The Invisible Introvert

invisiblecobbies69 left this comment on yesterday’s Introvert Cartoon of the Week:  “An introvert for me is someone who walks into a party and is never noticed.”  I thought it was a wonderful topic, one that I’ve been meaning to do for a while now.

As introverts, we are torn between two worlds, the visible and the invisible.  We largely want to be invisible, just left alone to enjoy our lives, happy in our quiet solitude, or sometimes sharing it with those few and special people we let see the private side of us.  Those are the nourishing, comfortable, enjoyable times.  Ah, bliss!

But we also have the times when we need to be quite visible.  We want to make our opinions heard at work, for example.  We want to be noticed because we are significant contributors to the world around us.  We matter.  We want to participate.  We put on our best extrovert imitation and go forth to be counted and acknowledged.

Then there are the days when we are stuck in between the two worlds.  I hate those days.  I know you’ve had them, too.  Those are the days when you are the first person at the deli counter and everyone who came after you gets waited on first.  Or you get seated in a restaurant and the tables that are seated after you get their order taken and served before you.   You can raise your hand, wave at the server, and nothing happens.  It’s like you’re stuck in extreme introvert mode and don’t exist in the real world any more.  You finally blurt out in a loud voice, “What am I, invisible?” and the waitress notices you, a surprised look on her face.

How about you?  Share some of your invisible moments with us!

And going back to the comment that started this post, “An introvert for me is someone who walks into a party and is never noticed”, I want to remind everyone to participate in our first Club Introvert social event.  It’s the one party where you can be both invisible and visible at the same time.

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.

19 thoughts on “The Invisible Introvert

  1. Thanks for the mention by the way,,,,,One thing that would annoy me rather a lot,, is people constantly saying to me — ‘cheer up’ it might never happen or similar’. I am usually happy within myself, but what would people say if I had a constant silly smile on my face. I did not realise one had to laugh or smile to be happy or content… I enjoy these it opens ones eyes to what we really take as normal…and happy with it

  2. Great post. You hit the nail right on the head with introverts wanting to be left alone to enjoy life. Unfortunately, I’ve had managers tell me to speak up more, because otherwise I seem invisible. I am working on that at work, but certainly would prefer not having to change my style. It was enough today to find a kindred spirit here and feel understood.

    About parties– I once had a boyfriend who honestly couldn’t believe that I would rather stay home and read on a Friday night than go to a party. We didn’t last long.

    • Thanks, Juliann. I think bosses that tell you to quit being so quiet need some educating in the ways of the introvert. I’m not sure where the balance is in being true to ourselves and trying to pass as an extrovert, but I’m doing a lot of reading and thinking about it. Look for some posts on that.

      I hope the weather in Cincinnati is warming up for you finally. I have a friend in Columbus and I know how she feels about this year’s winter weather.

  3. See, this is part of the reason I call myself a ninja. That and ninjas are cool and I always wanted to be one when I grew up. Great post

  4. This really really resonates with me. As an introvert, I don’t mind quiet, solitude, and (mostly) being left alone. What I do resent is being completely forgotten. Just because I’m not rude and in people’s faces shouldn’t mean I’m completely ignored at businesses. I’m getting better at speaking up for service, but I’m really hurt by being forgotten.

    When I was in college, I worked as a sort of student apprentice in sports medicine at my school. One year I was assigned to women’s basketball, which meant I worked 6-7 days a week, about 35 hours total, and worked all home games, and traveled to nearly every away game (multi-day trips). At the end of the season at the awards banquet, they recognized my supervisor…the student managers…the kid who did the team laundry… the people who worked in the ticket office… the kid who videotaped practices… and even the -backup- kid who videotaped practices, about…5 times ever. Who did they completely ignore and leave out? Me. I should have said something to someone, or at least let them know I was hurt, but it didn’t occur to me.

    I left the program in my senior year, but wasn’t able to give my fellow students a heads up before I left. I heard from a classmate/fellow program student that the supervisors called a meeting after I left, and NONE of the students could figure out who it was that had left. …gee. Thanks. I’d worked with these people for one, two, or three years. I chalk it up to them being self centered and extroverted, but it still rankles.

    At my more recent jobs, people tend to forget to include me in group activities, emails, etc. They don’t notice when I’m in the room. I’m quiet, but I’m also SUPER talkative when you get me started! I’m also like…5’11”. How is this possible? ._.

  5. Being an American introvert in Japan is really weird because you get stared at and and ignored at the same time.
    I consider myself quite introverted, but as a foreigner in rural Japan I was incredibly visible. I had to deal with people coming up and talking to me all the time. At the same time, though, my coworkers and friends would often talk about me like I wasn’t there or forget about me completely when it came to meetings or important information. Sometimes my co-English teachers would ignore me and just kinda do their own thing even when I was standing right there in the classroom.
    I think people expected me to be loud and rude because I was American. They thought I’d speak up if I had something to say. They also didn’t have much of an idea of how much Japanese I could understand, so they’d err on the side of “she understands nothing I say.”
    Also, being quiet and reserved is actually a really good quality in Japanese culture. People would often compliment me and say, “Oh, you’re so Japanese.” Unfortunately, now that I’m back in the States, the weird result of all this is that I’ve become even less assertive than before.
    This comment got kind of long and a little off-topic, sorry about that!

  6. I think the introvert walks into the party and immediately starts looking for an escape route. I don’t see introverts as being invisible (thinking of myself here). I see them as wanting their own space a very large amount of the time. I like people fine – just not that many for very long or too often. 🙂

  7. I am with Jan Wilberg on this one. I can make myself quite visible at times, when I want to. And then I can make myself so invisible that I sometimes hear stuff that was not meant for my ears. And another thing that really still amazes me, is that people, that I have met just that occasion / party / event, will come sit next to me and within the span of the event where we are, tell me their whole life story. And it is not that I even asked them anything about themselves!

  8. One of my closest friends was a very outgoing person. She always made new friends wherever she went. I would regularly tag along with her on weekends which usually began with me being introduced to the newest person she’d met. No one would remember me the next time I saw them. They would re-introduce themselves (up to 3 times in most cases) before they would finally remember I existed and had met them before. I used to swear up and down that I was invisible. My friend eventually would say, “This is ___. She’s invisible.” They would laugh and ask why. The next time they would re-introduce themselves. Good times.

  9. I have often been overlooked at restaurants, in line, etc. I always thought I was too sensitive because I noticed it & was bothered by it. It never occurred to me I was invisible because of introversion – I always thought the extroverts were rude because they made sure they got looked after first. Amazing what a little perspective will do!

  10. So many times I’ve been thinking I should write some clever comments to your posts.
    But what happens?
    What happens is that I get more and more of your posts to read and comment on, until I give up because of the cluttering and shut all the tabs down.
    Silly me.
    And I don’t write some clever comment at all…. 😦

  11. I know this is a very real feeling. I was once talking with a woman who was serving with me in a church assignment. She described herself and her husband as “the invisible people.” They had been members of our congregation for some time, but no one seemed to know them or include them. Not out of overt snubbing, they just kind of “fell through the cracks.” I vowed to be more aware and seek out those who seems to go unnoticed. Gail at Making Life An Art

  12. I hate being invisible to my children! But to be honest your blog has helped me to understand better why this is the case – both of my children are strongly introverted, just like me!

  13. Reblogged this on sixthsense05 and commented:
    As Introvert, I’m like a fly on the wall observing everything thing that passes by, The shirt that people wore, How they talk, their hand gestures, their facial expressions.. While doing that, I’m also appearing invisible to others often.. Because I try to don’t stand out that much.. I’m okay with being ignored.. Possible the best feelings..

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