Introverts are overflowing with imagination and creativity. We can be skilled and talented in many things, but there’s one thing we struggle with most of the time: small talk.
If you’ve ever tried to talk with an introvert, you may have noticed the conversation usually falls flat. But this isn’t to say that introverts don’t know how to keep a conversation going.
Maybe, you’re just asking or saying the wrong things.
Here’s a list of what not to say to introverts, so you wouldn’t make the mistake others usually make.
17 Worst Things To Say To an Introvert
1. You need to speak more.
Ah, this one is a classic. Introverts are expected to speak more frequently because extroverts do so, so it makes sense that they would do the same.
However, urging an introvert to speak up more is similar to telling an extrovert to shut up more often. And it doesn’t sound too nice, does it? So instead of telling us what to do, remember that we will speak up when we feel like it.
2. You have to go out more.
We enjoy the solitude of our own company more than social gatherings, so we don’t go out as much as extroverts do. If extroverts feel recharged after hanging out with a group of people, well, it’s the opposite for us introverts.
We feel drained after a day of socializing. Why would we go out more if we’ll end up feeling overwhelmed?
We like spending time with friends and family, but we need a lot of alone time to recharge our social batteries. So, the next time you talk to an introvert, don’t suggest that they should go out more.
3. Do you ever get mad?
Please save yourselves and don’t ask an introvert because they will probably be angry with you. Of course, introverts feel a range of emotions, including anger.
And also, don’t ever ask an introvert about their behavior when they are mad. How are we supposed to respond to that question? Do you expect us to give you a glimpse of how we are when we’re angry?
4. Why are you so quiet?
Please keep this in mind if you’re considering what not to say to a quiet person. Never ask us why we are so quiet. What would you feel if someone were to ask you, “Why are you so noisy?”
We may be quiet because we are overwhelmed by the crowd and loud noises. We also take time to warm up to new people, so when someone questions us about why we are so quiet, it may aggravate our current anxiety.
5. Stop being shy.
Wow, I appreciate the advice. Look, I’m no longer shy.
Kidding aside, telling an introvert to stop being shy can hurt their feelings. Being an introvert doesn’t automatically equate to shyness.
I know many introverts who can do public speaking or perform in front of an audience but get flustered and awkward when they have to talk to people.
If you ever want an introvert to “stop being shy,” instead of telling them to stop being shy, consider making them more comfortable.
6. You should smile more.
Of course, there’s another thing an introvert “should do”. It seems like a never-ending list, right?
There are introverts with a “resting B* face.” That’s their default expression, and we cannot do anything about it. Or maybe, the introvert is feeling self-conscious around you, and telling them to smile more only made it worse.
Introverts will smile when they want to. Why don’t you try telling a joke or breaking the ice, and maybe, we’ll give you a smile?
7. Are you okay? Are you mad?
Is something wrong? Are you upset? Are you depressed? Again, if introverts aren’t smiling more often than you want them to, it doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong. And don’t ask the question over and over because we might eventually get upset, for real.
8. Aren’t you bored?
People usually ask this when an introvert is doing something or spending time alone. An introvert may be writing, reading a book, eating alone, or working on a project they enjoy, and someone will ask them if they aren’t bored.
I understand that most of the time, people ask this out of good intentions, but just because we’re alone doing something doesn’t mean we’re bored.
If anything, we’re enjoying our time.
9. What are you doing on [insert day/date]?
This is definitely something you shouldn’t ask an introvert. Don’t ask about our plans for a specific date without telling us why you’re asking. Trust me, we will overthink this.
10. Just talk to them.
Have you ever had a family reunion and your parents ask you to talk to your distant cousins whom you haven’t met before? Or you’ve been admiring this office mate, and your work buddy tells you to come and talk to your office crush?
For introverts, this isn’t an easy task. We hate small talk because we struggle with it.
What are we supposed to ask them when we talk to them—what their favorite color is?
11. You have a presentation tomorrow.
Yes, some introverts don’t have a problem with public speaking, but some do. And when you tell an introvert who’s afraid of public speaking that they have a presentation tomorrow, they will immediately become anxious.
It’s bad enough that they have a presentation, but it’s worse that they don’t have enough time to mentally prepare themselves.
12. Just answer my question.
Because introverts don’t try to keep the conversation going, especially with people they just met, they are often bombarded by questions—and sometimes they are very personal questions.
Asking such questions can make an introvert more uncomfortable than they already are, but insisting they answer your questions is borderline rude. Always remember to respect an introvert’s privacy.
13. Do you have any friends?
This is something you should not ask an introvert because it sounds like you’re implying they’re weird or mean. Introverts have friends, but they prefer to keep their circle small.
14. If you don’t like doing [insert any activity], do you ever have fun?
This is another mean thing to say to introverts. Introverts have a different idea of fun, and there’s nothing wrong with it. We may not like partying or don’t enjoy your definition of fun, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have fun.
15. Do you hate people?
I don’t know the point of asking this from an introvert. Just because we socialize differently doesn’t mean we hate people.
We love being around other people, especially our family and friends, but it also means we’ll need a lot more downtime when our social battery runs out. So, if we ever ignore someone, it doesn’t mean we hate them. We’re just probably drained from socializing.
16. I didn’t know you are talkative.
Yes, introverts can talk. And yes, introverts can be talkative too, especially around family and close friends.
We tend to talk about the things we’re interested in or passionate about, the things we care about, or the things that matter. If we’re comfortable with the person we’re talking to, we can spend hours engaged in a conversation.
If an introvert is not talking to you, it doesn’t mean they can’t, maybe they just don’t want to.
17. Literally anything you say when you’re interrupting.
If you’re wondering what not to say to an introvert, here’s what you should remember: Anything that will interrupt them.
It doesn’t matter if they’re speaking and you decided to butt in (and worse if what you said was nonsense) or if they’re “in the zone” and you said or asked something.
Introverts value their alone time, so learn how to respect that. Introverts are good listeners, so you should also learn to listen when they’re talking.
When you learn someone is an introvert, it’s natural to want to get to know them and understand them better. And if you’re going to strike up a conversation with them, remember to avoid using any of the phrases on this list.
Don’t judge them by their silence, and take note of the worst things to say for an introvert, too. Use the opportunity to learn more about who they are.
Who knows? You might be surprised by what you find out.
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