Know any introverts? Better yet, are you one? Either way, you're probably aware that introverts typically dislike crowds and prefer the company of two or three close friends over a large social event. And some just prefer being alone, period.

I also recently learned that, supposedly, introverts are guilty of a few oddball behaviors and go to great lengths in order to avoid social situations or talking to people. These are real head-scratchers, as you'll see. 

In an intriguing article, Anna LeMind, founder and lead editor of Learning Mind, clues us in to what "every introvert has done at least once in their lifetime in order not to talk to people." I'd be curious to know if my introvert readers actually agree with her assertions.

Here are the ones that really stood out for me, according to LeMind.

1. They pretend they're not home when the doorbell rings.

LeMind says, "They will quietly approach the door, making sure their steps won't be heard and will look into the peephole. And if it's a stranger or someone they don't want to see, they will pretend that no one is at home." Since I work from home and am borderline extrovert, I'm not entirely convinced this only applies to introverts. In my case, I just don't want to be bothered by the next Jehovah's Witness (with all respect to Jehovah's Witnesses) while in a massive state of flow (like writing this piece). But, for introverts everywhere seeking solitude, I can sympathize with how an unexpected visit from a friend could completely ruin their alone time enjoying a tea time over a book.  

2. They change walking direction to avoid crossing someone's path.

You know you're guilty of this countless times over if you're an introvert, which makes me wonder if I'm way more of an introvert myself!  While most of us can just walk down the hall or street, see a colleague, greet her with a "hey" and continue on our route, introverts will literally go the extra mile to avoid people. LeMind says, "[If] an introvert is lucky enough to notice an acquaintance before they notice them, they will do everything for the sake of avoiding this uncomfortable encounter. Hiding, covering their face or even turning in the opposite direction." She adds, "Isn't it much easier to walk an extra couple of miles than to be trapped in an awkward chat with someone you don't like? Well, it certainly is so for introverts." 

3. They take refuge in the bathroom.

LeMind says "this is one of the top crazy things that all introverts do." If you notice a colleague taking longer break than usual, you can bet they're taking sacred refuge in the lavatory (assuming your place of work has private toilets) to take a social break from people. LeMind says, "[A] bathroom is the only place where you won't be disturbed. And it is the only place you can go without explaining yourself to others." It's also good for productivity, as being isolated from people by taking a social break will recharge your batteries in the short term.

4. They make excuses.

Pay attention to who doesn't show up to company events like annual Christmas parties, picnics, or cocktail mixers -- they may be your company introverts. LeMind says, "Introverts will use the full power of their creativity to make up the best excuses for not going to social gatherings." In fact, they can devise elaborate plans just to avoid uncomfortable social interactions where they will have to talk.

5. They avoid local cafés and stores.

The reason for this is plainly obvious, as it has to do with avoiding people and conversations. LeMind says, "Imagine that you've found a great place with the yummiest coffee ever. You go there once, you go there twice and at some point, the barman remembers you and the way you drink your coffee. So he smiles at you and asks you, 'What's up?' For most people, this will be a great bonus to a high-quality coffee they can buy there," states LeMind. "But introverts' way of thinking is different. They will feel awkward about such unexpected friendliness and will never go to that café again."

Do you agree? My final thoughts

So what do you think, do you agree or disagree, if you're an introvert?

My issue with introverts as depicted in LeMind's account is whether they are a misrepresentation of socially-adjusted introverts in high-impact roles requiring people-skills and collaboration. Her illustrations of introverts as mysterious, paranoid, and cast as sufferers of some sort of social anxiety disorder who can't cope with life is discouraging.

Susan Cain, author of the bestseller, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, defines introverts in a much more positive light as "people who prefer quieter, more minimally stimulating environments."

Melissa Dahl, editor of The Science of Us, and author of CRINGEWORTHY, may have put it best when she said: "In the bulk of the research on personality psychology, introversion is usually defined by what it is not: extroversion. If extroverts are assertive and enthusiastic individuals who thrive in highly stimulative social environments, then introverts are the opposite."

End of story.

Or is it? Do you behave according to the five points above? Share your quirkiest moments in the comments (or on social media).

Published on: May 9, 2018
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