Why Do Introverts Ignore You? (9 Shocking Truths)
Sep 30, 2021
Sometimes, introverts are viewed as being rude while in the company of others, because they seem to ignore the people around them.
For instance, speaking as an introvert myself, I occasionally got feedback from co-workers for instance that I seem a bit more socially withdrawn.
Introverts are people who prefer a calm, less stimulating environment to recharge and get energized by introspection.
Are introverts just notorious antisocial brutes?
Or might they have some good reasons to ignore others?
Let’s look at 9 reasons why introverts might ignore you and other people. Please don't get mad!
9 Shocking Truths Explaining Why Introverts Ignore You
1. Introverts might ignore you when you’re a source of overstimulation
Introverts are known to thrive in places of low level stimulation, like their own bedrooms, libraries, their private office space, garden or forest.
Deliberately, they seek out those calm places as much as possible to not overstimulate themselves.
As you may know, introverts get more easily overwhelmed by external sources of stimulation like loud noises, bright lights, strong odors, and the presence of other people in close proximity.
Introverts rapidly get drained of physical and mental energy when exposed to such external sources of stimulation over time.
Introverts ignore people who are suspected to be or have proven to be sources of overstimulation.
For example, the loud extravert who doesn’t stop engaging in “small talk” with the introvert.
Or the obnoxious person who has trouble reading social cues, making the introvert uncomfortable by coming too close.
Or people with bad personal hygiene that have a strong smelly body odour.
Or the colleague at the office who wears too much cologne. Or the classmate who chews his food loudly and in a disgusting way.
Introverts rather get out of the way and ignore you to prevent being drained, or distracted by overstimulation. Sad, but true!
2. Introverts might ignore you, when they feel socially anxious
It goes without saying that not all introverts have a form of social anxiety or poorly developed social skills.
Yet, introverts do tend to be more prone to be socially anxious, because being alone comes with the introvert territory.
As such, socializing is something they are less accustomed to.
Luckily, an introvert functions better socially when he or she can mentally prepare for the upcoming social gathering.
For instance, by knowing in advance how many people, and what kind of people will attend the gathering, introverts can already significantly mitigate their social stress.
However, there still might be an element of surprise.
For example, there might be far more people attending than expected.
Now they get trapped in a crowd (read my article Why Do Introverts Hate Crowds? (5 Interesting Reasons)).
When the introvert is ambushed by an unexpected social situation that triggers their social anxiety or stress, they might ignore the people around them.
This might come off as antisocial at first, but it isn’t personal. It’s purely a survival tactic.
At that moment they feel too socially overwhelmed to function properly.
To help reduce social stress or prevent it from increasing, introverts ignore others so that there’s less social stimulation coming in until they’ve calmed down.
Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels
3. Introverts might ignore you, when they don’t trust you (yet)
As introverts have a heightened vigilance when it comes to trusting other people, they might ignore you when they’ve just met you.
To help prevent potential stress factors, introverts like to take their time screening out people they meet.
Who is this person? What is he or she like? What are his or her mannerisms? Can I trust him or her? Will they be a source of unpredictability and distress?
Consciously and unconsciously introverts might be looking to answer these questions when being in the presence of a new person.
If it seems that the new person is untrustworthy, introverts ignore that person.
If it’s still unclear if the person is trustworthy, introverts might still choose to ignore.
Particularly, meticulous about who they let into their precious inner worlds, introverts rather be safe than sorry. Sorry not sorry!
4. Introverts might ignore you when they are overwhelmed
Similar to what has been discussed around social anxiety, introverts ignore you when they are overwhelmed.
For example, they might have had a rough day at the office and when commuting back home, they see some other colleagues on the same train.
Normally, you would expect to join your colleagues for the whole train ride as an act of solidarity right?
An introvert however, might just ignore them because the introvert feels overwhelmed after a long day of being bombarded with external impressions.
Instead they seek out a place to sit somewhere on the train where it’s quiet (without being spotted by the co-workers).
There’s no energy left to engage in social interaction or take in other forms of stimulation.
Most extraverts might be flustered by this blasphemous act! But, true introverts will understand!
They need to just make it back home as quickly as possible where there’s space and time for solitude.
Overwhelm is a daily struggle for introverts.
If we need to ninja ourselves out of a social hostage situation that would exacerbate that overstimulation, we will!
5. Introverts might ignore you, when they are recharging
Now as mentioned before, introverts struggle with daily overstimulation through the senses.
This is especially apparent when they have to be out of their own home for work, for some errands, visits to friends or family or other things outside.
Now being at home is often the best place for the introvert to be.
At home is where they have what’s called their introvert sanctuary.
Photo by George Milton on Pexels
The introvert’s sanctuary is a place in their home specially designed for the introvert to retreat to when it is time to destress and recharge after being overwhelmed by the daily stresses and impressions.
It is often a darkened (bed)room dimly lit, where they can read, write, listen to music, work on something creative or just sit and think.
Recharging becomes kind of a challenge when introverts have to be away from home for a long period of time.
When in the office space, they might ignore their co-workers when introverts try to recharge by putting on their noise-cancelling headphones.
Or when at a busy mall, they might only look at the floor when they try to find the nearest exit and ignore eye-contact with all the shoppers around them.
Or they might ignore text messages from friends and family until the next day.
Emergency recharging outside of the house sometimes calls for desperate measures!
Please don’t think it’s rude when the introvert rejects your invitation to lunch with the whole office team and instead eats at his desk.
Nothing personal (hopefully), just recharging!
6. Introverts might ignore you, when you’ve hurt them
As an introvert myself, I must confess.. Yes, it’s true that we can struggle with being direct.
Especially, when it comes to potential interpersonal conflict.
We tend to go in roundabout ways to communicate that we are bothered by someone else’s actions.
Or we might avoid confrontation at all due to fear of being overwhelmed by “negative” emotions.
This is definitely not a healthy way of dealing with interpersonal problems.
Consequently, as introverts we have a higher chance of taking passive-aggressive routes of dealing with conflict.
We tend to lack assertiveness since our default social skills tend to be less sophisticated.
For instance, we might be giving short answers or come across as cold and distant when someone disappointed us, instead of just mentioning our disappointment to the other.
When we try to better our ways and muster up the courage to finally confront someone in a direct way about our hurt feelings, to our own surprise the other person might just apologize.
Everything is back to normal right? Sadly, not really.. Introverts tend to forgive, but not forget.
Interpersonal conflict usually weighs heavily upon us.
Others might not even understand why we are so impacted by it.
Yet, despite sincere apologies, introverts tend to keep the stressful encounter with that person in mind.
We probably won’t have any hostile feelings towards that person anymore.
But, just somewhere in the back of our head this person is now on a “list” called “suspects of overstimulation”.
How long will they be on the list you ask? For all eternity..
Introverts might ignore someone as a way to deal with the hurt they feel.
Or introverts may ignore someone they’ve already had an altercation with, to keep the risk of future stress and hurt at a minimum.
7. Introverts might ignore you, as a way of being polite
I can already hear the extraverts shout: “Ignoring someone as a way of being polite?!
Introverts.. the savage beasts..”. Please hear me out though.
I’ve mentioned in my “Conversation Restaurant Analogy” (terrible name by the way, lol) in my article 6 Reasons Why Introverts Hide Their Feelings that extraverts and introverts have different expectations in the ways others would go about meeting their conversational needs.
Extraverts tend to assume the other will say whatever they want to say just like the extravert does, without being asked first.
Introverts tend to assume that the other will ask what they want to know about the introvert, and the introvert isn’t likely to disclose everything about themselves without being asked.
Because of these different expectations during conversation, introverts seem quiet, stand-offish or indifferent sometimes when interacting.
But, they actually think that keeping to themselves is a polite thing to do!
To be more exact, introverts enjoy low stimulation and being alone, and by “leaving someone alone” or “ignoring” someone when he or she is by themselves, introverts think they are polite!
They think they are giving that person space.
Other introverts understand this, however an extravert might take this being ignored in a negative way.
8. Introverts might ignore you when they are introspecting
Introspection is the examination of one’s own mental and emotional processes (source).
Introspection is the introvert’s super power!
They do it naturally throughout the day to gather their thoughts, process their emotions and restore the internal equilibrium after feeling overwhelmed by all the daily external impressions.
Next to its restorative quality, introspection has an entertaining quality too!
Introverts might catch interesting thoughts out of the blue and indulge in contemplation and daydreaming.
When they are in this state they might ignore you, because their attention is completely elsewhere.
You’ll notice when an introvert is in this state when they stare at a wall, at the ceiling, stare out the window or just look to their side to an unspecified object or location.
If you wave at them they won’t respond. Seems like they are deliberately ignoring you, but that’s not the case.
The introvert is just merely in the day dream realm. Please don’t wake us up!
9. Introverts might ignore you, because they enjoy being alone
Last but not least, introverts ignore you because they just like being alone! How simple is that?
In solitude introverts thrive. When alone they are completely in their element, like a fish in water.
When alone the introvert can do all the recharging, introspecting, reading or (creative) work they want to without being disturbed or feeling guilty.
In this day and age where our daily lives have become so hectic with careers, jobs, entrepreneurship, family life, social life and the many different social media avenues of the online world, there’s so much managing an individual has to do on a daily basis.
The whole day we are reacting to the world and this way of living is actually very unhealthy to the average introvert.
When we finally get some alone time, we would like to keep it going as long as possible.
Yes, you may see us by ourselves at the restaurant with a book, but this doesn’t mean you should come and chit chat with us because you think we’re lonely.
When alone in public we’re not trying to be rude or antisocial. We are just trying to be by ourselves enjoying whatever we’re doing.
Let us be. Set us free. It is nothing personal. Really..
In this article we’ve taken a closer look at some reasons why introverts ignore other people.
Some had to do with preventing the overwhelm of the introvert.
Others had to do with just the simple joy of being alone. Were there any reasons that really resonated with you?
Could you think of some more reasons introverts ignore other people?
Extraverts might think it is rude to ignore, but that’s perfectly fine. Only true introverts will understand!
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