No really, it’s okay if you cancel our plans.
Like everyone, I sometimes accept invitations that I kind of wish I didn’t have to accept. I don’t enjoy ‘hanging out’ for endless barbecues, playing dumb games like corn hole or talking about diets or sports. For me, a social obligation that has a set beginning and ending is key. Dinner at a restaurant, awesome, I can leave when I’m ready to leave. A cup of coffee that is squeezed in before a doctor’s appointment is sweet. And, oh, a deep cerebral conversation from time to time is so appreciated.
Maybe I sound like a snob, but the truth is I’m just not super social. More than one or two gatherings in a week (and one is far better) makes me cranky. And it’s not that I don’t want anyone else to play games, I just despise the constant badgering that I play too. We once went to a summer party that was focused on games and the host would not leave me alone, telling me I had to play. He cajoled me nonstop and thought he was funny. I thought he was an ass. Other times I’ve been stuck at football parties and while I enjoy football in my home where I can stand up and head to my bedroom to read when bored, hanging out with a crowd for four hours is not something I like to do.
Here’s the thing: this has nothing to do with the people I’m doing it with. Most of the people I accept invites from are friends I love. We just have a different idea of a good time.
I’m your gal if you need to cancel plans. I won’t be angry, in fact, I can change into my PJ’s faster than anyone I know when gifted downtime.
One of my good friends is the opposite. She’s an extrovert and gets gas for her engine in social situations. The time of quarantine was hard for her.
There was a time in my life when I felt obligated to say ‘yes’ unless I had a prior plan. The calls that began, “What are you doing Saturday?” and, knowing something would be requested, I sometimes made up a plan. When caller ID became a regular thing, I was relieved. Friends could leave a message and I would not be on the spot. I’m a dreadful liar.
Why do we push so hard to make others feel they can’t say “no I don’t want to,” without having our feelings hurt? My entire life until a bit before 60 felt like a delicate dance between taking care of myself and the needs of friends or family. Respecting one another’s differences is not personal. When I don’t want to play a game at your party, it has nothing to do with you.
The shirt I’m wearing in the above picture is a favorite, and one that generates lots of attention when I wear it in public. It’s the truest thing for me. I align perfectly with the message.
I need a great deal of alone time and space to feel around in my subconscious for my creative projects, whether that be writing, photography or painting. If you have an image of an artist writing all day every day, or a photographer who knows exactly what she wants from a photo, you couldn’t be further from the truth.
There are exceptions to be sure, but most creative human beings I know relish solitude to play a bit. They know an idea often happens in the background and want to be ready to lasso it when it shows up. Something that is impossible when we are always in social situations.
By the way, I cannot stomach more than a few minutes of small talk. If you don’t feel like flexing your intellect and going deep, we might not enjoy our time together. I mean I can pretend but you won’t be on my ‘must see’ list.
One night my husband and I had dinner with two friends we rarely see despite being quite enamored of. The conversation went from politics to music to literature to weed and alcohol and good food and before we knew it, it was 2 am. I left their home exhausted, but stimulated and alert, my senses electrified.
I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, but suspect a number of you will be insulted by my honesty. That’s unfortunate, but it is what it is.
I just think our relationships would be richer and more intimate if we could be who we really are without trying to change one another. How sweet to be in the midst of people who really know and respect one another.
You know, you do you, I’ll do me.
We can still be friends.
Tips to remember when dealing with introverts:
- Schedule more one to one time versus big group outings or parties.
- Leave us be when we say we don’t want to participate in something.
- Remember, we love you, we just need lots of solitude.
- Let us leave early.
- If we are quiet, it doesn’t mean we are unhappy. We are observing.
- No small talk please. We can’t pretend to care.
- We don’t hate people, we just tire easily in social situations.