud, thinking that I already have.  Hence Cee’s frustration with me from time to time.  So I’ve gotten to the point of prefacing a lot of my comments with, “Did I tell you about xyz, or was it just in my head?”  If she gives me that slightly frustrated but secretly in love with my maddening genius look, I know I forgot to say it out loud.

But Cee’s also an introvert and her thing is to start a conversation mid way through instead of at the beginning so I’m never quite sure of what she’s talking about.  It will take me a few sentences to figure out it’s something we discussed two days ago at dinner and she just has a new perspective.  She’ll also jump topics without warning and jump back to them, also without warning.  It’s like playing ping pong sometimes.  Ah, the introvert mind!  Always so busy.

To go along with the rehearsing, I also have to spend a lot of time reviewing things.  I think that’s part of the drain of being with other people.  I review afterwards.  It’s how I learn and come to understand human interactions.  The more meaningful the experience, the more review I do afterwards.  The longest introspection is always after one of my grief support groups, just because they are such moving experiences.  I’m silent for hours afterwards, just processing all that went on.  If that processing time gets interrupted, it will resume as soon as I get more quiet time.

OK, the floor is yours.  Does any of that resonate with you?  What goes on inside your head?  Does any of this ring true for you?  What’s different in your mind?  Leave your comments below.

After you comment, come back up here and click this link to see some amazing…

Now admit it, how many of you clicked the link before leaving a comment?  Curiosity got the better of you, didn’t it?

Hi.  I’m Chris.  I’m an introvert.  Look for my ongoing series debunking the introvert myths (Sunday) and introvert cartoons (Wednesday), plus anything else interesting that I find in the meantime.  Come and share with like-minded introverts.  I also contribute to the new food blog Three’s Cooking, learning to cook from the heart, for the soul.

32 thoughts on “Inside the Noisy Introvert Head

  1. Oh yes! My mind is already working on this. Started while reading.
    But now I have to think… can’t just write down all the thoughts immediately…
    Hopefully I get around to write something as well. Not just end up with a lot of thinking. Something like that could very well happen, you know.
    Does that happen to you too? The urge to write drowns in all the thinking?

    • OMG, yes. Then I try to write things down and lose the train of thought because I write too slowly. Or my writing becomes even more indecipherable than it normally is because I’m writing too fast. I tried typing them all in the computer but could never find an app that would keep up with all of my thinking. These silly things are supposed to be so darned fast why can’t they keep up with my thinking?

  2. Ah! I’m also curious about gazillions of things and certainly have a lot of ‘clog iron’ in my head…. And the mental rehearsal stuff does ring a bell, done that at times in the past when I didn’t feel confident about something. And I do the starting in the middle of a topic sometimes! But is this introvert stuff, or just being human? 🙂

  3. Hahaha my husband and I are like that with conversations, too – we bounce like pingpong balls but we’re so close we always know the reference points and just pick up there again! It’s hilarious reading about it, you described it perfectly!

  4. Oh yes! So much resonance it’s a chord, and I’ll have to sit down and sort out the notes before I can comment properly. Not sure I’m as lucid about it as you – maybe it’s age. I can sidetrack myself from one word to the next (I always think in words, I find).

    • Me, too. I love hearing the words in my head. I can speed read but don’t because then I can’t enjoy the words. Maybe that’s why I’m having so much trouble learning Mandarin, there are no words, just pictures to represent ideas. I will have to ponder this.

  5. Sounds all too familiar, especially about feeling drained after being with people. Funny thing is, when I was younger, I was an absolute extrovert, I felt energized with people, but as I have aged it is the reverse. I am still very sociable and people find it easy to talk to me and tell me their whole life story while in line at the grocery store. However, I always pay the price afterwards and as you said I review it. Going to sleep is the hardest for me, my mind has too much going on and it is hard for me to silence it long enough to doze off. Love your blog and thanks for talking about this subject; I feel less crazy 🙂

    • “I feel less crazy”. That is the best compliment I could ever wish for. Thank you for that.

      I think the world is getting even more extroverted. Look at all the wild X games kinds of things where they are trying more and more extreme things. And these massive cruise ships with 4,000 people and rock concerts on them. Multitasking is pushed on us at work, too. We’re supposed to be constantly connected and able to respond in a flash. I wonder if those people who were more in the middle of the “vert” continuum, like you describe in your youth, and getting too overwhelmed by it all and shifting more and more to the “intro” side. Just a thought.

      • Probably, because I was always “out there” it could have been I got burnt out and I think motherhood changed me too. Either way, I like being an introvert, but it can be taxing recovering from people. I am a big believer in energy and the transference of positive and negative, albeit positive energy can be overwhelming to process too.

  6. LOL! I had to read out loud do my husband the description of how Cee conducts a conversation—it is so spot on to how I talk. He loved it. Thanks for making us laugh over something that can sometimes really frustrate him.

  7. Yes, yes, yes. Your drawing captures us perfectly. Multiple parallel thought – neverending. Reviewing everything – hours in contemplation. You captured our essence so well.

  8. Absolutely how my mind works. Perfect description and quite enlightening. So THIS is why I never say anything when I’m in a small group of people!!! Part of being an introvert revealed. This is why I love your blog. If we could only take pictures from our minds and hold it up to our friends, it would solve so many problems! Aaaahhhhh!

  9. I can relate to much of this – I forget to say things out loud a lot! (Or, I over-compensate and repeat things because I couldn’t remember if I said them or not. This frustrates my husband – when I’m wrapped up in my head, I hear him but I don’t listen. I don’t mean to do it, but it happens (too often.)

    What’s really freaky is when I’m thinking about something and my husband opens the conversation about what I was thinking about. It’s like, “whoa, how did you just get in my head?!”

  10. I am constantly jumping from one topic to the next and back again during conversations. Sometimes the topic is something that was recently discussed, other times it might be something from a conversation that was had months ago.
    I also tend to repeat myself while trying to get my point across because my brain can get stuck on one idea and I’m hoping that by talking about it I can come to some sort of understanding about it. That might stem from my anxiety issues though.
    I also tend to rehearse what I’m going to say to people, which is part of the reason why I hate talking to people on the phone and would much rather speak via writing.

  11. I completely relate to both ways of interacting . I’m an introvert married to a typical extrovert and I always have a few trains of thought on the go. The train does occasionally derail! I also do the conversational thing of referring back to a previous conversation and then my husband has to try to unravel what I’m on about!

  12. It’s like you have visited my head, observed then written a post about what goes on in there!

    Sometimes it feels like I have several different thoughts going on at the same time, but I don’t even know how that is possible…

  13. As a small child, my mom told me strangers would approach me and try to interact with me and tell me how “adorable” I was and my response was to give them a cold stare and say nothing – often even hiding behind her to make them disappear. She brings this up often because it embarrassed her.

    For as long as I can remember, I was very skeptical of people and the more they appeared to be comfortable with entering my space, the more uncomfortable I became. Now that I am a mother myself, I see my daughter do the same thing and I feel grateful for my ability to understand how she feels and allow her to respond in that way without pushing her to make other people feel more comfortable by reciprocating their enthusiasm. I admire it about her, and in turn, have become more accepting of the same quality in myself.

    So for me – I suppose I think of it less in terms of all the thoughts in my head, but more as a form of protection. Perhaps that’s a darker form of introversion but one I think has saved me time and time again. I size people up, that’s what I do. I know within seconds whether I can let my guard down or not and even then – you better give me some time because I’ll only loosen my belt one inch at a time.

    Not sure if this answers your question, but it’s what came up for me 🙂

  14. I can definitely relate, Chris. I’m notorious for doing what Cee does…start a conversation in the middle. Of course I’ve been having it inside me head for a while before I open my mouth at some point. LOL!

  15. I can SO relate to this. I think that’s one reason I enjoy writing so much — it provides me a lot more space to process my thoughts and formulate them in the best way to get across what I want to communicate. Speaking my thoughts out loud usually ends up badly ;p It’s an important skill to have, though, so I still practice! Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could all just carry around a pad and pencil and have conversations that way? 😉

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