“We are our choices.” — Jean-Paul Sartre
You invite a good friend to a private event. This friend happens to be an introvert. He likes small groups but prefers members that he has selected. Often, he politely declines when invited to new settings, but you consistently ask him anyway.
And when he does enter into a new setting, he often leaves without saying, “Goodbye.”
Is he being rude by merely ghosting you, or is this part of his introversion?
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Researchers at the American Academy of Advanced Thinking survey asked participants, “In your opinion, why do you believe introverts “ghost” or leave people and events sometimes without notice?” The survey question was sent to the Facebook Group, The Original Introverts Unite on FB.
The following were their responses:
It’s easier than having to argue your case for leaving. Plus, we hit a point of being overwhelmed sometimes quickly. — Jana S.
I can quickly get to the point where I am overloaded to the point where explaining, justifying, or arguing my case is not worth it. There are people I can simply say, ‘okay, look, I need to go’ and know they are okay with that, but there are some who will coax, cajole, or apply pressure for me to stay or to continue to interact…these are the ones I am most inclined to simply fade away and disappear. — Molly M.
I do get overstimulated depending on the situation. I don’t ghost, though. I typically say my goodbyes and leave. — Jen F.
I can’t speak for anyone else. But as for me, since I tend to clam up and close off in crowded social situations anyway, 1) Most won’t even know that I’ve gone until they read my text hours later 2) The others will have more fun without me there 3) I’ll have more fun and be more relaxed on my own. It is a little about being selfish and taking care of myself, but why is being a little selfish a bad thing?
My true friends know and understand the reasons why I ghost and leave. I have found out that they often have respectful side bets on how long it’ll take before I jet without their interference. As for those who don’t understand well, they won’t be in my life for long anyway. — Jake T.
I don’t need attention, especially in a social situation. Telling people I’m leaving is a courtesy to others, so I am told. It’s like giving them a chance to say goodbye. Why do they need that? Do they need closure on our interaction? I don’t see how it’s serving them or me. If it’s anyone I care about, I will probably be seeing them again, so it’s not goodbye until one of us is gone. And we never know when that is going to be. Saying goodbye doesn’t cut it for me. If we loved each other, that is all that matters. I will still say goodbye to those that say goodbye to me as they notice me putting on my jacket or making other obvious moves. But I will not announce my departure. I will be arriving again soon enough. Sometimes just smiling and waving is courtesy enough. —Cal G.
Survey respondents overwhelmingly stated that avoiding explanations and stress were significant determinants for leaving events without notice.
However, the potential for stress was not extreme.
Perhaps the host was merely being polite or exercising selfishness by not initially surrendering to introverted guests’ decisions.
It is abundantly clear that introverts saw a pattern that had emerged throughout their lives by which they could predict human behavior under certain conditions.
Instead of debating the issue, they had proactive means of addressing it.
To assert oneself requires merely acting, not asking. These introverts decided to enter and leave at their own appointed time.
Ultimately, introverts have a right to leave an event unannounced without violating social norms.
For introverts, they have learned that to preserve their ability to choose, sometimes violations are necessary.
If introverts are allowed to be friendly and cordial, they will. However, other actions must be explored if niceness becomes an albatross around their necks.
In the end, introverts learned that it wasn’t worth the hassle to announce their exit when it had no tangible effect on the event.
Related: Small Talk for Introverts: Don’t Be Nice, Be Professional
Choices Quotes (n.d.). Good Reads. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3bBoAWm.