The introvert possibility movement has been a wonderful thing for quiet people. Finally, we introverts are being seen as people with their own unique gifts and talents rather than a “broken” extroverts.
It has also had some unintended negative effects, though. One of these is that some (though of course not all) introverts use their introverted nature to excuse behaviors that most people actually consider rude or annoying. I’ve done it myself from time to time. But it’s not a good things and I really think we should stop.
I hesitated to write this post because so many introverts have been wrongly accused of being rude simply because people misinterpret our introverted natures. We talked about that in a post earlier this week, “5 Things Introverts Do That Might Seem Rude to Others, but Are Actually Normal For Us.” But setting that aside, there are certain things that some introverts do that really can be rude or annoying and which we use our introverted nature as an excuse for. Let’s take a look at five of them.
1) Refusing To Small Talk
I know, I know — introverts hate small talk because it creates barriers between people. Well guess what? Most people hate spending all their time on small talk. But they also recognize that small talk is an important step in relationships and there are times when refusing to engage in small talk is just plain rude.
Introverts say we’re private people who don’t want to pour out our deepest soul to someone we just met. But then we also don’t want to talk about shallow things, so we stay silent and then complain about how no one wants to talk with us. I know because I’ve been guilty of this myself. If we want to connect with people, sometimes we need to start out with small talk before diving into the deeper conversations we crave.
2) Avoiding Human Interaction
I had a very similar point in my article about things introverts do that seem rude but are actually normal. Whether or not avoiding human interaction is rude depends on the context. It’s not rude to take a break from interacting with people because you need to recharge. Introverts need down-time (usually alone) in order to function.
However, when introverts refuse to take responsibility for their social lives or purposefully ignore their friends it’s not a good thing. We shouldn’t let introversion be an excuse to check-out from the world as a whole. It’s rude to others and it’s not healthy for us. We need to learn to balance our “introvert time” and our investments in relationships.
3) Indifference to the World
I’ve been guilty of this one too. The world inside my head can seem so much more interesting than the world outside. And of course there’s a limit to the amount of energy anyone can expend caring about things, so if you put all your time and energy into your own private world you might not enough energy left to engage with the outer world.
Introverts are naturally wired to prefer the inner world, but it’s not healthy for us to stay there all the time. It’s hard to grow if you stay in your comfort zone. And it’s hard to build relationships if you’re zoned out all the time. We open up new opportunities for personal growth, as well as build and strengthen relationships, when we engage with the external world of people, ideas, and things.
4) Being Excessively Blunt or Cruel
This isn’t necessarily an introvert-specific problem. I was hesitant to include it on this list, but I’ve seen it brought up multiple times in the context of whether or not introverts are rude. Some introverts feel that there’s no need for social niceties and they’ll use introversion as an excuse to be excessively blunt or even cruel. But being deliberately mean is rude no matter what your personality type.
It’s okay to be honest and direct. There are even times when a diplomatic reply won’t be the best way of getting your point across. But if we use our introversion or social awkwardness as an excuse to be rude then we’ve gone too far. Being an introvert doesn’t make you mean and rude and itnroversion should not be used as an excuse for such behavior.
5) Acting Superior
I often see introverts complaining about how extroverts act superior when they’re really annoying and shallow. But in reality, both introverts and extroverts have complex and interesting layers to their personalities. Being an introvert doesn’t make you superior and acting as if that’s the case makes you rude.
We should use personality theory to understand ourselves and others better, thus learning to appreciate that everyone has unique gifts and talents to offer. Knowledge of type should give us a better appreciation for everyone, not puff us up to think our personality preference is better.
Your turn! Do you agree/disagree with this post? Are there times you’ve used your introverted personality as an excuse to do something that might be a bit rude or annoying?
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