Introvert thinks and reflects so much it’s keeping him from relaxing and being himself with others

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A reader sent in this request for advice. As an introvert, he naturally does a lot of thinking about everything, but the excessive reflection and analysis going on in his head during and after conversations is causing him to be very unhappy and to react to others in a negative way.

I am a guy from Chicago.

I think the sole reason of all my problems is only one-: thinking way tooo much!! I know its rather a common trait of an introvert to ponder more over each issue
its outcomes ,thinking before doing even a silly chore and most thinking is involved when we try to judge other people’s mind or their ideology over something we might have told them.This is the greatest problem I face while conversation.

I dont know whether its sort of inferiority complex that I ponder too much before saying anything to a person so that its not offensive to him and I try to copy someone else’s personality(not wrong to guess I think most of the people have better personality than me and I am born blank).In one to one conversation,even having said something completely normal, afterwards I think what if he extracted this or that bad meaning from my completely straight talk.In what you can say is a round table conversation(imagine 8-10 friends eating on a dining table) its way worse.I completely try to keep myself away from being”central point” or “theme” of conversation but eventually someone would say something about me(mostly low intensity teasers never something good) and believe me friends at that time I think why this asker guy was ever born on this planet.I would defend me in a polite manner that I am not attacking the asker too.suddenly someone else will point out something else in support of earlier guy’s arguement and whoa!!!! everyone is now talking about me (mostly giggling trust me I am now used to see others giggling as piercing thinking its something about me)obviously I cant answer all of them and their loud voices and giggling(this is most painful) seems like colossal of hell.

Every statement hurts and shakes me to the core.this results in my meltdown!I end up saying something like @#$% you ****** *** and leave that place. now I am physically somewhere else but mentally there only.hours and hours over thinking what I have done why this always happens to me , am I mad ..what others would think about me and so on.This happens too frequently.I think my lack of confidence and mostly inability to hear even slightest criticism is responsible for this more than others’ harshness.

How to not take something told by others seriously?how to just be myself? how to think less and be indifferent?how to be more confident and have self esteem? these big how to’s if properly answered can probably change my life.so guys please help me if you can!!

Photo credit: Giuseppe Bognanni

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9 Comments

  1. Hi Guy from Chicago,
    I’m an introvert originally from Minneapolis, so I can relate to much of what you are saying. What helps me best is to help others … routinely. It gives me perspective and distraction. And it helps me see the humor in my special/odd ways, rather than taking myself/everything so seriously.

    Best wishes,
    Kim

  2. That does sound miserable and I hope we can be of some help. First, I wouldn’t try to copy anyone else’s personality anymore. You are not “blank” and you do have your own personality which is perfectly good. So first, although I know it’s hard to break habits, practice really just being yourself. Talk to others one-on-one and just try to relax and not think so much about all the stuff surrounding the conversation and what they must be thinking of you. We introverts have a hard enough time trying to verbalize what we’re thinking sometimes, without short-circuiting the whole process by trying to carry on another intense train of thought.

    I’d take a break from that big group, unless you’re ready to try to laugh off the initial little remarks one person makes about you that starts the others agreeing and making you so angry. Have confidence in yourself and live your life – and help others, as Kim so wisely suggested. I totally know what you mean about people who are familiar with you getting under your skin because they know things they can remark on and make you the center of attention. But imagine how a very self-confident person would react if they did that. The person might say, “Ha ha..” in a patient way, but the joke would soon die and the group move on to some other topic because there would be no big reaction to it.

    One thing that always helped me when I get into ruminating and analyzing too much is to make sure I’m too *busy* to do that. Once again, volunteer for good causes, take on some new projects, always be doing one real thing or another. You may soon wish you had some time alone to do nothing, but it may break that cycle of re-living every conversation. It always worked for me!

  3. Deal with the problem directly – you are thinking too much! How do you stop thinking? Meditation is a process of just observing your thoughts and feelings, experiencing them as they are. When you don’t try and change them the thoughts stop naturally and you can get in touch with stillness. From here, genuine inspiration can arise. Meditate on your own then take that mental clarity and inspiration into social situations.

    Jung pointed out that introverts attention is always focused inward on the subject (themselves) and extroverts outward to the object. Make a habit of just paying attention more to the object, the person, the conversation, and you might find yourself more engaged. And you don’t have to change your personality. This is all coming from an introvert still learning to cope 😉

  4. Hi there,

    From time to time I have a similar issue/anxiety. During conversation I will focus my energy on what the other person is thinking. While doing this I begin to feel anxious about their opinion of me. As you might have already figured out, this is a very negative and damaging behaviour.

    My fix is this:

    When I’m idle (walking home from work, driving, in a line up, etc.) I will focus on positive things in my life, and make plans to reach attainable goals. I’ll force myself out of daydreams where I have no flaws and people all think wonderful things about me all the time.

    Positive reinforcement helps. A quote I focus on when I notice myself veering off track again:

    Seek to love, not to be loved.
    Seek to understand, not to be understood.

    When offering friendship, with this quote in mind, I will try to bring up something personal about myself that normally I’d like only family and close friends to know in hopes to open the table for that other person to feel comfortable to share their life and build a trust.

    When someone trusts you and feels comfortable enough to confide in you, your social confidence will naturally increase. The situation with your friends may become something you can laugh at as you will feel at ease with yourself and confident in the decisions you have made.

    Friends will always tease, but if you have a solid footing in your friendship with them you will know that they will be there for you regardless of whatever eccentricities you may have.

    Hope this helps.

    Jo

  5. Many might consider it a synonym for shyness but that isnt how the term was originally used in Carl Jungs Psychological Types in 1921. ..When introversion goes wrong..There is nothing inherit to introversion that leads people to shyness anxiety fear insecurities or narcissism. This is a bad way to connect..When our self-talk doesnt shut up people can see that we arent fully engaged in the conversation.

  6. I am much more llekiy to engage in irrational optimism about how things worked out, like, “Wow, if my mom hadn’t died and left me in the ghetto in Calcutta, I never would have become a gem-maker’s apprentice and had the fabulous life I have now in the tiny lean-to allotted to me!”It seems more positive if not less crazy.

  7. I’ve never encountered a description of someone’s experiences to which I can relate more than this one. 100% match

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