There are two types of people: the ones who strive to be the life of the party, and the ones who would rather be wallflowers, observing from the distance. Striking up conversations, making new friends and being the center of attention just comes naturally to the former group. The latter group, however, often find socialization incredibly exhausting. Instead of looking forward to it, they resent it with every fiber of their being.
Most introverts would agree that there is simply nothing better than spending time alone. At home, they don't have to force awkward conversations or interact with other people. It's not that they're shy—they can be social if a situation requires them to be. However, spending too much time socializing can often drain introverts both physically and mentally.
That's why some introverted people actively avoid social interaction altogether. Here are some of the lengths introverts have gone to do exactly that:
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I was five minutes late to class, so I decided to skip school altogether to avoid the awkward late entrance.
When I was in the military, I volunteered for deployment to get out of a wedding.
Back when I had roommates I didn’t know very well, I’d spend all day in my room to avoid the awkward pleasantries. I’d get really hungry, but the prospect of explaining why I’d spent all day in my room kept me inside even more. They’d text me and ask if I was okay, and I’d say, “Yep! Just keeping busy with some projects.” They’d also ask if I’d eaten anything, and I’d say, “Yep! Trust me, I’d never go without food!”
Then, I’d wake up at midnight and steal my own food from the fridge.
In high school, I didn’t have a car so I walked home. I used to walk as fast as I could to beat the crowd of people, but there came a point where I just didn’t want to deal with it anymore. So, I would stay in the computer lab sometimes and ask my dad to pick me up a few hours later.
Once the bell rang to go home, I would just stay in class. The teacher, forgetting that I was still in there, would turn the lights off, lock the door, and leave. Honestly, I didn’t mind at all, I got to play video games by myself.
One time, about an hour and a half after school was out, the janitor came in and I guess I scared him. He turned the lights on and literally screamed when he saw me.
Rather than associate with my nosy aunt when I lived with her, I'd tell her I was going out for a while, move my car up the street, and sit in it watching Netflix on my phone for a couple hours.
In seventh grade, I would hide in the science lab to keep the school pets company. I would ask to use the bathroom around ten minutes before lunch and then come back in the last two minutes. People probably thought I had some really bad bowel issues.
They were two birds, two Guinea pigs, and a bunny. I would feed them carrots and talk to them. Nobody knew that I was there for half of the year. Eventually, one of my teachers walked in on me and I thought I was busted. Luckily, she was one of the nicer ones and she made it my official "job" to feed the animals.
My neighbor had double-parked behind me and I needed to get to work. To avoid asking him to move his cars, I ordered an Uber, took it to the train station, rode the train, and took another Uber to my building.
I did the whole thing in reverse to get home at the end of the day.
I wear headphones all the time, even if they're not plugged in. I'm so much more productive at work, and no one approaches me during my commute home. It works wonders to keep people away from you at the gym, too.
I'm not introverted as I used to be, but I still have these moods where I don't want to see a single person until the mood has passed. When I was living in college, I would stand in my closet or bathroom for hours just so I wouldn't have to see the people talking in my room. I ended up hearing a lot of conversations I shouldn't have heard.
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I was going home in a taxi and I must've mumbled my destination because it was quite clear he was going to a completely different destination.
I let the guy drive for 15 minutes in the wrong direction before eventually just blurting out, "Anywhere here will do." I then paid him and started walking aimlessly until I found public transport. A 10-minute cab drive turned into a nearly two-hour journey home.
I lived in a loft downtown on the third floor. The amount of times I used the stairs to avoid being trapped in an elevator with a stranger is too many to count.
One time, there was a family moving in. I walked all the way around the building to the opposite side entrance just to get into the building. They were using the elevators, so I took the stairs... but I quickly realized they were moving their stuff onto my floor. I didn't want it to look like I was trying this hard to avoid them, so I said, "Whoops! Wrong floor." I then walked up two extra floors and waited 10 minutes before going back down to see if they were gone.
What should've taken me five minutes to get into my apartment took me 30 instead. That's when I realized I might have a problem.
I routinely cross streets that are in the opposite direction of where I’m going to avoid awkward interactions with vehicles as a pedestrian.
Please don’t stop and give me that “It’s okay to go!” wave when there’s still traffic barrelling down the opposite side of the street.
I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but it would be easier for everyone if you just kept driving.
I shared an apartment with two people. I usually spent Saturday nights at my parents' place, but one time, I happened to stay home for the night. One of my roommates was gone, and the other didn't realize that I was at home, so he invited his girlfriend over. I was woken up by the sound of loud intimacy in the room right next to mine.
As I was lying in my bed, unable to sleep, I realized something horrifying: my period had started. I couldn't leave my room without them noticing that I was there. I didn't want them to feel awkward, so I spent the whole night, in pain, pretending I wasn't there.
I failed an important test once because I was too scared to ask the teacher for a pencil.
I hid under a bed while a real estate agent showed a couple around my flat.
I had a cup of tea, cushions, and a Nokia with Snake on it. I was quite happy under there.
They were 25 minutes late. I guess I was under the bed for just over an hour.
I feared a sneeze.
I was in my early 20s.
The postman was knocking on my door. Rather than answer it, I decided to army-crawl past the door so he wouldn't see me through the frosted glass. Then, he pushed open the letterbox and saw me splayed across the floor.
I ordered food to be delivered, but my housemates and their significant others were downstairs. I told the delivery person just to drop the food on the porch and I'd get it later. I waited around five hours, starving and eating a bag of marshmallows in my room until everyone went to bed to fetch my food.
I was at a dorm party in college. I became overwhelmed and hid under my girlfriend's bed. They looked for me and everything. Once I was able to rejoin the party, I strolled back in and acted as if I had just stepped out. I still cringe thinking about it.
I moved into a new apartment and I wasn't told where the big trash cans were.
At the time, I wasn't producing a lot of trash. I was a student, so basically, everything I ate came from a plastic bag, which doesn't actually take up a lot of space. It took over a month to fill the small trash can in my apartment. At that point, I went in search of the big trash cans, but couldn't find them. I should've called my landlady and asked, but I was worried what she would think if I started asking about the trash cans after over a month of living there.
So, I just took a bit of my trash with me and threw it out in the public trash cans on the way to class.
I have a social anxiety disorder...
I pretended to be deaf at Taco Bell the other day when a couple at the table next to me tried to talk to me. They were rude for interrupting me while I ate, but I guess I was also rude for not acknowledging them. They tried four times to engage with me and each time I just kept pretending like I didn't hear them.
At one point, the lady actually got up from her seat, sat next to me and tried to quiz me on my Mexican Pizza. I just looked up at her and shrugged like I didn't understand her. I was in too deep at that point to talk!
I was invited to the birthday party of an old high school friend who was part of the "popular" crowd. I knew it would be a big party full of super outgoing people that I didn’t really want to interact with.
My solution? I joined a music ensemble. I had rehearsal twice a week for four months. Because the concert date was the same as the party, it gave me a valid excuse to skip.
One time, I stayed in my bedroom for three months straight. My mom would send food up and I had a bathroom in my room so I never needed to leave. I went out after three months and was surprised to see my mom's living room completely rearranged. She had done it the month before.
I ran a marathon by myself just to stay away from a party at home. I couldn't walk for two weeks.
I have a tendency of getting up and leaving a situation without warning anyone. It's become an instant, reflexive action of mine to pull a 180 and bail. I've done it at job interviews, I've done it at parties, I've done it when visiting friends, I've done it at therapy appointments... I've done it all over.
I turn off my Facebook a week before and after my birthday. I do this so that no one can wish me a happy birthday on my page. I would rather no attention be brought to it.
I also take a vacation for my birthday and don't tell anyone where I'm going. I turn off my phone and ignore everything. I've done this for five years now, and—by sheer coincidence—I've had five pleasant birthdays in a row.
Birthdays before that were horror shows, so it's a combination of introversion and bad history.
I worked at a tattoo shop and saw someone I knew in high school. This was almost five years after we graduated. I took her information and made an appointment. Later on in the day, I went to the bathroom and when I came out she said, "You know we went to high school together, right?" I told her I had gotten a concussion sometime after high school and couldn’t remember her. I quickly went back to the desk and tried to ignore what happened until she left.
I was taking out the garbage in my boyfriend's apartment building.
While I was in the elevator, it stopped at a floor and a woman was about to get in. She had garbage with her too.
Immediately, before she could even step into the elevator, I offered to take her garbage down for her.
She thought I was just being a kind neighbor, but really I was just trying to avoid the small talk that I would have had to engage in if she came down with me.
A fire alarm went off in the middle of the night at my university. To avoid seeing my roommates, I hid in the cupboard like an idiot. The firemen used the master key to unlock my door and check if I was home. I stayed there for an hour until everyone went back inside.
A mall vendor offered me a hair sample, and I stupidly said sure! Then, she offered to straighten my hair, but I said no and walked away.
The problem was, I had to pass her again to get back to the entrance I came in through.
So, I exited the mall on the far end instead and walked around the entire building (almost two miles) in the cold rain to get back to my car without having to walk by her again.
Mall vendors: please stop tricking us with free samples.
One time, I was hungry but I didn’t want to leave my room, so I had Jimmy John's deliver my sandwich into a basket I hung out of my window on a string.
In my freshman year of college, I was blessed with a private suite in my dorm. I didn't have a roommate and I had my own bathroom, which was cleaned once every two weeks along with all the other bathrooms on my floor.
About halfway through the first semester, I had a breakdown and couldn’t handle any more human interactions, so I wrote on the whiteboard on my door: “No Cleaning Please.” I took my bed and barricaded my door with it so that no one could open it, then spent the next month in solitary confinement.
I only left my room twice and both times were at around 3 a.m. in the morning to go get food from the vending machines in my building. One time, I heard someone walking down the hall as I was headed back to my room, so I ran outside the building and walked to the other side to avoid seeing anyone.
I bought a game online and UPS was supposed to deliver it to my apartment. The delivery man couldn't find my apartment number, so I was instructed to pick up my order at one of their stores. Instead of doing that, I just paid for a digital copy of the game because I didn't want to talk to the people at the UPS store. I paid twice for one game.
I don’t want to be around people in between classes, but I also don’t want to drive off campus. So I just go into my car, put a reflector thing on the front windshield, crack my window and lay the back seat.
At the Air Force Academy, the punishment for showing up late to commander's call was to sit at the end of a long, dark hallway for eight hours on the weekend. I purposely missed commander's call every week.
I once told my roommates that we had won a vacation for four people. I pretended that there was an emergency at my job so that I didn't have to go.
They were supposed to have eight guests over at our place that weekend, but they canceled on them because they "won" a free trip.
I paid for them to go away and to avoid their guests. A steal for $630.
Back when I was living in a student house, I would often go #1 in empty wine bottles to avoid having to walk across the hallway o the bathroom.
Sometimes when I don't want to talk to people in public, I'll pretend I have laryngitis. I'll make my voice really raspy. It usually works and I can get out of conversations easily.
Other times, I'd pretend to be deaf or mute. Since I know ASL, I'd just sign. But there was one time someone I knew saw me brush someone off via sign language. I didn't know the other person was right behind me... It was extremely embarrassing.
I curled up in a giant luggage bag for six hours.
I was a pretty cute kid until puberty came and punched me in the face. My mom wanted me to do modeling. I hid in the biggest luggage bag we had and basically laid there for six hours so no one could find me.
I isolated myself for three months and only left my house when I needed groceries. No family, no friends, no acquaintances. This was largely due to a major depressive episode spurred by my bipolar disorder. During that time, I needed help, but I was just too scared to leave the place I was most comfortable. What I didn't realize was that the longer I isolated myself, the harder it was for me to re-enter society.
I'm still having trouble three years later. I'm just scared to go out. I hope I get better soon, because one of the many pleasures in life, if not the greatest, is the embrace of friends, family, and others you care about most. I didn't realize that I needed help. At the time, I didn't want it.
I flew constantly for work doing field installs and ended up on a trip to Melbourne, Australia for a two-week stint. The flight going there was about 15 hours. I used the bathroom zero times during that flight. I ate and drank nothing as to avoid the need. I was by a window so I didn't have to interact with people in my row.
The flight back it was about 18 hours. I was on a window seat again and I repeated the same process. I got to San Francisco and felt physically ill from the dehydration, lack of food, etc. But, hey, at least I didn't have to ask anyone to move!
One time in high school, I couldn't bear the thought of social interaction, so I hid in a pine tree at the bus stop until the bus came, then went home and told my mom I missed it. The bus driver saw me too, hiding in the tree. I just stayed frozen, staring at her for like 20 seconds, then she just shook her head and drove away.
I usually go about eight months between haircuts. I just don't want to make small talk to a stranger. Thankfully now when I go in, they only say about 20 words total. Pretty good if you ask me.
I took on an internship in another country to avoid family gatherings. It's been nearly three years later and I still don't plan to go back home.
In middle school, a teacher who I really did not get along with ripped into me for the whole day. It was also the day when we were supposed to present our projects. Due to the bad mood she had put me in and not wanting to speak in front of my class, I dislocated two of my fingers then said I need to see the nurse. I ended up getting sent to the principal's office instead.
I avoid eye contact and pretend like everyone around me doesn’t exist.
I don't respond to any text messages or phone calls for days, weeks, and even months on end.
I skip major holidays and birthdays so I don't have to see my family. I purposely miss out on opportunities to receive money and presents.
I walk the other way when someone walks towards me.
I go to the grocery store at right before it closes so that no one else is there and I can shop alone in peace. This sometimes creates more anxiety though, because I don’t have a lot of time to shop.
Lastly, I wait for my neighbor to leave first if we happen to be leaving at the same time. We share a driveway.
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