10 social pressures introverts wrongly impose upon themselves

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Being an introvert in a world that often demands high-energy extraversion can be exhausting.

Unfortunately, many introverts make things even more difficult by self-inflicting unrealistic expectations.

Below are 10 social pressures they often wrongly impose on themselves but have full permission to stop doing.

1. The need to always be socially available.

In this era of perpetual connectivity, many people are expected to be available to others at all times. If texts or messages aren’t answered promptly, the other party may assume that there’s some tension in the relationship, and many people happily chat with others whenever their eyes are open.

Introverts need a lot of alone time to recharge their personal batteries, and that includes time and space to simply be with their own thoughts.

If the average introvert doesn’t get a sufficient amount of solitude—either in silence or with their favorite music or binge-worthy shows—their energy reserves will continue to drop over time.

As such, the assumed pressure to always make themselves available to others can drain them quite badly.

2. Engaging in social media more than desired.

Many introverts dislike the expectation to be on several social media platforms, as they find them energetically taxing as well as intrusive.

The social norm these days is to splay all personal information in the public sphere for random strangers to see, whereas most introverts are fiercely private people.

There’s an expectation—even in work environments—that people not only maintain social network presences, but that they also share details about themselves.

But there’s no need to partake in this practice if you don’t want to!

If you’re an introvert who prefers to text or instant-message with people than get stuck talking on the phone, many apps allow you to set yourself to “away” or “offline”, so interacting with others is entirely in your hands.

3. Accepting invitations or attending events they’d rather say not to.

Most introverts only have a small number of energetic “spoons” to use on a daily basis. As such, they know how many spoons they’ll need to get through work and home responsibilities, and how little energy they’ll have left after all of that.

When social invitations arise, introverts often feel guilty for turning them down even if they know they won’t have any spoons left to draw from.

So, they attend anyway, and end up depleted for days afterward, all for the sake of not appearing antisocial or rude for declining gracefully.

They feel that if they don’t attend, they may run the risk of being labeled a “hermit” or “antisocial”, which may harm their social and professional life.

There’s nothing wrong with declining politely if you can’t attend an event: the key is to ensure that the people who invited you still feel like they’re important to you. For example, if you turn down a wedding invitation, be sure to send a beautifully wrapped gift and heartfelt card.

4. Forcing small talk.

Almost any introvert who’s had to make small talk has felt awkward or uncomfortable doing so. It’s often difficult to communicate with others—especially if there’s music playing or too many people talking at once—so to discuss superficial topics that they don’t care about at all can be excruciating.

It isn’t necessarily for anyone to force themselves to discuss investment banking or the weather with strangers just to be polite. Changing the subject to something with more depth or excusing oneself for some fresh air are both absolutely okay.

5. Mimicking extraversion.

Many introverts deplete themselves thoroughly by attempting to mimic extraversion. They often do this to fit in better with their peers and be more readily accepted by society as a whole.

For instance, when they’re engaged in a conversation, most introverts like to take time to think about what they’re going to say before doing so. In contrast, extraverts generally blurt out whatever they’re thinking and roll with it. As such, introverts often try to do the same, and then berate themselves later for stumbling over their words.

They may also engage in social situations far longer than they’d prefer, completely emptying their energy reserves for the sake of taking part in office “drinks night” or similar social functions that they’re expected to attend.

6. Apologizing for their introversion.

The average introvert will have school report cards in which they’re described as “needing to come out of their shell” or labeled as “antisocial”. Most were inundated from an early age with a need to apologize for their perceived shortcomings, as they didn’t behave the same way their bubbly, talkative peers did.

As such, many feel that they need to apologize for their reserved behavior, quieter speech, or need to withdraw to regroup when overstimulated.

7. Networking at all costs.

Like so many extravert-based expectations nowadays, there seems to be pressure to network with others if there’s any hope of success.

People are expected to schmooze at parties or seminars in order to make connections with “the right people”, which often involves the dreaded small talk and extravert masking techniques mentioned earlier.

This type of networking doesn’t just feel inauthentic to introverts: it’s downright exhausting.

They feel pressured to show enthusiasm in order to be accepted by those around them, and may feel that their futures are in jeopardy if they don’t network aggressively enough.

As a result, they’ll wear themselves ragged following up with all the people they met, while wishing they were back home with their cat and a good book.

8. Feeling they must always be accommodating.

Most introverts have strong preferences that allow them to navigate a raucous, frenetic world as comfortably (and sanely) as possible.

Since extraversion is the standard modus operandi for the general population, introverts have been taught to believe that their preferences are unreasonable and weird.

As a result, they’ve learned to always put other people’s needs or wants ahead of their own, so as not to allow their so-called “rude weirdness” to interfere with “normal” people’s lives.

For example, they may feel obligated to tolerate their housemates having loud friends over late in the evening when they would prefer to read or study in silence. Similarly, they may feel obligated to make themselves available whenever another person wants their time and energy, even if (or rather, when) they have no energy left to give.

9. Disregarding their personal boundaries.

Of all the traits that introverts share, conflict avoidance is one of the most common. Introverts like peace and calm, and thus try to avoid causing any major ripples.

As a result, they often have difficulty both establishing and defending personal boundaries. Many would rather put up with mistreatment and disrespect than upset anyone, thus avoiding the fallout that may ensue from potential arguments.

The problem with this isn’t just the resentment that can percolate from repressed anger or sadness, but also depletion from being overburdened.

An employee who’s feeling overwhelmed because they can’t seem to say “no” to their ever-expanding workload may get so burnt out that they need a leave of absence for their own wellbeing.

Similarly, a partner who’s carrying both the financial load and the burden of domestic and emotional labor may either break down, or end the relationship, instead of communicating their needs (and boundaries) effectively.

Any and all introverts are highly encouraged to learn how to set and defend boundaries to protect themselves.

10. Prioritizing others’ comfort over their own.

In addition to prioritizing other people’s needs and wants over their own, introverts also place others’ comfort as a higher priority. This ties in with the dislike of boundary-setting and can be just as detrimental in the long run.

One example would be not speaking up about how uncomfortable they are about the office being too hot or cold so as not to “make a fuss”, even if they end up ill as a result, because they’re afraid they’ll lose their job if they prioritize their own comfort.

In contrast, a more serious situation may involve not talking about abuse they’re experiencing at home because they don’t want their family member to be put in a bad light, or not speaking up when someone is being offensive so as not to make others feel awkward or uncomfortable.

It’s more than okay to speak up if things are unfolding that are not okay with you. Furthermore, other people’s comfort is great to take into consideration, but shouldn’t be placed as a higher priority than personal safety and self-respect.


Life places enough stress on people without us adding to it with self-imposed societal pressures. Introverts are amazing, invaluable members of society who have countless gifts to contribute. They don’t need to pretend to be something they aren’t in order to fit in, but are instead encouraged to be their authentic selves, on their own terms.

About The Author

Catherine Winter is an herbalist, INTJ empath, narcissistic abuse survivor, and PTSD warrior currently based in Quebec's Laurentian mountains. In an informal role as confidant and guide, Catherine has helped countless people work through difficult times in their lives and relationships, including divorce, ageing and death journeys, grief, abuse, and trauma recovery, as they navigate their individual paths towards healing and personal peace.