The Most Awkward Questions I’ve Been Asked as an Introvert
“When an introvert is quiet, don’t assume he is depressed, snobbish, or socially deficient.”Laurie Helgoe
As a life-long introvert, I’ve been asked some pretty ridiculous questions about my introverted personality over the years. Questions that have left me speechless, confused, and downright questioning who I am as a person. In fact, some of the questions I have been asked are completely disheartening and offending.
I’m also surprised at how often I get asked the same questions over and over again. As well as how many times those same questions are asked in an insulting way. And because of that, I often leave the conversation wondering, “maybe there really is something wrong with me?”
Over time, I finally realized that I wasn’t alone. I discovered that there is a whole population of people who have the same introverted personality traits as I do. People who actually embrace their alone time, who are quiet and reserved just like me, and who absolutely loathe small talk.
But in a world dominated by extroverts, introverts tend to stand out from the crowd. Even if that’s the last thing we want.
Naturally, people start asking questions when they notice something different. Which is truly wonderful in itself. The human race wouldn’t have made it as far as we have without being curious and asking questions.
But oftentimes, introverts are questioned about the very core of who they are. And it isn’t always delivered in a pleasant manner. Rather, questions about our personality are often asked in a condescending tone as if there is something wrong with us.
So today, I wanted to share with you some of the most difficult (and awkward) questions I’ve been asked as an introvert. If you’re an introvert yourself, I have a hunch that you’ve been asked some of these too. Sit tight – because there may be some cringeworthy moments ahead.
1. Why are you so quiet?
The first thought that always comes to mind when I get asked this is “why are you so loud?” But then I think to myself, “how crazy is it to ask that question?” So, I keep it to myself and wouldn’t dare say it out loud. (It really is a crazy question, right?)
I’m quiet because it’s just who I am. Just as you are the way you are. I’m not meaning to sound harsh, but it’s frustrating to get asked this like it’s a bad thing or that there is something wrong with being a quiet person. In fact, being quiet can truly be a wonderful thing.
It also seems that some people believe us quiet people have something to hide. Or that we always have something up our sleeve. But really – we are just naturally reserved individuals who often get lost in our thoughts.
Introverts may be known for being the quiet ones. But there is so much more to us than that. We also are reflective, self-aware, observant, compassionate, and great listeners. Which are without question, wonderful qualities for someone to have.
2. Why don’t you ever talk?
I frequently get asked this question after someone has been around me for a period of time and they begin to notice that I don’t talk much.
My most vivid memory of being asked this question was when I was a teenager in high school. If I was in a class where I didn’t know anyone, I would rarely open up unless someone spoke to me first. And over time – people noticed.
For instance, when I was a freshman in high school, a boy who sat beside me for weeks finally asked me one day, “why don’t you ever talk?” I was flabbergasted – I didn’t know what to say. How do you answer a question like that? I thought to myself as I so often do, “why do I have to be the first one to speak up? You had all semester to say something too.”
My brain was in overdrive. I couldn’t even think, let alone say something. After an awkward silence, I’m pretty sure he didn’t know what to say either and just casually laughed it off. And since I was only a teenager, I was absolutely horrified at the outcome of the conversation. I dreaded coming to that class every day after that.
Since most introverts have a quiet nature, we also don’t talk a lot either. Thus, we are perfectly content with long silences or not speaking to anyone. While for others, prolonged periods of silence can be downright excruciating to endure.
Introverts also hate small talk, so we avoid it like the plague. We get no pleasure from it, and for me, it’s robotic and forced. In other words – it feels completely fake.
Personally, words hold a lot of meaning to me. So, I tend to be choosy with my words and don’t blurt out everything that I’m thinking. But for some people, that’s just who they are. And hey – that’s perfectly okay.
3. Are you in a bad mood?
The answer to this question really does depend on the day. But I’ve also been asked this even when I’m in a fantastic mood. I’ve even heard through the grapevine from time to time that I have the infamous “resting bitch face”. I mean, how insulting is that?
But the truth is – just because someone is reserved and not very talkative, doesn’t mean they are always in a bad mood, that they hate people, or cannot carry on a conversation.
Introverts often keep their thoughts to themselves. So, a lot of the time, we’re really just in our own little world. It’s easy for us to get caught up in our thoughts and tune out everything and everyone else.
4. Do you ever get mad?
This question has always confused me. It’s like some people believe that I could possibly be the first human being ever who has never felt angry.
Sometimes, it becomes so silly, that some people have tried to make me angry on purpose, just to see if they can get a reaction. Like what the hell is that? When did it become okay to mess with someone’s emotions like that? There is undoubtedly a difference between joking around and doing it to make someone upset on purpose.
Even though some would never think so, I absolutely do get mad from time to time. I’m a human being just like you. I feel all the same feelings as you do. Introverts just handle their anger differently than extroverts.
For example, if I’m upset at you and we’re around other people, I won’t let you know how I feel in front of everyone else. For me, no one else needs to know that I’m upset with you but you.
I actually find it disrespectful to bring up personal issues in front of a crowd when it has nothing to do with them. I will usually wait until we have a moment alone so I can bring up any frustrations that I may have.
5. Are you okay?
While I know most people mean well when asking this question, it can become quite frustrating as an introvert when you’re feeling just fine, and you keep getting asked this question.
Just because we are quiet and aren’t talking much, we for sure must be in a bad mood and there absolutely must be something wrong. But that’s simply not true.
Yes – we’re just fine. But if we find ourselves in a crowd or a large group of people for an extended period of time, we may get stimulation overload. And the only way for an introvert to recharge from that is some solitude.
Extroverts may find this odd because they actually get their energy from being around people. But for introverts, it’s quite the opposite. That doesn’t mean that we can’t tolerate or even enjoy a crowd from time to time. It just means that we’re likely going to need some alone time afterwards to rejuvenate ourselves.
Before I end today, I do want to say that I think there can be a right way to ask introverts the above questions. Just like a lot of other things, it’s all about the tone in which you deliver the question.
I also believe there is a difference between someone being genuinely interested in your differences, than someone who just wants to push your buttons. And let’s face it, that’s probably not the type of person you want in your life anyways.
While it may seem like all introverts are odd and aloof, we’re really just being our quiet selves. It is the essence of who we are and can be a good thing. Just like the qualities of an extrovert can be a good thing too.
If you’re an introvert – what difficult or awkward questions have you been asked about your personality? Did you find it insulting or were you okay with it? Do you think extroverts get asked similar, but different questions?