Why Are Introverts Awkward? (5 Interesting Reasons)

Nov 30, 2022

Introverts are prone to awkward behaviors, especially in social situations.

Their inability to respond as expected to “normal” social cues results in behaviors that appear bizarre or insecure to others. 

Some introverts are so shy that they may freeze on the spot when addressed.

They may suffer a sudden memory lapse when remembering something as simple as their name or phone number or express confusion when asked, “How are you?”

When engaging in social conversation, introverts are well known for providing too much or almost no information.

Many often appear lost for words or inappropriately roll their eyes.

Sometimes, the pressure to perform is too much, and they start stuttering, appear mute or flee the engagement altogether.

Some introverts express their social awkwardness by blurting out inappropriate things or making rude, honest comments.

Jokes, sarcasm, and irony might also be lost as they take themselves and others far too seriously. They have no filter.

The social anxiety that some introverts experience is so intense that they have panic attacks.

To an extravert or anyone who has not had one, it looks like an introvert is having an asthma attack or heart attack.

Here are the five most interesting reasons that explain why introverts are awkward.

5 Interesting Reasons Why Introverts Are Awkward

1. Introverts tend to be awkward, because their brain is chemically different

Social interactions involving a large group of people or a team can be overwhelming for the introvert, who needs time to process what is being said.

According to a 2005 study published in Cognitive Brain Research, introverts do not possess the A1 allele on the D2 receptor gene.

The presence of the A1 allele causes extraverts to produce the feel-good brain chemical serotonin when they are in a crowd.

The absence of it causes the introvert to feel overwhelmed.

This can result in awkward behaviors, such as an inability to make eye contact or follow a conversation.

If you are an introvert experiencing this issue, excuse yourself from the group, and take a minute to go outside or somewhere quiet to gather your thoughts.

Don’t apologize; others may not realize how awkward you feel but find the apology inappropriate.

2. Introverts can be awkward, because they fear rejection from others

Despite their aloof exteriors, introverts care what others think, to the point that they will contemplate for days over the slightest criticism. 

An introvert desires to please so acutely that he will exhaust himself to give you just what you want.

However, if you express disappointment, the introvert will take it personally and have to isolate himself to deal with his injured self-esteem.

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A romantic disappointment can put introverts into bed for days as they try to analyze what went wrong and deal with the feeling that they can’t go on.

The idea of a relationship is so painful to them that they might decide they will not even try and isolate themselves from the possibility.

A person who won’t interact with you might well be an introvert who can’t deal with rejection.

The reasoning behind this is that, like the Carly Simon lyrics in “Haven’t Got Time For the Pain.”, the emotional effort required to sustain a relationship with you is too costly in terms of the introvert’s time and energy.

3. Introverts tend to be awkward, because they like to think before they speak

If you are talking to someone at a social event and there is a long awkward pause before they speak, the person might be an introvert.

They are merely trying to process the information you have given them so they can please you by giving you the most precise answer possible.

If you are an introvert, pausing to think for a minute before you speak, then simply buy time and say something like, “Interesting.

Let me think about this for a second.” or “ Can I get back to you about this?” 

Take your time anyway, because the more time you take the better quality the answer is.

However, don’t get fixed on perfect answers!

Practice speaking from the gut and the heart and observe how intuitively you will find the right words once you let go.

4. Introverts can be awkward, because small talk annoys them

Most introverts are intelligent deep thinkers and don’t like wasting their time on small talk.

They prefer deep conversations instead.

According to introvert Diane Cameron's article in the Christian Science Monitor, small talk feels like sandpaper to the introvert’s psyche.  

A conversation that does not have a purpose feels pretentious to most introverts.

Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on Pexels

They are straight shooters that require facts and can thrive in a profound conversation that leads to some kind of revelation.

Anything else feels shallow.

If you are an introvert, then be aware that you might make others feel awkward by rolling your eyes, looking away, or even walking away from what you consider a boring conversation.

5. Introverts tend to be awkward in social groups, but are better one on one

Introverts prefer deep, meaningful one-to-one conversations that have a distinct focus.

In social situations, many introverts feel that they are not heard over the din of too many people talking.

This makes them feel ignored or like they can’t get a word edgewise.

In situations like a cocktail party, an introvert can seem very withdrawn and even withdraw to the sidelines to avoid extraverts, who get a chemical boost in the brain when trying to talk over someone else or take part in a sing-a-long.

If an introvert feels ignored, don’t hang your head or appear impatient.

Instead, choose a person alone in the room to talk to, and try to have quieter, more intimate one-on-one conversations with just that person.


If you are at a social gathering and you notice someone displaying awkward behaviors, then consider that this person might be an introvert with some difficulty processing all of the information coming at them.

If they stumble over their words or seem nervous or inattentive, they realize they are overwhelmed by too much information.

If you are an introvert, don’t feel bad about floundering a bit while in a social situation.

Not every brain is wired in the same way, and you might have a genetic disposition toward being more of a loner!



As a psychologist with a Master's degree in Clinical & Health Psychology, and as an INFJ male, highly sensitive human being, the author aims to blend the objective, subjective, mind, body and spirit for a holistic view on true well-being
for INFJs, Introverts, Highly Sensitive People and Empaths!



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