I used to compare myself to others. But now I’m better than most.

😉

Perhaps as introverts we compare more, given our tendency to be more internally aroused, to make judgements.

But there are three kinds of comparisons that can be pretty toxic. Especially for introverts who are reflective and inward focussed.

Here are 3 types of comparisons you should be alert to avoid.

3 Comparisons You Should Stop Making

1. Comparing Your Best To Their Worst

This kind of comparison can be unintentional but harsh, a judgmental diatribe flying unbidden into your brain.

You might find the uppity little voice in your head coming down hard on:

  • The person who says a really dumb thing
  • The person’s whose outfit looks faintly ridiculous
  • The person who fails to press the button at the pedestrian crossing and stands there like a slack-jawed moron when the light changes and everyone has to wait a whole other cycle
  • The person who’s trying way too hard
  • The person who walks erratically into your path while typing on their phone
  • The clueless person with the pram blocking everyone’s path
  • The person who waits till they get off the escalator to stop and ponder where they want to go.

It’s easy to rant an internal tirade at that person.

Unlike we, who at this particular moment are at the top of our game. Smart, considerate, good looking – humans who are simply superior to this irritating specimen. Model humans, really.

But the thing is, these are things we’ve all done at one time or another. If not this exact thing then something equivalently dim-witted or inconsiderate. It’s only because we’re not doing it right now that we can feel superior to the person who is.

I’m terribly guilty of this kind of comparison. The voice in my head can be like a director’s commentary, judging and condemning and huffing away without pause for breath, and making it impossible to enjoy the feature.

Yet my own show reel of idiotic things said and done would make Adam Sandler outtakes look like a Merchant Ivory film.

This mental comparison has unpleasant consequences. It can put you in a bad mood and leave you feeling (even more) misanthropic. It can set a nasty little scowl on your face. If you direct your thoughts into a passive aggressive glare or eye roll or sigh then you can make the other person feel pretty awful too.

Much better to temper your annoyance by remembering we all do and say dumb things and assume you’re just seeing this person at a bad moment. Share an understanding smile, lend a hand to help, or simply send up a silent thank-you that you’re not the one being a doofus right now.

At worst, you keep your equanimity – a precious thing to an overanalysing introvert. At best, you may be the bright spot in the other person’s bad day. How lovely is that!

As Jean Giraudoux said, Only the mediocre are always at their best. Assume those annoying people are simply not at their best right now.

2. Comparing Your Worst To Their Best

This kind of comparison is a special horror of Facebook and other social media.

POST: Here I am doing something super cool
REALITY: I rarely do anything interesting so there’s no way I’m not sharing this

POST: Here I am lying in bed looking amazing without make up
REALITY: I took 47 shots at various angles and tried 12 filters before settling on this pic

POST: Here I am being uber successful in my business and having the time of my life
REALITY: It’s hard to get any traction and I have to hit up all my friends

POST: Here I am living my fabulous life in my fabulous home with my fabulous family
REALITY: Sometimes I want to murder them all and burn the house down while drinking a box of wine

And the people who post these statuses are themselves looking to feel better in a social media world of constant comparison.

Still, such curated snippets of putative real life can leave us feeling down on ourselves. I don’t look like that when I wake up in my messy house with my ungrateful family who make it impossible to focus on my difficult job. 

For this reason I suggest you view social media with the same sceptical eye you view ‘reality’ TV. We all know those shows are at least partly scripted, highly manipulated, expertly lit, directed for drama, and craftily edited to create a piece of entertainment.

Social media, too, is people presenting a part of themselves in a light that makes them feel good. Scripted, directed, edited.

Don’t compare your real and raw life to that.

3. Comparing Yourself To Anyone Else, Ever

So… don’t compare your best to someone else’s worst. You may have caught them at a bad moment.

And don’t compare your worst to their best. Almost certainly it’s a curated piece of self-presentation.

If fact, aim to stop comparing yourself to anyone else, ever.

One of my themes here at Louder Minds is to embrace your personal weirdness. Sure, try to improve yourself in ways that matter to you, work toward your goals, cultivate your values. But meanwhile, like yourself.

Being an introvert, you have to spend an awful lot of time with you, in that head of yours. Comparing yourself with others – for better or worse – makes it harder to enjoy your own company and nurture your self-acceptance.

Thoughts of comparison are natural, and there’s no point trying to pretend they won’t pop into your head – they will. Don’t resist. Don’t engage. Just let them pop, then let them float away.

We all have days when we’re kinda awesome and days when we suck like a turbo Dyson.

Accept yourself for where you are, for the richness of your life and the complicated angels and demons of your personality. Accept others for where they are, too. As much as possible, don’t compare.

You’ll be a much happier introvert.

MY NEW BOOK

How To Be An Introvert In An Extrovert World

BUY NOW

LATEST POSTS

Let's Stay In Touch

Sign up to my weekly introvert update. No small talk, I promise.

Every Friday your Weekly Update will drop *quietly* into your inbox. It’ll contain interesting, inspiring, and funny stuff – just for introverts. Stuff like this.

Join Our Facebook Group

Louder Minds Facebook Group is where the internet meme has become a reality. Introverts really are uniting, separately, in their own homes!

Join Now

Or Follow Us