There are countless articles on the web that describe weird introvert behaviors and habits, and yes, I must admit, I’ve written a few of those myself too. :) But there is not so much information on the actual motives behind those behaviors. You see, some things introverted people do make perfect sense to them but not to everyone else. And most of the time, these things have to do with the way an introvert’s brain works. We don’t try to stand out or get attention by behaving in an eccentric way – we just want to stay comfortable in our cozy introverted shell. I recently received a question on Quora about introverts not liking talking on the phone. And it made me think about the real reasons behind this misunderstood phone phobia. Yes, most introverts avoid talking on the phone or at least have a preference for other types of communication.
The sound of a ringing phone or doorbell can be really terrifying when you don’t expect any calls or visitors. And it has to do with the concept of personal space which is sacred for all introverts. Receiving a call from a stranger or seeing an unexpected visitor at your door is like someone is invading into your secret temple of quiet and solitude. It’s as if someone is threatening the perfect harmony of silence and privacy that you created. And any introvert will do anything to protect their sacred private space, so they will avoid these types of situations at any cost. Introverts also need time to analyze a situation and think it over to come up with the best reply. That’s why we prefer written communication over talking. It gives us the necessary time to think and express our thoughts in the best manner possible. A phone call doesn’t give us this privilege. The situation where you need to make a phone call can be even more terrifying for an introvert. Sometimes it can take 20 minutes or so to find the courage, put your thoughts in order and dial that phone number. Why do introverts struggle with making phone calls that much? In general, introverts don’t like unexpected outcomes, that’s why we feel uncomfortable with calling strangers or people we don’t know well. After all, you never know where that phone conversation is going to head, do you? Introverts also tend to rely on non-verbal communication, which includes body language, facial expressions and other behavioral nuances. We are, in fact, pretty good at reading people and detecting tiny inconsistencies in their behaviors, which reveal inauthenticity and lies. So it makes sense why not seeing the person we are talking to doesn’t help at all. An introvert will feel as if a very important component of communication is missing. Let’s be honest with each other. How many of you, my fellow introverts, have behaved really weird at the sight of a colleague or an old schoolmate passing by? You may have hidden behind a supermarket shelf or covered your face, pretending you are coughing. Similarly, before leaving home, you may have checked through the peephole and the curtains to make sure neighbors are not there. Why does coming across an acquaintance make introverts that uncomfortable? The answer is simple – we don’t like forced conversations. Introverts appreciate meaningful communication with like-minded people they can trust. So having friendly chitchat packed with small talk topics and awkward questions is not our thing at all. Introverts want to talk when they really have something to say, not because the unwritten social rules require them to. That’s why we dread coming across a schoolmate who may ask us uncomfortable personal questions or a friendly old neighbor who is always up to small talk. Some of the ways an introvert defends themselves from the outer world may involve some really weird behaviors. Some examples include wearing headphones even when we are not listening to music or hiding in the bathroom. All this aims to protect us from unnecessary social interaction. For example, if you want to ask someone for directions, you will be less likely to address your question to a person who is wearing headphones, right? Introverts know that very well, so it’s simply one more way of protecting their sacred personal shell. As for the bathroom, introverts use it as a refuge while being at work or at a social gathering. Not only talking but even just being around other people for too long can be highly draining for us. So we need to take some time off to recharge our energy levels. That’s why spending a few minutes in the bathroom helps us isolate ourselves from the external world and thus regain our energy in the short term. Another one of the weird behaviors every introvert is known for is rejecting an invitation, saying you have plans. In reality though, you just stay at home by yourself to watch a movie, do something creative or read a book. Every introvert realizes at some point in their lives that it’s easier to say they have plans with other people than to explain why they have more fun alone at home than at some social event. This has a direct connection to the way an introvert’s brain works. It relies on a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine while an extrovert’s brain relies on dopamine. Dopamine participates in the work of our brain’s pleasure and reward centers. It basically makes us notice and chase external rewards, for example, social communication, active sports or adventures. This means that since introverts don’t rely on a dopamine release, they find social interaction less rewarding than extroverts. For this reason, an introvert finds quiet solitary activities more rewarding, such as a walk in the park or reading a book. This explains why we often prefer staying at home to going to a party – we simply know that we will enjoy ourselves more this way. As you see, all those weird behaviors have perfectly logical reasons behind them, and every introvert knows that. Now, the challenge is to explain them to our extroverted family members and friends. But believe me, with time, they will understand and appreciate your introverted personality. Which of your behaviors as an introvert have caused you most troubles and misunderstanding from other people? Please share your story in the comme.
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