Thursday, July 6, 2017

A Social Epiphany

I had an epiphany today while texting a good friend of mine who moved to Colorado a couple of years ago. She is very social and extroverted, so she naturally craves social interaction and was telling me how she doesn’t have many friends. (She does; they just live far away now.) I told her I hope she schedules girls’ nights and stuff so she gets the fulfillment she needs. She is a teacher, and said her department at work is very collaborative, so that fills her social cup.

And then I had this grand realization! A full circle moment where I have realized why I’m struggling so badly lately.

See, I am an introvert. I need and want alone time. I don’t like my time being encroached upon by others. I don’t like people pressuring me to do certain things with my time. It’s mine. Leave me alone.

When I was teaching, I exerted all my energy toward my students and other teachers from 7:20 to 3:30. My social cup overflowed at work. I came home exhausted and ready to retreat to my silent home where I was content to work out and then chill for the evening.

Here’s where my friend helped me realize something. Since switching jobs, this position fills my anti-social cup. My introverted nature is satisfied in 8.5 hours of mostly quiet time at this office. That means that after work is done, I am ready for something fun. I want all the conversation and all the company.

It’s a weird change for me. I can’t believe it’s taken a year for me to realize this.

I feel lonely not necessarily because I want romantic company (I mean yeah companionship would be pretty awesome; having someone to spend time with by default is my favorite), but because I spend most of my day inside my own head. Most everyone knows my obsession with the Color Code framework. Blue personalities seek intimacy (deep connections) with people. While I don’t like to have an excess of socializing in my life, and I don't do big groups, I absolutely do need fulfilling collections, or I feel incomplete.

The problem is that the introvert in me is bad at making advance plans. I find myself on Saturday thinking, “Well shoot, I want to go to dinner tonight because I ran a gazillion miles, but who’s available at this point?” And typically, most people already have plans.

I also face the problem of not wanting to bug people. There is less than a handful of people I could probably hang with every day and not get sick of. I sort of assume the same is the case with me: probably most people don’t want to hang out with me daily. So if I have plans with a friend one night, I don’t want to ask them again another night in the same week. I assume they have other things they need or want to do, and I also don’t want them to feel bad if they say no.

The final problem I face is that I sometimes get invited to do things that I just don’t want to do. I often feel like I have to mentally “work up to” doing some things, like pre-charging a backup battery or something. Even if something seems fun, I have to mentally prepare. I know extroverts don’t understand this at all. It’s just a fact of my life and how I function. Sorry. Kind of.

I’ve tried to make good plans to fill my summer evenings because summer is when I come alive. I love being in the pool and by the pool. I love to read and take my sweet time to do whatever. I love to go to concerts (Twilight, anyone?). I love to go to baseball games. I love to be outside. I love to eat dessert with friends. I tried to work all this into my calendar when I {designed my summer}. But I’m finding that for the most part, I left too much time open with no plans, which is not good when I’m feeling this lonesome.

Anyway, this may have seemed like an obvious thing to everyone except for me. But now that I know, I need to be more proactive about making advanced plans with other people at least two or three evenings a week so that I don’t feel so empty and unfulfilled.

So... Who wants to have a campfire in the canyon with me? 

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