Confessions of Introverts: They’re Not as Shy as You Think

Introverts know they're not as anti-social, stuck-up, or awkward (read: "super weird") as people think. Often categorized by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as INTJs, introverts simply prefer to be a little quieter, a little more thoughtful, and a bit more observant. That behavior, however, can be mystifying to extroverts, who thrive on boisterous conversation and constant attention. So what's actually going on in the mind of your introverted friend? We asked Shine readers to fess up and share what it's really like to be an introvert. Whether they wish they could become more extroverted, or are perfectly comfortable being "the quiet one," here are their confessions:

It's true, an introvert doesn't want to make small talk at your party: “I go to drastic lengths to avoid social events. Folks, I had my labor induced so I could skip a Christmas party. Well, okay, maybe I also did it because it was my due date, and I was ginormously, uncomfortably pregnant. Still, I was not a bit disappointed when everyone else went the party and did all the socializing for me." – Sarah Cotchaleovitch

Extroverts aren't really so bad: "Even though I prefer to surround myself with a small, close-knit group, many of those in my circle are extroverts. I enjoy their energy, conversation, and charisma. I even married an extrovert! My husband surrounds himself with friends, loves to talk, and is usually the center of attention. I love him for this." – Darcy Chappel

Introverts prefer not to step on toes: "I have never felt comfortable to speak up or correct someone. Never once did I correct a teacher when they called me a name that wasn't mine. I even remember one time I had a teacher constantly call me 'Melissa,' but I did nothing about it. I was still getting my assignments graded and didn't have any marks against me, so who was I to correct a teacher?" – Michelle Stevens

Awkward silences are OK: "People really don't know how to be quiet. For me, awkward silences don't feel awkward, but other people feel the pressure to fill the silence with jabber. And when you don't add to the conversation, they will keep going! It is amazing how long someone is willing to keep up a one-sided conversation just to avoid silence." – Stephanie Constantino

They're shy. So what?
"I'm shy, not broken. I'm not 'Tiffini from marketing' with her stilettos and neon skinny jeans. Accept that. Don't tell me to 'fake it 'till I make it' or 'just be yourself.' I am being myself. And myself does not need to impress anyone in order to feel content. I can be a whole person and still prefer to stay home, drink tea, and watch a 'Gilmore Girls' marathon." – Sarah Aiken

Animal companions are preferred: "Animals? Yes! If there's an animal around, chances are I'm going to gravitate towards the animal. This doesn't mean I'll pay less attention to you. Oh,wait! Yes, it does. Sorry, I have an easier time opening up to animals than other people." – Keara Hopkins

They're thinking up a storm: "I choose to live more quietly than others. When speaking up is necessary, I do. In that moment, the extroverts I know, the ones used to me rolling with the punches, become upset. They are blindsided by my sudden appearance and strong opinions. Of course, I have the latter, too. Most introverts do; the quiet storm inside of them often affects the world." – Stephanie Modkins

PDA? No, thank you: "I am terrified of kiss-cams or any other sort of coerced public visibility. In no way do I understand the fun or appeal of this practice. Please, let me embarrass myself on my own terms. Public proposals make my skin crawl. Potential future husband, if you're out there, take note." – Patty Brewster

Introverts envy extroverts (just a little): "I wish I could be more extroverted. Sometimes I think that it would be easier for me to be more extroverted. Maybe I would have more friends. I wouldn't feel so awkward in new social situations. I'd have an easier time expressing my thoughts verbally to others, but I also wouldn't be the same person that I've grown to love over the years. However, it would be nice to see, even if just for a day, if the grass really is greener." – Jamie Mayes

Are you an introvert? Share your confessions in the comments.