Introverts are known for their quirky behaviors that usually confuse other people. 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.
Here are a few weird behaviors any introvert will recognize in themselves, and the little-known reasons behind them:
Not picking up phone calls and pretending you are not at home
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.
Avoiding making phone calls
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.
Hiding from neighbors or acquaintances in the street
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.
Using really weird defense mechanisms
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.
Pretending to have plans but in reality just staying at home
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.
Weird introvert behaviors make perfect sense… to introverts
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 comments below!
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This Post Has 22 Comments
Correct. That’s how I operate my life.
This is how I roll…
Almost right on the dot cant be perfect nothing really is
I know someone who claims to be an introvert, but I think she is full of it. I believe that she just read up on the behaviors of an introvert and uses it for whatever reason. Now in the article it says “avoids making phone calls” SHE WORKS IN A CALL CENTER CALLING AND TALKING TO STRANGERS ALL DAY, EVERYDAY! Then the part about “pretending to have plans” that’s a crock because she is out ALL THE TIME! Again, I believe that she read up on the quirky behaviors of introverts and uses it. She is always telling people that she is an introvert? Why keep announcing it? I know a few people where all 5 of those behaviors fit them to a T, but they have never called themselves an introvert.
Sooooo accurate 😅😅
..and for decades, I thought it was just me, being weird 😮 I have been called all sorts of weird ..and so believed it .
this is scarily accurate . !!
ALTHOUGH ..when I am walking out & about, I do tend to chat to people and enjoy it . 🙂
I do all those things…lol
Huh! And I thought it was depression. Thanks for putting this out there. I’m an introvert and all of the above.
The weird things mentioned here are very true to my nature. I am an INFJ. I behave the exact way most of the time. Till I read the article, I dont know why I behave like this. I am happy to know the reasons. I am thankful for the author Anna for explaining them clearly. Recently, i came to know my personality. From then I am refering articles about INFJ. I now understand why i behave the way i behave
Despite the thrive in solitude, its an irony that we are not alone, in at least these traits.
I am an INFP and am guilty of things mentioned here but not to what people say is a disabling point. I’m not an ambivert because that implies balance. I had no siblings & the first six years of life were spent alone. This (I believe) meant I lived in my mind and imagination. This is what has caused me the most trouble and misunderstanding. I still live there. It isn’t bothersome to me (defense mechanism) because it has made me a thinker and opened my mind to be interested in most everything and wanting to understand. People who don’t know me can be perplexed or offended at times, the ones who know me adjust & are ok with it.
However, living in your mind comes with personal cost especially with introversion. It can cause depression, it can stifle ambition, it removes valuable time with loved ones. The good part is I still have my sense of humor. Being able to make people laugh (especially at yourself) does wonders.
Thank you for sharing this with us! What you say sounds very familiar to me, so I thought you might want to read these articles as well:
Anna – Thank you.
I am also an INFP and have found that if I want to understand something that I will understand it in a quicker manner than others, but I have also felt the void where ambition should be. It is incredibly difficult for me to muster the enthusiasm to care about the material world and were it not for my family I am positive I would have been homeless long ago. My sense of fairness and love makes me want to change this for the sake of those who help me but not for my own. At my core I dont care and would sooner drift off into world I have created…. Sometime I think I am not meant for life.
Shocked to read this.. someone stole my characteristics..
The Phone Calls! My sister never understands why I would rather go to school sick than call in sick,oof
Then you get the introvert who is also ASD/PDD-NOS (Aspergers) who cannot read or understand “body language”.
Now you are down to texting and emails, period.
Avoiding phone calls
I love this. This is 100% me! It was like it had been written personally about me! What does frustrate me though (not here but in other write ups as you have written a perfect piece) is when introverts are labelled as shy and severely lacking confidence! Read up everyone- not so! I can cope with any social occasion big or small and walk into a room of total strangers and speak to each and everyone of them but as a consequence will suffer a people hangover the following day😆I.e. exhausted!💝
These weird ass behaviors cause me lots of problems.
“Pretending to have plans but in reality just staying at home.”
Wow, that one made me laugh! It reminded me of a description of Eddie Kaspbrak’s dysfunctional relationship with his mother (who seems to me to be an extremely unhealthy Enneagram Type 2) while reading Stephen King’s “It”. It described how Mrs Kaspbrak was chatting to her neighbor. She was affronted when her neighbor suggested to her that it was good for her son Eddie to have friends, and when the neighbor later phoned her to ask if she was still going to their Bingo night as usual, Mrs Kaspbrak said coldly that she believed that she’d just “stay at home and put her feet up, instead”.
I guess that, to extroverts, saying that you can’t hang out with them because you’ve already arranged to see some other friends is feasible because who in their right mind would decline an invitation to hang out or party with your friends just to hang out with YOURSELF?? That explains why saying straight out that you’d rather stay at home or go to the library would be taken as a deliberate snub. Because from an extrovert, that would definitely be a snub.