The life of an introvert can be fraught with challenges—when that pressing need for some alone time becomes desperate, something as simple as grabbing a bite to eat or taking the elevator suddenly becomes a real dilemma. We could all benefit from a little introversion now and then, but not being the social sort can very much be more of a curse than a blessing at times. Maintaining that sweet, sweet solitude is often a very real struggle, and these Redditors have come up with some pretty ridiculous ways to work around it. Let’s hear it for the introverted, the socially anxious and the just plain publically petrified.
43. Introvert in the Attic
Two months ago I didn’t want to stay in my apartment while two workmen were replacing some windows. So I just made up an excuse that I couldn’t stay and asked the concierge to keep an eye on them. The thing is, I didn’t have anywhere to go, so the day before they came I transformed this little attic storage room I have (which is barely the size of a single mattress) into like a cosy fort with food and blankets. I stayed there all afternoon watching movies trying not to make any noise because of the wooden floors.
42. Witnessed by the Witnesses
In my childhood home there were two large windows on either side of the front door so any visitor could see you and you could see them. After the initial entry there was a long hallway with the kitchen at the end.
One day someone rang the doorbell when I was home alone. My parents told me not to answer the door when I was home alone but I wanted to see who it was. So I stood in the kitchen and peered around the kitchen corner to look out the front door. I locked eyes with two Jehovah’s Witnesses and then I just slowly pulled my head back around the kitchen corner like nothing even happened.
I played way too many James Bond video games as a kid and this corner peering method worked 0/10 times.
Someone was knocking on my door recently, I quickly went to the door to look through the peephole. The actual peephole is covered with black electrical tape and a tiny pin-sized dot so people can’t see when I look through it from the outside. I didn’t recognize them so I didn’t answer; what I forgot to take into account was that my shadow from the desk lamp behind me was very clearly being displayed against the curtain and window next to the door. They called out…
Them (upon seeing my shadow move across the curtain): “Hello? I can see you’re home…”
Me (thinking they were talking about seeing my eye move across the peephole): “…No you can’t.”
40. Thinking Long Term
Not proud of this, but I spent the last 10 years building an investment portfolio that I could live on and retire early. The reason I wanted so badly to retire early was so that I didn’t have to spend time with banalities like small talk and pointless meetings with my co-workers.
So, in a nutshell, I went frugal, saved and invested my money, and stopped working… all just to avoid talking to Bob from Accounting.
39. Nature Calls
I went on a three-week camping trip to avoid two family reunions.
38. Better Get Walking
Getting off the bus at the wrong stop and walking because I pressed the stop button too soon and didn’t want to tell the driver.
37. My Little Zoo of Solace
In 7th grade, I would hide in the science lab during lunch and recess time and feed and play with the school pets. I would ask to use the bathroom around ten minutes into lunch and then come back in the last two minutes, they probably thought I had some real bad bowel issues.
They were two birds, a bunny, and two Guinea pigs. I would feed them carrots and talk to them. Nobody knew that I was there for half of the year, when one of my teachers finally walked in on me I thought I was busted. Luckily she was one of the nicer ones and made it my official “Job” to play with and feed the animals.
36. Weekend Getaway For One
I once spent a weekend in a hotel because I just wanted to be alone and chill, reading books and watching TV. The people I lived with at the time couldn’t spend more than an hour on their own without some sort of social interaction.
The roomie I have now is like-minded and we can go days without talking/seeing each other and it’s great.
35. Hello Darkness My Old Friend
I went to an empty room and stood in the dark for 45 minutes to avoid a team bonding event.
34. By Any Means Necessary
Lived in a loft downtown on the third floor. The amount of times I used the stairs in an effort to not be trapped in an elevator with a stranger is too many to count. One time there was a family moving in. I walked all the way around the building to the opposite side’s entrance to get into the building.
Then they were using the elevators, so I took the stairs, then they were ON MY FLOOR moving stuff in. I didn’t want it to look like I was trying this hard to avoid them, so I said, “whoops! Wrong floor” and walked up two extra floors and waited ten minutes before going back down to see if they were gone.
What should’ve taken me five minutes took me close to 30 to get in my apartment. That’s when I realized I might have a problem.
33. The Wrong Way at the Right Time
Was waiting in a tiny train station for a train that came every hour. Old lady came up and started telling me her life story.
Took the first train that came (going in the opposite direction) just so I wouldn’t have to stand there and nod politely.
32. Avoiding Aunt Nosy
Rather than associate with my nosy aunt when I lived with her, I told her I was going out for a while, moved my car up the street, and sat in it watching Netflix on my phone for a couple hours.
31. Tune It All Out
I wear headphones all the time. Even if they’re off/not plugged in. I’m so much more productive at work, people at the gym let me be, and people on the street leave me alone on my walk home.
30. An Introvert’s Emergency
In order to avoid a mandatory Christmas social for work, I legitimately took myself to the ER just to get the registration wristband (for proof that I actually went to the hospital) and then left. Wasn’t sick or anything, and I didn’t even see a doctor. I just needed a hospital wristband to prove that I had a reason not to go to the work mixer (so I wouldn’t get fired).
I hated my coworkers.
29. Fortress of Solitude
In high school, I didn’t have a car so I walked home. I used to just fast walk to try to beat the crowd of people, but I just didn’t want to deal with it anymore so I would stay in the computer lab sometimes and ask my dad to pick me up a few hours later.
So once the bell rang to go home, I would just stay in class since I had computers last. The teacher would forget I was in there/not even notice me and then turn the lights off, lock the door, then leave… honestly I didn’t mind at all, I got to play video games by myself and one time about an hour and a half later the janitor came in and I guess I scared him. He turned the lights on and literally screamed when he saw me.
28. Pedestrian Anxiety
I routinely cross streets or turn down streets that are in the wrong direction of where I’m going to avoid awkward interactions with vehicles as a pedestrian.
Please don’t stop and give me that “it’s okay to go!” wave when there’s still traffic barrelling down the opposite side of the street and you’re the only vehicle trying to be courteous.
I appreciate what you’re trying to do but it would be easier for everyone if you just kept driving.
27. I’ll Take My Chances
When I was in the military, I volunteered for a deployment to get out of going to a wedding.
26. After You
If someone is browsing a section of a shelf at a grocery store where I need something from, I pretend to look at other stuff until they go away.
I swear though today I think I was waiting for someone to leave the canned soup section while they were waiting for me to leave the salsa section diagonally behind them.
25. Dining Alone
I had this office job for about six months where I didn’t really like anyone I worked with, so every day for lunch I would go out to my car to pretend I was going out to get lunch, and instead drive to a nearby mall parking garage, park, and eat the lunch I’d packed for myself. I could’ve saved gas and time by just sitting by myself at one of the tables at work. But then someone might’ve tried to talk to me.
24. Oh, the Shame
I was having a “bad day” with being an introvert, so I used one of those Grocery Delivery services, and texted the driver saying I wasn’t home at the moment and to just leave the stuff on the porch.
When I heard her drive up I literally stood in my hallway where I couldn’t be seen from any windows and listened carefully.
I heard her come up to the door, knock, knock again, drop the bags and drive off. She sent a text that she had dropped the stuff off and I should hurry because some of it is perishable.
I opened the door and got my groceries.
That might be one of the lowest moments of my life. I still get pangs of shame whenever I think of it.
23. Delightfully Deceptive
My roommates decided to have a random study party, with like 20 people in our apartment that is only 800 sq feet. Because of the unexpected intrusion, I got into the router settings and throttled the internet to dial up era speeds. When my roommates were trying to figure out what was happening, I told them we simply had too many people splitting the bandwidth and in annoyance, they all left for the library. Best eight hours of silence ever.
22. The Road Less Travelled
I’ve scaled wet, steep and slippery rocks when hiking just to avoid small talk with the people on the actual path.
21. Anything But Small Talk
I was driving up to the store, saw someone I knew walk in, I didn’t even stop. I just kept driving to another store. I didn’t want to do small talk with them. And I knew it’d be a lot of small talk because something new just happened in their life that they’d bring up and want to talk about.
20. Not Worth It
I have been driving a mile to other gas stations for about a year now to avoid going to the 7-Eleven three minutes away from my house walking distance because I don’t want to make small talk with the cashier who works there.
19. Death Can Wait
I had pneumonia for a solid week and didn’t go to a hospital because I didn’t want to talk to people on the phone to make an appointment. I was sure I’d “get over it.”
Couple days in, my Mom calls and says I sound terrible so she sends a cousin over. He walks into my house with me sweating like crazy, the heat cranked up, the window near me wide open (Northern Midwest January so it’s really cold), in my boxers. He brings me some Gatorade and cold medicine. Choke all that down.
Next day, his mom shows up and takes me to the hospital. “Hey, you’ve had pneumonia, you shouldn’t wait like this next time.”
18. Baby Steps
I gave birth to my baby at home, alone, with my toddler watching. I unexpectedly went into labor and even when I could feel the baby’s head, I just thought to call my husband and tell him to “please hurry!” The thought of having to call an ambulance and deal with people was too much.
17. Solo Saturday
It’s Saturday and my phone is on flight mode to avoid calls and text messages, the curtains are all drawn so it looks like I’m not home, and I’m going to watch movies all day. Sounds like my ideal day, really.
16. Concerned Commuter
I went down the elevator with a colleague. We use the same subway line to get home, and I knew if we walked down together we’d also have to sit on the train together and make small talk for the next 45 minutes.
So at the building exit, I said I had an errand to run, walked the opposite direction, and used a different subway line that added another 20 minutes to my commute. Worth it.
15. Between a Rock and a Hard Place
So I was supposed to go to a female friend’s house for the first time (who’s actually very close to me) but since my parents are very conservative I told them I’m going for a movie with my friends and the tickets are already booked so they can’t say no. Next day when I’m supposed to go, I get super anxious thinking it’d be awkward, cancel on her, but still had to go out because of the “movie.” Now I’m out with no one to go to or nowhere to go with very minimal cash for around four hours. That day sucked.
14. Can’t Talk, Drumming
A couple friends and I were in a taiko drumming club at school. I did it because I like music and was sick of dealing with people (it was just my friends and I so it was fun). Ended up traveling around performing, even did a performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London. I spoke to maybe seven different people the entire time.
13. An Introvert Abroad
I recently went on holiday to Bali, and quite a few people I knew were going over at the same time, staying not far from me. The usual promises of ”we’ll catch up when we get over there.” I knew that catching up with them would involve drinking silly amounts of alcohol and just talking nonsense, so I faked that I had gone to another region of the island instead on a whim, and just had to be careful if I ventured out that I didn’t go to places they were likely to be.
12. Very Punny
My house is located a block away from a small park, which has a baseball field on the side closest to me. And next to that field is a soda machine. One day I wanted a drink, so I grabbed a few coins and walked over to the park. But as I got closer I saw there was a kids’ baseball game going on and people were around the soda machine. So naturally, I turned around and walked to the gas station instead, which is three blocks from my house in the opposite direction. But when I got there, I found out that I didn’t have enough coins for a soda, so I had to reluctantly walk right back past my house to the park. I finally got to the soda machine and it ate my quarters without giving me a soda. So I went home sad, thirsty, and a little shameful. It was soda-pressing.
11. No Stranger Danger Here
Sometimes I have an easier time interacting with complete strangers since it’s less likely that I’ll ever see them again.
My neighbor had double parked behind me and I needed to get to work, so I ordered an Uber, took it to the train station, rode the train, and took another uber to my job site (and then did the whole thing in reverse to get home at the end of the day).
10. Just Me, Myself and I
College. Had to attend an out-of-town conference with my classmates as part of the requirements for a course. My professor had booked a block of rooms at the hotel where the conference was held, and people were going to put 3-4 guys or girls to a room and split the cost. My classmates had a bunch of socializing and bar hopping planned, which sounds like my idea of a living hell. Also, all of them carpooled together in groups. I honestly would have rather walked barefoot across a mile of Legos than to be held hostage in a car for four hours with people I barely know.
A few people asked if I wanted to carpool with them and what room I was in and I said “Oh, thank you so much! I’m actually staying with a friend in town though, and I’m stoked to see her—I’m going to have to take my own car so I can drive to the conference. I’ll catch you guys there!” so I wouldn’t come off as a weirdo.
But I actually reserved a room at another hotel way across town, attended the bare minimum of the conference, and enjoyed as many coffee shops, art museums, downtown shopping trips, and nature trails as I could.
9. Tiny Human Shield
I used my then 3-year-old as a human shield on the couch when my husband brought company over before a trip. I just hid behind her.
3 1/2 years later, one of those friends is now considered family to us and I love that bro dearly.
8. Vision Be Damned
I take my glasses off when I’m walking between classes at my university. I therefore can’t recognize anyone; unfortunately, sometimes people still notice me even though I’m walking fast.
7. Defensive Chairs
There was a girl who liked sitting next to me in class. In retrospect, I was a jerk, but at the time I just wanted to do my class and go home, didn’t feel like socializing.
I got to class early and pushed the chairs around my seat just enough so that when she came, she would have to put the chairs back to where they were in front of everyone or sit somewhere else. She sat somewhere else.
6. Desperate Times, Desperate Measures
My roommate threw a party at my house and I hid from everyone. There’s only one front door and everyone would have seen me if I’d left and would’ve wanted to talk to me. I avoided eating that whole night because I didn’t want to walk by the party to get food. My car was trapped between other cars. I ended up jumping out of a second story window and walking three miles to a 7-eleven.
5. There’s an Introvert Under Your Bed
Hid under a bed while a real estate agent showed a couple around my flat. Couldn’t be bothered to go out but can’t stand small talk, so decided to lay low.
I had a cup of tea, cushions, a Nokia with Snake on it. I was quite happy under there.
They were 25 minutes late. I guess I was under the bed for just over an hour. I feared a sneeze. I was in my early twenties.
4. Socialising Is a Headache
My girlfriend’s roommate came back one night with a bunch of their friends that I had never met before. I’m not particularly skilled socially, nor do I care to be, but I can get through introducing myself and making a good first impression to one or two people at once, but ten people is too many. So my girlfriend goes to talk to all of them and wants me to meet them, so I say I’ll be out soon I have a bit of a headache.
So I think for a while about how I’m gonna get through this, but I realize that it’s been so long that if I go out now it’ll be super awkward. Then I hear someone coming so I hide in the closet. Now I really can’t go out there, so I stay in the closet for a while, then I come out and get in the bed and pretend to be sleeping. When my girlfriend comes back in she “wakes” me up and asks where I was, so I pull a George Costanza and lie and say that I snuck out and went to the store to get some aspirin and then snuck back in and fell asleep. She wants to know why I didn’t go through the front door and say hi to everyone on my way out, so I say that I didn’t want to disturb their fun so I went out the side door.
3. No Turning Back
I pretended to be deaf at Taco Bell the other day when this couple at the table next to me kept trying to talk to me while I ate. To me, they were being rude by interrupting a stranger while they eat, but I guess I was rude too by not even looking up or acknowledging them. They tried FOUR times to engage me and each time I just kept pretending like I didn’t hear them. At one point the lady actually got up from her seat to come over and quiz me on my Mexican Pizza, but I just looked up at her and shrugged like I didn’t understand her. I was in too deep at that point to talk!
2. Get Me Out of Here
I was invited to a low key dinner thing at the local Chili’s with a group of people I tangentially knew. Like 20ish people I guess. Ended up sitting at a booth by myself across the way from the main table because I didn’t know anyone enough to really put up the effort into sit next to them. That, and searing social anxiety. So I ended up being the odd man out (very self-fulfilling in retrospect). I ordered an iced tea, got super anxious and self-hating about the situation and worked myself up pretty good. Had a bit of an agoraphobic, world-closing-in-on-me moment. Made the split second and irreversible decision to bail out and I left the only bill I had in my wallet on the table because I didn’t want to have to wait another second for the waitress to show up and pay for my $1.50 drink. That waitress got a $99.50 tip.
In my defense, I was going through a pretty bad time in my life and my head had been telling me stories for months about how worthless and burdensome I was to be around. Typical depression/anxiety stuff that sounds absolutely bonkers when verbalized but is very real when you’re living in a basement, working 60 hours a week at a job you despise with no hope of upward mobility, along with a healthy amount of generalized self-sabotage to keep the cycle going.
I’ve come a long way with that sort of thing. Still very much an introvert—but now it’s a choice more so than a self-inflicted curse.
1. It’s Exactly What It Looks Like
The postman was knocking on my door, so rather than answer it, I decided to army-crawl past the door (so he wouldn’t see me through the frosted glass). Then he pushed open the letterbox, and saw me splayed across the floor.