I am going on a ski weekend trip to Vail, Colorado in December. This is mostly due to an unexpected airline credit I have. “So, who are you going with?” my wife asked. (Uncomprehending stare) “What do you mean”, I finally responded. “Well, you’re going to want to go with someone. I’m assuming Courtney, maybe someone else”, she continued. “Ah, why would I want to go with anyone?” I am met with raised eyebrows followed by “Most people would want to go with someone.”
I almost never go to parties if I can help it. I never go to concerts. I hate most social functions. The idea of having to make small talk in a room full of people I have never met and will never meet again is my version of Hell. The notion of being surrounded by a sweaty, clamoring, mass of people in a confined, dark space while uncomfortably loud music is playing…are you kidding? If I have to go to a store, or heaven forbid, a mall I usually bring an MP3 player to simply drown out the crowd and give me some notion of space, through auditory dampening. This is the only way I can go Christmas shopping. Plus, you can actively ignore any sales clerk who wants to shill out some idiotic store brand credit card, promotion, etc. I am told this makes me appear rude.
I am so exhausted. I am so very, very exhausted. It is hard for most people to understand this. I am an introvert. To most people this means shy, quiet, socially awkward, or even stuck-up. This could not be farther from the truth. To many, being introverted is something that needs to be fixed. Or it means you are incapable of having a truly good time. “You just need to get out there, don’t be so afraid of rejection.” “Hey, why are you always going places by yourself? Are you depressed or something?” “Stop scowling. It’s a party. Lighten up.” I am exhausted of having to wear a mask and go through the oh-so-tired and predictable motions so that everyone else can feel comfortable. Why does no one ever try and make me feel comfortable by understanding I don't want to socialize? No, I have to slap on a grin and make small talk for everyone else. That isn't to say that chilling out in a quiet bar and talking with a few people who can actually converse isn't my idea of fun. No, going to a loud, frat-style, house party and having to scream at people just to be heard and force myself to dance/grind to shit hip-hop, that is my nightmare.
It is an extrovert dominated world and anyone who is different is obviously not normal. 75% of the population is extrovert in nature. My sister works in bars and night clubs, my brother is a stand-up comedian. They love gatherings and functions, anything with other people. I am an archaeologist and spend most of my time in a quiet archive, office, or in vast amounts of empty expansive dessert. I go to movies alone, snowboard alone, and do house projects alone. This doesn’t mean I hate my family; I wouldn’t have a family if I wanted to be utterly and completely solo. That isn’t even what it means to be an introvert. And it is concerning to me what an obstacle this can be for those I love.
Despite what you may think from what I wrote above, my wife and I have a very deep and full understanding of one another. She truly does get me and I can same the same of her. We can talk for hours and never get bored. That was why I fell in love with her. The misconception about introverts is that it is all or nothing. If you don’t like being around people then that means all people. Wrong. We only want to be around those we care about and if that means you then you should feel pretty damn good about it. You may only be one in ten. The rest of you…