How I Accidentally Out-Introverted Myself. (And am undoing it…?)
It’s kind of nuts how it seems like everything happens all at once, or nothing happens at all. For most of the last few months, it’s been the latter. But last week was all crazy social, and it was weird.
For the full picture, allow me to backtrack a bit. Up until junior year of college, it wasn’t obvious, even to me, that I was an introvert — but that fall absolutely broke my brain (and maybe my soul?) to the point where I couldn’t stand my apartment or the people in it so hard that I basically moved out without having anywhere else to live. I just… left. (I slept on couches in deserted lounges or on friends’ dorm room floors for almost 2 weeks, until the housing lady hooked me up with an empty room for the last month or so of school, so I retrieved the remainder of my belongings and lugged them across campus, and proceeded to pretty much hibernate, except for classes.)
Senior year was not nearly so drastic/traumatizing, but I got roped into living in an overcrowded apartment again, when I had desperately wanted to just stay in a comfy dorm room with one good friend. The roommates were all people I liked this time, and I made good use of the kitchen and living room in the fall and was reasonably social, but there were just too many of us in not enough space, and there were almost always people who didn’t actually live there hanging around, so it was not particularly conducive to de-stressing this frazzled introvert.
I loved my friends (now that I had fine-tuned the selection of humans I was willing to spend time with) and really enjoyed my classes, but I was absolutely thrilled to graduate and move back home and have a whole room all to myself! Between my church friends (a handful of whom I consider close friends), three jobs (including Borders and a temporary office gig), and a whirlwind of NASAtweetups and such, I had plenty of human interaction, and was happy to retreat to (/ hide in) the bat-cave in whatever time remained.
However, eventually, my contract at the office job — and Borders entire existence — ended, there are lulls in between NASA adventures, and my friends are busy people. The third job stuck around, ramped up to pretty much full time, and moved to an actual office, but most days it’s just me and my boss. I’d see church friends at church and occasionally manage to hang out otherwise, and NASA funs do pop up now and then, but after a while, I realized that the vast majority of days, I don’t see anyone but my boss and my parents.
I gradually realized I had pared-down my social life a little too well.
As I embraced my introvert-y-ness, I had given up on maintaining friendships that weren’t worth it. I sort of released myself from feeling obligated to spend time with people I just didn’t really like, but had put up with because of mutual friends or because I used to enjoy their company — and I stopped clinging to old friendships with people who didn’t seem to reciprocate.
This was good. Like weeding the friendship garden. (Holy pants, that was corny!) But, to continue this slightly terrible metaphor, having weeded and pruned, I did not plant anything new, so once a few other things were removed, it was just a little too empty.
And at that point, I realized I didn’t really know where to go to find new [plants]. The friends I have and have had in the past, I met through school, or church, or work, or some church-or-school-related trip/event. Now that I’m not in school, the folks at church in my age group are both limited and remarkably constant, and there aren’t exactly hordes of new faces at work… well, that’s not particularly helpful.
I asked my handy dandy internet, and the consensus was basically, “Go do/to things your interested in, and you’ll meet people who share that interest!” Good advice, but as far as I knew, all that fit the bill were NASAtweetups, and at those I mostly befriend people who live far away. Awesome people, but not particularly helpful when you want to hang out at the spur of the moment. I didn’t have any other things to go to to make friends, so not so helpful. So, I remained a bit befuddled.
But then I wasn’t anymore.
It occurred to me that the problem probably wasn’t that there weren’t other events/gatherings relevant to my interests, but just that:
- a) I didn’t know what/when/where they were
- b) I had only ever really gone to things that I had some connection to– either it was affiliated with my school or church or something, or I knew someone else there.
I was used to incrementally expanding my social circles, not randomly jumping into new ones.
So I decided to just go to things. Do things. ALL THE THINGS.
Between finding a few random things to go to, and plans with existing friends coming together, last week was the most ridiculously social week in probably at least a year! (Minus NASAtweetup trips, of course!)
On the way to work the other Friday, I saw a sign announcing a church coffeehouse concert thing that night. So on the way home, I decided to stop, and heard some good music, and ran into some folks I knew from helping with kids’ musicals a few years ago (apparently longer ago than I thought, as their teeny children are now basically grown men… weeeeeeeeird! o_O).
An email from Bethlehem Brew Works informed me there was a knitting club called “Pints ‘n’ Purls” which meets there on Monday nights, and sounded mighty intriguing. Turned out my boss was going away on Tuesday, so I didn’t have to go into the office, creating the perfect opportunity for a later night in which I could drive up and check it out. I did, and it was quite fun! A little far to be a regular thing for me, but I met some cool people and was sort of inspired by the phenomenon!
When Marian Call was here the week before, she highly recommended I attend the upcoming Ladies of Ragnarok concert in Norristown on Wednesday, so I thought I’d check that out. I did, and it was awesome! Molly Lewis and The Doubleclicks are awesome, talented, nerdy musicians (instant fan!), who draw a pretty cool and geeky crowd! (Who happened to mention some sort of game gathering at the bar/restaurant I pass going to/from work, that I look forward to checking out soon!)
I got to hang out with Rachel and sweet little Gwenny on Thursday afternoon, which happens semi-regularly and is always delightful.
…As well as Lisa on Saturday, which has been a gorram long time coming!
And then Sunday, I went to see Looper with a random guy I befriended at the Marian Call show! See? The plan is working already! A new friend! Victory.
Of course, my reward for all this socializing? A cold. Figures.