Let’s be honest: introverts get a bad rap.
We get labeled stubborn, rude, arrogant, and even snobbish.
But the reason we don’t want to engage in conversation is not because we don’t like someone (ok, sometimes that’s why). Mostly, we are just happy being on our own.
Still, we are far from perfect, and if we’re not careful, we can adopt some pretty bad habits.
So, if you worry that your behaviors are making you live up to that negative stereotype, scan through this list.
As well as highlighting the most common bad habits, I’m sharing my tips and tricks (as a fellow introvert) for ensuring you’re a “likeable loner”!
1) Being inauthentic
Firstly, I want to point out that there is nothing wrong with being an introvert.
You don’t have to pretend you are social or chatty just to fit in with others. It’s ok if other people see you as quiet, shy, or reserved.
As an introvert, the worst thing you can do is pretend to be someone you’re not.
So, before we get into the rest of this list, understand that being inauthentic is the worst habit an introvert (or anyone for that matter) can have.
Be yourself, but remain mindful that you are not unconsciously adopting any of the following habits.
2) Being flaky and unreliable
If you’re an introvert who struggles to set boundaries, you may have developed the habit of saying yes to invitations then pull out at the last minute.
One reason we introverts do this is because of our conflict-handling method.
Introverts don’t do well with conflict; in fact, a study by The Myers-Briggs Company found that introverts tend to deal with conflict through avoidance.
So, if you fear that saying no to a social event will cause conflict with someone, you will likely say yes – and then desperately try to find a way out of it afterward!
To prevent (or break) this habit, work on setting boundaries. This involves getting clear with yourself on what social events you enjoy and which ones you can’t stand.
To do this, I recommend putting each type of social situation in one of these categories:
- Absolutely not – This category is for social events you know you HATE, such as parties or large group outings.
- Maybe – These are things you are happy to do now and again but not too often, such as a family dinner.
- Yes – These are social situations you know you handle well and enjoy, such as a quiet coffee with your best friend.
Knowing your boundaries will ensure you only say yes to the social events you know you will enjoy, preventing you from being that “flaky friend.”
3) Shutting out friends and family
Multiple studies have examined the difference between an introverted person’s brain and an extrovert’s. All these studies have concluded the same thing – that introverts think A LOT.
For example, a study in The American Journal of Psychiatry measured the cerebral blood flow of these two personality types. They found that even when in a relaxed state, introverts have increased blood flow compared to extroverts.
What does this mean?
The more activity in our brain, the more blood flow. So, the research confirms that introverts spend more time in their heads than their extroverted friends.
But how does this cause us to shut out friends and family?
Because as introverts, we tend to try to solve our problems by thinking, while extroverts seek solutions by talking to others.
This is why, in relationships, an extroverted partner often feels that their introverted lover is shutting them out.
The introvert is so caught up in their internal world that they appear withdrawn and cold toward their partner.
Often, the introvert doesn’t realize how they are coming across because, to them, it’s normal to deal with things themselves, which links to the next bad habit…
4) Not asking for help
Introverts don’t feel a strong need for support from others like extroverts do. Having such a rich inner world, we are good at finding the answers within ourselves.
Which can be good in some situations. For example, our rich inner world is one of the reasons researchers have found introverts to be such good artists.
But sometimes this can be bad.
Because we are so good at working things out ourselves, we can adopt the damaging belief that “if you want something done right, do it yourself.”
I’ve also noticed that many introverts (myself included) struggle to ask for help because they don’t want to be seen as a burden.
I battled with this for a long time (and still do sometimes).
I found the only way to break this habit is through self-awareness.
Once you accept you have this tendency, you can catch yourself when you are struggling but resisting help.
The next step is the hard part.
Yep, you’ve guessed it. You have to push through the uncomfortable feeling, ignore the thoughts in your mind, and ask for help!
I promise you, 9 times out of 10, people are willing to help you and don’t see you in a negative light for reaching out.
And I’m not just saying that… Science backs it up.
Xuan Zhao, a Stanford social psychologist, researched this subject. In her report, she writes that many people avoid asking for help because they feel they will be a burden.
But her findings show people are not only willing to help others, but they actually gain a sense of satisfaction from it.
5) Never leaving your house
As introverts enjoy (and need) lots of alone time, their lack of desire for social interaction can result in them becoming, how can I put it, a hermit.
It’s something no extrovert can fathom, but it’s actually really easy for introverts to become socially withdrawn.
I know many extroverts who couldn’t think of anything worse than spending a whole day at home.
But speaking from experience as an introvert, I can easily spend several days at home without any type of socialization.
If you’re the same, you need to be aware of this tendency of yours and push yourself to get out more.
But don’t worry…
I’m not forcing you to go to parties or crowded spaces. But you should make an effort to put yourself in a couple of minor social situations each day.
Here are some examples of things you can do to ensure you don’t get the reputation of being a hermit:
- Go for a daily walk around your neighborhood
- Go to pick up your takeout instead of getting a delivery
- Do your grocery shopping in-store sometimes instead of ordering online
And if you work from home, I highly recommend you create a ritual once or twice a week where you go and work from a cafe. Trust me, it will make a HUGE difference!
6) Being stubborn or close-minded
While not every introvert is like this, some people’s low need for social connection can cause them to develop the stubborn belief that they don’t need friends.
They believe that socializing is a waste of time and close their minds off to the potential benefits of social activities.
This, of course, causes them to go even further into their shell while making them come across as pretty arrogant.
To prevent this, I recommend having an “accountability buddy” – someone who is not as introverted as you but understands your mind.
Ask this person to call you out whenever you start to be excessively stubborn about socializing.
But at the same time, they will not pressure you – because that is one thing introverts HATE.
Your accountability buddy can also ensure you don’t do this…
7) Take DAYS to reply to texts
Us introverts prefer texting and messaging over phone calls, but this doesn’t mean we are good at it.
One of our most common bad habits is taking soooo long to reply to messages.
It’s not because we are rude.
We take so long to reply because we like to take our time and quietly reflect on our thoughts before responding to messages.
While this is fine, there are several things we may unconsciously do that can make the sender get fed up with us:
- While reflecting, something can distract us, causing us to forget to return to that message.
- We could get too caught up in our thoughts. We overthink our reply, which stalls us.
- We might reply in our minds and think we replied in real life.
Something I have started doing to “prompt” myself to reply to people within a timely manner is to mark the message as ‘unread’ after I have opened it.
That way, the notification icon reminds me that I haven’t responded yet.
Like extroverts, introverts have their good and bad side.
We are deep thinkers who enjoy rich and meaningful conversations with our nearest and dearest. But our low tolerance for small talk and group socializing can make us a tad unlikeable.
Not to worry, though.
To avoid becoming the weird hermit everyone wants to avoid, follow the tips above to stay clear of these seven bad introvert habits.