Why Do Introverts Hate Crowds? (5 Interesting Reasons)

Sep 28, 2021

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Introverts are people who prefer a calm, less stimulating environment to recharge and get energized by introspection. Based on this definition you can already guess that large crowds of people are probably not the natural habitat of introverts.

But, what are some of the more precise reasons introverts are so allergic to crowds? What fuels their dislike for crowds so much? Let’s look into 5 interesting reasons why introverts tend to hate crowds.

Why Do Introverts Hate Crowds? (5 Interesting Reasons)

1. Introverts tend to hate crowds, because they consist of strangers

Social interaction can be something many introverts get a little apprehensive about. It may have to do with their generally less developed social skills when compared to extraverts.

Not to say that introverts can’t have highly developed social skills. But, in comparison to the extravert’s social skill default, the introvert’s social skill default is more likely less sophisticated.

As extraverts, socializing comes pretty much with the territory, because extraverts depend on interacting with others to get their energy. As a result extraverts have had far more opportunities to develop social skills and social awareness.

Perhaps, part of the introvert’s apprehension of social encounters stems from the inability to rely as much on their social skills when the other people are somewhat unpredictable.

The reason may be because, in many cases the introvert’s social skills aren’t fluid enough to deal with unpredictable social situations.

Strange places = Strange faces

Introverts tend to prefer to interact with people that are familiar, like friends, family or acquaintances. People of which they can at least predict their behavior for the most part so that awkward moments can be avoided.

When it comes to large crowds however, the problem is that 99.9% of them consist of strangers! Unless the introvert has a LOT of friends, however that is most likely not the case since introverts prefer just a handful of close friends and chances are introverts won’t meet up with them all at the same time.

Now picture the introvert in a large crowd (at a conference), or a long line (at the airport). The introvert is now surrounded by strangers.

Strangers that might strike up a conversation or some small talk remarks out of the blue. They might comment on what’s happening around them or complain about the long line (at the airport check-in) and expect the introvert to chime in with his or her own complaints.

Now the introvert is trapped in the crowd or in line and forced to engage in potentially awkward small talk with an unpredictable stranger, while being observed by an unpredictable stranger bystander audience.

This can definitely trigger social anxiety. Not exactly the introvert’s biggest dream!

2. Introverts tend to hate crowds, because they are overstimulating

Can you picture it? A large number of people congregating in one place.

One humongous crowd of different body shapes, faces, movements, colors and smells covered by a dense blanket of a discordant mixture of sounds from countless simultaneous conversations. Far TOO many impressions for the average introvert!

Introverts tend to hate crowds, because all those different impressions lead to overstimulation of the introvert’s delicate senses. The sheer amount of stimulation is only one aspect that leads to overstimulating the introvert.

Another aspect is the clutter of the different impressions. The disorganized confluence of sounds, colors, smells and movements, makes it very intense for the introvert’s brain to process the incoming sensory information.

Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels

It can only endure such an overkill of disorganized sensory input through all the senses for a short while. Overstimulation really stresses introverts out and leaves them drained of mental and physical energy.

When they’ve reached the point of overstimulation they need to retreat to a quiet place (like their bedroom or a bathroom) and recover. Depending on how severe the overstimulation was, this recovery process might take a few hours or the rest of that day even!

During that time the introvert has little energy for anything else. You can imagine that frequent overstimulation leads to many obstacles in the day to day lives of introverts and are therefore very focussed on avoiding it.

3. Introverts tend to hate crowds, because they trigger self-consciousness

Introverts have a unique gift when it comes to introspection. As you may know, introspection is the ability to examine or observe one’s own mental and emotional processes.

This is a powerful ability as it leads to insights and a deeper understanding of one’s own personality and inner world. Many introverts very much pride themselves on this ability, even-though introspecting in most cases isn’t a walk through the park so to speak.

During introspection someone might encounter some painful emotions or personality traits they don’t like about themselves and this can be quite challenging. As introverts often have a more developed ability to introspect, they tend to have an above average awareness of their inner world.

Painfully self-conscious

The trade off, with this increased introspective awareness can be a heightened self-consciousness. When introverts are out in public, or interacting with others this self-consciousness can be triggered.

They might become especially aware of their own body posture, the sound of their own voice, their looks, feelings of awkwardness, because they might be standing alone at a party and think others can see their awkwardness.

This self-consciousness is very uncomfortable for introverts and it tends to get amplified when the amount of people around them dramatically increases.

Crowds are therefore in most cases an introvert’s nightmare, because of the amount of people that can observe the introvert’s every move from up close can trigger a paralyzing self-consciousness on the introvert’s end.

4. Introverts tend to hate crowds, because they feel trapped inside them

Remember when we looked at overstimulation of introverts in crowds? Well, one very important way introverts try to prevent and manage overstimulation is by having the option to escape overwhelming environments and situations at any given time.

For instance, during a stressful meeting at work, introverts might retreat to the bathroom for a while to calm down. Or when a train looks too crowded for the introvert’s comfort, they might choose to keep waiting on the platform for the next less packed train so they can have a more peaceful trip.

However, when the introvert finds him or herself in a crowd they can’t escape, things are likely to turn ugly.

For example, at a music festival during peak visiting hours where the crowds get so large everyone needs to squeeze themselves through a maze of densely packed people for 15 minutes just to get to the nearest bar.

Photo by Mart Production on Pexels

Or all the different hallways of a busy subway station, that are so flooded with people walking in one direction, that one has no choice but to go with the flow. An introvert would absolutely feel trapped in such situations.

They might feel overstimulated and want to escape the overwhelming situation, but they can’t. Introverts might even get overstimulated by the idea that they can’t escape the over-crowded setting!

As such, they rather avoid crowds altogether, so they aren’t trapped and risk stressful bouts of overwhelm.

5. Introverts tend to hate crowds, because they foster shallow socializing

We’ve touched upon it slightly when discussing crowds that exist of strangers. Crowds tend to foster small talk and shallow socializing.

Now as you may know, these two things happen to be among the things introverts dislike the most (besides crowds).

At a venue, a company dinner party or the long line at an airport, people like to engage in small talk perhaps to kill time or just to be social.

Even-though introverts like conversations that go a little bit deeper than just surface level, it is not realistic this would happen out of the gate with a stranger the introvert encounters in a crowd.

The fact is that the introvert and the stranger just don’t know each other well enough or at all to start talking about some deeper or more intimate subjects. So small talk is a logical way to start things off, but the rub is that introverts tend to dislike small talk!

Kind of a catch 22, right?! It is to no surprise then, that crowds and small talk are synonymous to each other in the introvert’s dictionary. It can’t be helped.

Introverts tend to hate crowds, because crowds expose introverts to many unwarranted small talk situations that are hard to prevent or escape. So the most logical thing to introvert’s is to steer away from crowds altogether.

Conclusion

In this article we’ve looked at some of the reasons why introverts tend to hate crowds. To sum it up, crowds have an overstimulating, unpredictability and suffocating social quality to them that makes the introvert just want to run away.

It is hard to maintain inner equilibrium for introverts in those large groups of people and to remain calm they prefer less stimulating settings.

Is this familiar to you as an introvert? What are some of the other qualities you don’t like about crowds?

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