Being an introvert is never easy. It’s exhausting to go about your day sometimes. Communication problems plague every conversation. Every interaction brings up thoughts of self-doubt, self-consciousness and more often than not, fear of embarrassment.
Of course, not every introvert has social anxiety. However, even the most socially confident introverts find too much interaction to be a struggle. When you’re the type to thrive alone, conversational problems are common just for lack of practice or natural communication ability.
Communication Problems Introverts Have
Being Honest About Your Feelings
Most introverts also happen to be people pleasers. This means you never want to upset anyone, say “no” or let others down. This communication problem tends to be caused by a fear of rejection or the wrath of others.
Have you ever been to a restaurant and had the wrong meal delivered? How about booking a seat at the movies, only to find someone else sitting in it? If you’re lucky, you have a more confident friend who sorts these issues for you, so you don’t have to.
These are the kind of interactions introverts shy away from, for a number of reasons. Introverts don’t want to embarrass or hurt others. Introverts are very empathic, so we understand that, usually, someone has just made a mistake and we don’t want to cause them any upset. Finally, we tend to avoid conflict situations.
You might also suffer from an inferiority complex, leading you to feel like your place in the world isn’t as important as others. This means we avoid being honest because we don’t think we matter. There is also the deep fear that they’ll argue back, and that’s the last thing an introvert needs. Intense interactions are incredibly draining on the energy and require a lot of self-confidence that some introverts don’t have.
How to overcome it:
The best way to overcome this communication obstacle is to work on your own self-confidence and self-worth. As you learn and begin to believe that you’re worthy of having your needs met, you’ll be more willing to stand up for yourself. You’ll never let others push in line ahead of you again, once you see that you deserve to be respected and listened to.
Accepting Praise and Compliments
Introverts struggle to take compliments and enjoy praise when it’s being given out. There could be several causes behind this communication problem. At times, it can seem like you’re just being humble, but it’s a chronic issue.
One of the hardest things for an introvert to do is be the center of attention. All eyes on us feels terrifying. We’d rather fly under the radar, but compliments and praise bring all the attention on us alone. Then our own self-doubt creeps in and we start to wonder if they’re exaggerating, or even playing a cruel joke. The chances of them being genuine and us actually having done something well seem so low.
We also worry that we have to say something heartfelt in return, and not mess it up. Digging deep is hard to do on the spot, but we feel under pressure to give them something good in return.
How to overcome it:
To overcome the fear of compliments and praise and get over this communication problem for good is again to believe in yourself. People don’t give compliments as cruel jokes, that kind of awful behavior only happens in movies.
It’s okay to want to humble when accepting praise, but a gentle “thank you” will go a long way. Instead of deflecting to the age-old “oh, it was nothing”, try to enjoy the idea that someone noticed and appreciated something you did.
Being Heard in Large Groups
More often than not, an introvert doesn’t want to be heard in groups. We’re happy to sit back and watch others chat away without really being noticed. This becomes a problem when you do have something to say, but you aren’t the type to demand attention from the crowd. Speaking up in a loud, confident voice isn’t a skill most introverts have.
In situations like a meeting at work, or a group talking about something you really care about, being quiet doesn’t pay off. You want your views to be heard, either because it’s important or because you just want to join in.
How to overcome it:
Overcome this communication problem by standing your ground. Your voice is important and, believe it or not, others will want to listen. Just as you’re happy to listen to what your friends or co-workers have to say, they’ll do the same for you. Trust me.
You could try having a sort of confidant, who will open up a space for you in the conversation if you aren’t confident (our loud) enough to jump in yourself. Never give up trying to be heard, even if you have to restart a few times.
Handling Invasive Conversations
Sometimes, people who aren’t super close to us try to get too deep too soon. There’s nothing an introvert loves more than a deep, hearty conversation, but only with someone they’re very close to.
When unfamiliar people push those boundaries, we tend to clam up. We don’t know what to say so often we just mumble our way through and escape as fast as we can. We don’t want to seem rude or make a fuss over a subject that is sensitive to us but may seem small to others.
There is hope though, this communication problem is fixable. Standing up for yourself is hard as an introvert, but you deserve to feel comfortable. As long as you understand that, you’ll never have to feel uncomfortable again.
How to overcome it:
We can be a little too invasive at times, that’s who we are as nosey humans. Some people simply don’t understand what is and is not appropriate, though. Fortunately, you have every right to tell them to back off and any decent human would respect that.
If someone has overstepped, it is well within your rights to say that you aren’t comfortable talking about that subject. Any person who forces you to cross those boundaries isn’t worth your time. Offer an alternative and move on or find a distraction. There is no need to sacrifice your own mental state or comfort just to avoid feeling like the bad guy.
Being an introvert brings up so many communication problems.
It’s hard to navigate the world when you don’t really want to chat, and you’re not really sure how to. Each problem can be overcome though, and you aren’t alone. Build your self-confidence and believe that you deserve to be respected, listened to and given plenty of opportunities to voice your own opinions. There is nothing rude, or wrong, about speaking up for yourself.
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