Introverts are rude

beQuietThis is the sixth in a weekly series debunking myths about introverts.  (See last week’s post.)  The basis of the 10 week series is the article written by Carl King.  I will show his thinking, add mine and then encourage all of you to contribute your thoughts on the subject.

Don’t know if you’re an introvert or an extrovert?  Take Susan Cain’s quiz.

Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.

Carl:

Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.

Chris:

My dictionary defines “rude” as:  “offensively impolite or ill-mannered”.  I don’t think that any of us intend to be impolite or ill-mannered.  I think it’s just that we’re out of our element in a social or business setting, which are generally extrovert driven.  We’re expected to be outgoing and interested in the other people around us, but that is the one thing that drains us of energy.   It’s the opposite of how an introvert wants to live life.  peopleTired

We prefer meaningful talk to small talk, which to us seems pointless and superfluous.  We’d rather have one quiet and insightful conversation than a hundred rounds of small, small, small talk talk talk.

We aren’t good socializers.  Probably will never be.  Even when we practice before a gathering, rehearsing opening lines, scripting ways of introducing ourselves, choosing conversation starters that we feel comfortable using, the time still comes when we run out of scripted material and have to wing it.  Yeah, that’s the time the wheels come off the bus.  Looming disaster makes us even more nervous, which causes us to becomes even more withdrawn.  We start looking for the escape routes, and then (rudely and precipitously) exit.

And then there’s the blurting.  How embarrassing is that?  You know what that is.  You’ve been trying so hard to come up with a response to something that when you finally formulate one it just comes blurting out of your mouth, usually right in the middle of something being said by someone else about something else.  You’ve been so busy thinking that you didn’t realize the conversation has moved on to another topic.  So you blurt, people stare at you, and you walk away quickly.  Rude!

introvertStareThen there is the famous Introvert Face.  You know that face.  The one where you are (politely) focusing so hard on what someone is saying that you get That Face.  It can look judgmental or angry, but it’s just you, concentrating.  The epitome of introvert politeness can look quite rude to the extrovert.

Then there is the Blank Face, the one we put one when we try to hide the rising panic we feel when it’s past due time to leave and we can’t quite make it to… the… door… just… yet….    You’re screaming inside your head and trying to hide it, so your face goes blank and people get the impression you think they are boring.

When have you been falsely accused of being rude?  Hit the comments and share.

Coming up this week will be our first Club Introvert social event.  Don’t panic.  I guarantee you can meet quietly, and on your own time.  It will be safe for all of us.  We’ll have fun, I promise.  Be sure to join Club Introvert so you don’t miss out.

Have a quiet day!

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.

24 thoughts on “Introverts are rude

  1. The Introvert Face–I know it well. It usually results in someone telling me to “smile” which is annoying. But introverts get so lost in thought we don’t realize it’s showing on our faces. So easy for people to read it the wrong way.

  2. I love this post! I can so relate to the “Introvert Face”. The funny thing is that so often it is my own family that doesn’t “get me”. My very own (majorly extotroverted) sister has insisted at times that I MUST be upset even though I say repeatedly that I am not. Her proof, she says is my “angry face”. I’m so grateful that that my kids and my fiance do understand that my “thinking” face does not mean that I am upset. Thanks for another insightul post!! 🙂

  3. I **so** relate to the post and the comments! Most people (specifically co-workers) are surprised to hear me say I’m introverted because my profession puts me “out on a limb” frequently. I generally explain that it took me a long time to feel comfortable doing what I do. I’m not always so comfortable is social settings. Thanks for a great post!

    • Hello, Cathy,
      I believe I’ve always been an introvert with extroverted tendencies. In fact, I learned how to become an extrovert during high school after having been quite an introverted child. I think I believed that the world could only be taken on through extroverted measures. Now, I too act as an extrovert does while at work. My work requires me to interact with others all day long. And because it’s work, and not socializing, it’s easy because I’m quite a professional. I live a double life of sorts, a well-practiced extrovert by day and a happy little introvert by night. I suspect many introverts have learned to be in the extroverted world, though they are not of it. Me? I’m a comfortable chameleon of sorts.
      Smiles!

      • Hi ♡eM. I suspect many of us are chameleons, having experienced the same! Best wishes to you. 😀

        – Thanks Chris for providing a wonderful forum!

  4. I wrote about my “face” recently, and how for as long as I can remember, people have asked me questions like, “What’s wrong?”, “Are you okay?”, and even, “Are you mad?” For years I was puzzled. Now I realize they just don’t understand. A fellow blogger recently commented that he practiced matching his inner expression with his outer expression using a mirror.

    Most times, I just follow my intuition when it comes to social gatherings. I don’t like big shindigs at all if I’m expected to mingle, but I can quite easily attend crowded lectures, concerts and plays. I don’t enjoy big parties, but do enjoy small gatherings with folks I already know. I decide whether to attend based on how well I have come to know myself.

    A lot of people think I miss out on opportunities, but they have no idea what effects these opportunities have on this wild one within who’d rather write, read, hike in the woods, listen to music, or just spend a quiet evening at home with her loving little family.

    • I’m so sorry that I’m messing with your head! There must be something there for you to identify with introverts so strongly. Have you tried taking any of the Personality tests on the Introvert Info page? They might shed a little light on things.

      • Your personality profile: I.

        I have also been working from home a great deal and I have found that I do miss being around others so I have recently taken a job with less solitude. I think I am just a strange one…I am enjoying your blog immensely!

  5. “We prefer meaningful talk to small talk, which to us seems pointless and superfluous. We’d rather have one quiet and insightful conversation than a hundred rounds of small, small, small talk talk talk.

    We aren’t good socializers. Probably will never be. Even when we practice before a gathering, rehearsing opening lines, scripting ways of introducing ourselves, choosing conversation starters that we feel comfortable using, the time still comes when we run out of scripted material and have to wing it. Yeah, that’s the time the wheels come off the bus. Looming disaster makes us even more nervous, which causes us to becomes even more withdrawn. We start looking for the escape routes, and then (rudely and precipitously) exit.”

    ***This is me to a T but for a living I give presentations to k=large groups and I am quite comfortable. Suddenly I am confused. ☯

    • Ah, I see where that might be confusing. Question: after the presentation do you enjoy staying and mingling with the group? Or are you ready to get back to some peace and quiet?

      I can give presentations to large groups, too, and will even stay afterwards and chat as long as the chatting involves the material covered by the presentation. But as soon as we head off into the realm of Small Talk and being sociable, I’m making my excuses and heading out.

      We leave to be extroverts when we have to, and can even enjoy it, but it drains us a lot at the same time. Then we need the “me time” so that we can get recharged, and that is the introvert.

      • I hate small talk of any kind including networking but have always had a Alpha management position. I usually don’t even say good bye, I just leave unless it will be taken personally I mumble something while I’, backing up . One thing that is a conundrum to me is that I do not like ME time. I have been alone for so many years until recently, I hate alone time. That is why I blog So there’s a twist? What do you think Dr? : )

  6. I haven’t be accused of being rude but I have been accused of being cold, stuck up, and conceited due to my introverted nature. Then when those same people got to see me in a small social setting they said I am nothing like they thought of me.

  7. I am an extrovert with introverted tendencies. My entire life my shyness has been mistaken for rudeness or being “stuck up”.

  8. I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry . . . I have that face, too. Maybe we all need to make masks with nice, extravert smiles and wear them in public . . . I’m very serious and intent; I also ‘get’ things faster when I read, so if I’m listening, I have trouble assimilating meaning. So I focus, which brings on the Face! ;-(

    I think it’s important to remember that I-E is a spectrum; we aren’t always at the exact same place on it, either. Someone close to the centre will test as Introvert sometimes, Extravert other times. I tested at 95% Introvert, but if I prepare myself, allow for quiet time before and after, I do fine at large gatherings. I also cope by finding a way to use my Introvert behaviour in large groups; typically, I seek out one or two people with similar interests or thoughts and then spend most of my time talking to them. If I must circulate, I ask people questions about themselves; that gets me a long way . . . most people like to talk about themselves and it’s not easy to find someone who listens.

    Being that we are somewhere on a spectrum, we also need to remember that our position moves back and forth, depending on several factors. Too much stress and we move toward the I end, too much loneliness (different from alone time) and we move a bit more towards E.

    As to ‘rudeness’, I feel to accuse an Introvert of being ‘rude’ for not being an Extravert (which I feel is really at the bottom of those remarks – how dare I be ‘different’?) is the same as accusing a man of being rude for not being a woman, or a tan person for not being born darker or whatever . . . we feel safer when in the middle of a group just like ourselves; we don’t have to question our own behaviour, our thoughts, anything. Anyone who is ‘other’ causes us to doubt ourselves and so we don’t like it and then we try to get them to change. Childish, isn’t it? When I homeschooled my sons back in the dark ages, I ran into this attitude so often I had a good think about why it is so and that’s what I came up with. People felt that my making a different choice called into question their own choices (more like ‘lack of choosing’) and that made them uncomfortable, which they felt was caused by me. So I was pushed to change to something they felt more at home with. Didn’t happen, though.

    Anyway, I’m sure I could go on and on, but I’ll quit here. ~ Linne

  9. I remember reading that Freud and Adler were Extraverts, so they defined Introversion as innately ‘wrong’ and needing to be fixed. Jung, on the other hand, was an Introvert. Look at the difference in their writings, too. In ‘The Introvert Advantage’ the author gives examples of the loaded language used by Freud and Adler. Very eye-opening! ~ Linne

  10. I haven’t been accused of being rude so much as I have been accused of being a snob! People used to think I was a snob because I had so little to say I would answer their question (politely & concisely) then move on – trying to find a quiet corner where I could wait out the rest of the social commitment without talking to anyone.

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