I saw this pic on reddit a few weeks back. (reddit post link)
Reading the captions made me giggle. Thinking of how silly introverts are. Uniting separately in their own homes. Hehe.
The humor slowly faded when I realized that I am also an introvert.
Introverts + Strangers
As an introvert, I see social gatherings as a challenge. It takes tremendous willpower, courage, and motivation to get me to go somewhere with a bunch of strangers. Especially if the expectation at the event is that you should mingle with everyone there.
The way I feel about meeting strangers is similar to people’s mindset when dealing with someone who has the plague. There is a distaste in your mouth. Your stomach feels queasy. You try to keep a distance from them.
With the plague, people have a good reason to act like this. But with an introvert like myself, what am I so afraid of catching?
If anything, I might catch their infectious enthusiasm, humor, or wisdom. There’s plenty of awesome people out there who I have yet to meet.
Yet when I’m at an event I always revert to my introverted self.
Perhaps I’m afraid of what people may think of me once we start talking. At least if I keep to myself, I’ll always be a mystery to them.
Perhaps I have a limit on how many relationships I can juggle at once. With more people, even if they are just acquaintances, it overburdens my emotional capacity. Since I’m an introvert and only have a few quality relationships, I go out of my way to protect those few that I do have. I know how hard it would be to find another one. So I push others away, to ensure the health of my current relationships.
Perhaps I am a control freak when it comes to my personal space. At home, I can re-arrange things how I like it. Everything is predictable when I’m by myself. Out there, not so much. I have less control in the real world. People tend to do things that I least expect. And I find that extremely intimidating.
Introverts + Family & Friends
I don’t really mind going to places where I know most of the people there like family get-togethers or parties with friends.
But one of the challenges of being an introvert is that I don’t get out often to meet and make new friends. Therefore my social circle is limited to friends I’ve made in high school, college, and church.
As I grow older, most of my college friends are getting married and settling down with their new families. I believe I’m the last guy in my group of college buddies that is still single. (Yes, I lasted the longest … uh where’s my prize?)
Therefore you would assume that I would fall back on my family for my social needs, since that’s the only option left.
I do to a certain degree.
I hangout with my cousin the most, to the point where most of her friends have become my friends. (Now I wouldn’t hangout with any of them without her there, except for maybe one or two of them.)
Even with my cousin, 9 out of 10 times she’s asking me to go do something. Only in the rare occasion do I actually have something going on that she can accompany me on.
I have tons of other cool cousins, siblings, uncles, and aunts who I could go hangout with but I don’t initiate anything with them. It’s as if my default state of being is to wait. Waiting for something to happen. At least that’s how it must look like from their perspective.
From the inside, I have things going on. But most of those things don’t involve others. Such as reading new books, writing blogs, enjoying music on my headphones, hitting the gym, or taking photos with my camera.
Introverts + Clubbing
Whenever I do go clubbing, it’s usually with my cousin TA. Therefore most of these incidents involve going somewhere with her.
- I remember driving my cousin and her friends to a club. It was someone’s birthday. I recall that we couldn’t find any close parking so I offered to drop them off in front of the club. Now, from their perspective it may seem like I’m just being a gentleman and didn’t want my “lady friends” to walk far in the cold with their high heels.
- From the introverted perspective, I just wanted to park by myself. I just wanted to take a nice long walk by myself. I wasn’t trying to be chivalrous! I was trying to be introverted!
- You know you’re an introvert if on your birthday you want to be alone. I went out again with TA’s group of friends. After we got in, one of our friends who came late couldn’t find any parking. Since, I was the only one who knew the area, I volunteered to go get her.
- Now, in normal circumstances, the birthday boy is not expected to do anything that doesn’t involve getting drunk at the club. But since I needed some alone time, I volunteered to go get her. (Yes! ME time! I’m glad I went because I was starting to feel claustrophobic with all of the people in the club.)
- A couple of weeks back, TA was out of town. So when my brother saw me all dressed up, leaving the house at 11 pm, he asked me the following.
- Him, “I thought TA was out of town?”
- Me, “Yes she is out of town.”
- Him, “Then who are you going to the club with?”
- Me, “By myself!”
- My brother was confused. In his mind, I always go out with TA. Therefore, if she’s out of town and I’m going clubbing, something must be wrong. Either, I’m going out with someone else (which is impossible, I’d have to agree with him on that). Or, I forgot that TA is out of town (which is also unlikely, but more likely to happen than the fact that I found someone else to go clubbing with). My brother knows me well.
- I used to enjoy clubbing with a big group. And I still do from time to time. But I’m slowly discovering that going solo can be entertaining in its own way. I guess my main beef with clubbing with groups is the way we dance. 90% of the time, we’re bumping and grinding. Which is fun and flirtatious, especially if you’re with cute girls. But even that gets old quickly.
- I noticed that I’ve been wandering away from the group every time we go clubbing. TA and her friends think I’m drunk and don’t know where I’m going. They got it partially right. I am drunk, but I DO know where I’m going. I’m going away from the group. Time for some solo dancing.
- I hate selfies. Why do you ask? Think about it. Selfies forces you to be around people. You’re either holding the camera to take a pic of people or you’re forced to be in the pic with them. Then you have to fake a smile! (Ugh!!! The thought of faking my smile makes me want to barf.) My cousin TA LOVES selfies. Waiting in line at the club … SELFIES!!! Don’t drink the shots yet … SELFIES!!! Someone slipped on the dance floor … SELFIES!!!
- TA and her friends always complain that I suck when taking selfies with their iPhones. I always wondered why my pics came out horribly on the iPhone, when I’m supposedly a professional photographer. I think the problem might have something to do with the fact that I HATE selfies. When they hand me their phone, it feels like I’m holding a rotten, smelly, dead fish. (Hurry up and pose, so I can get this thing away from me!)