Sunday, December 12, 2010

An Innie in a World of Extras

I dread the holidays. Not just because I seem to fall into a deep depression every year around the beginning of December(December 9th, to be exact), but because somewhere over the years I became a severe introvert.

I used to be more extroverted. I used to go out dancing every Friday with my friends. I traveled places alone. I used to approach strangers and strike up conversations with them. I randomly bought drinks for interesting-looking people I didn't know just because I wanted to talk to them. Now, it is all too much.

They say that extroverts become more energized around lots of people. I become drained. I can handle a few people, people I know, or perhaps one or two strangers. If there are too many people around, I feel like I can't focus on anything.

Part of it is brain-related; my brain tries to hear every single conversation around me instead of concentrating on the person who is in front of me. So while I am trying to listen to my mother talk about Aunt Susie, I am hearing a conversation in the next room about football, and I am also listening to what my nephew is saying in the front of the house. Before anyone freaks out(OMG! She's like Superman or something!), I don't actually comprehend all that extra noise, but my brain certainly tries. But you can see where this would be an issue. (and yes, restaurants present special challenges.)

Part of my sudden reticence is also that I am much more attentive one-on-one or in small groups. Not only do I have an easier time with following conversations, but I can focus on the person. Any more than five people, and I can't keep track of who is talking, let alone what is being said. Then I start to get nervous about missing something important, hurting someone's feelings by accidentally ignoring them, or saying the wrong thing. I didn't really used to care about saying the wrong thing, but I have a son now. That changes everything. I don't want someone to be cruel to my son because of something that I said or didn't say. He doesn't deserve that, but people are what they are. Karma and all that.

So I'm an introvert now. If we go to a party and you can't find me, I'm probably hiding in the quietest corner I can find, watching everyone else having fun and wishing I could be home, curled up with a good book.


  1. Gawd it could have been me writing this. I practically have a panic attack every time a party comes up. You describe perfectly why that is.
    But that's who you are, and you are as much deserving of love and respect as the person dancing on the tables.
    Great post.


I welcome comments, but reserve the right to correct your spelling because I am OCD about it!