I’ve repeatedly written about how I’m an Introvert and a self-professed hermit. Mr. Muse, also an Introvert, and I can putter around the house with nary a word spoken in our silent, learned communication style of nods, facial expressions and pointing. Of course, we speak, too, but if we can get by without it we do.
This hermit habit of mine often leaves people who only see me out-and-about confused when they hear me say, “I’m really a hermit.” They try to argue with me that I’m one of the most outgoing people they know (awesome! my acting skills are on point!), that I’m so friendly and warm (actually… I AM a friendly and warm person when I really like people – otherwise, acting wins again), and that I’m a thoughtful person, remembering birthdays, anniversaries and the like (I’m really good about that – I have a planner).
I’ve had people genuinely get offended when I say I’m a hermit because they’ve only seen my acting abilities. And while I can appreciate their surprise, there are some situations where my acting abilities are utterly useless and my true nature comes shining through. The other night was one of those times: obligatory dinner with some folks that are difficult to take.
To preface this scenario, let’s dispense with a few facts about yours truly:
1. Writing is my preferred medium. Not speaking.
2. I am the skeptic’s skeptic. Essentially, I default to thinking everyone is trying to bullshit me.
3. Small talk is boring as fuck to me.
4. Gossip makes me want to run screaming from the room. Also, being a gossip puts you into the “horrible person” category.
5. If I don’t like you, or we don’t have an immediate connection, or we’re not talking about something that interests the both of us – I’m not chatty. At all*. That includes Personal Questions.
So it was with agony that I found myself scheduled for dinner out on Wednesday with Mr. Muse and these folks. I wish I could say that my attitude was good, but I knew the evening would be filled with awkward silences. Excruciatingly awkward silences. I also knew from past experience that this event was going to be a “Two Drink Minimum”.
We met up at the restaurant and having eaten there before, and also having enjoyed their cocktails, I knew the exact drink I wanted – one of their speciality martinis. That would be the conversation lubrication I’d need to get through the evening.
Or, so I thought, until the gossip began and was followed with a barrage of personal questions. Cue the internal struggle of “how little of a response from me is deemed ‘adequate’ and not rude?”
I’m sure I failed. Two martinis didn’t even help – of course, the fact that they are not the worlds strongest cocktails from this establishment might have had something to do with my mouth’s motor not really turning over.
It was when Mr. Muse and I both got into the car to leave afterwards and we both let out a deep breath as we both visibly relaxed, turned to each other and said, “Why is it so difficult?” that I knew I hadn’t been the only one struggling. Then we drove home, oohing and ahhing as the lightning struck all around us in a November thunderstorm, letting go of the tension of the previous 90 minutes.
*There are exception to every rule.
I know I can’t be the only person who repeatedly lives through these situations. Where my homies at!? Are there people that you are obligated to spend time with that just make it incredibly difficult to enjoy that time?
This is one of the areas where you & I differ. For the most part, I’m pretty much an extrovert — heading out to a party, meeting new people, hearing their stories, and sharing stories of my own is where I’m at my most comfortable (though, I’ll admit, I have very little patience for gossip — I enjoy hearing what made a person who they are, I really don’t care about why someone thinks less of someone else).
But, it’s funny — it’s like I have a level . . . I take so much of that and *poof* I then NEED to just be by myself, and I head into pure “acting” mode. I liken it to the way alcohol hits me since I’ve lost weight — it used to be that I could be drinking and think “I need to slow down or I’m going to get sloppy…”, but now? I seem to head from “completely unaffected” to “blisteringly drunk” in a matter of minutes — usually around the 4th drink or so.
The preference of writing as a form of communication, though? That’s me to a T. If it weren’t for the fact that I use my mobile phone as a method to book gigs for my band, and to book wedding dates with brides, and to field professional stuff (in other words, if my phone were only for my personal use), my outgoing voicemail would be “please hang up and text me.”
I think my ability to change my personality to the moment, go with the flow as it were, is really what throws people. I’ve been described by a few people as a “chameleon”. This is probably why so many people think I’m extroverted. To be far, on the sliding scale of introversion/extroversion I’m not too far off center, but my preference is being alone. My favorite days at the office are when nobody is around because I can get so much more work done! When everyone is at the office, it’s interruption and distractions the whole day. Honestly, yesterday at the office I feel like I hardly got a thing done even though I DID work. At the end of the day I snuck out without saying a word to anyone because I was so overstimulated I had to just get myself to a safety bubble of solitude.
As for drinking, I try to keep myself limited to two or three. More than that and I won’t sleep – and I REALLY like my sleep.
Except to get my mail twice a week, I have not left my property in more than a month. No one has come to visit (which is good), and I have had inclination to leave the homestead and visit others.
People do not ask me to join them for dinner because they know I will decline the invitation.
You are a reflection of myself, that is probably why I like you so much.
LOL Well, I’m a likeable person – so that helps. I am one of those oddballs in that I like BEING invited, because it’s the thought that counts, but I often decline if I will only know a couple people at the event/dinner/whatever. Now, if the host were to introduce me to people who would be at that same event in ones and twos prior to it, I’d likely change my mind. The whole reason I’m that way, I’ve determined, is that I know I’m difficult to read and I react poorly to displays of emotion. Also, I find that many people today lack basic manners and a sense of propriety, cracking off-color jokes that really ought to only be told in the presence of people one knows quite well. In essence, I come across as a “cold fish”, or a robot. So, I get it, and while I’m comfortable with who I am, I know that if I make people I don’t know uncomfortable then I’ll be uncomfortable at their uncomfortableness. Make sense?
There are many times we go out to meet others because Kim says it’s the right thing to do. I know before we get there it will be the same feel sorry for us stories. My theory is if you don’t have anything socially positive to say then shut the fuck up !! Never thought about the “two drink minimum” before. I suppose that’s why I often go for a couple of whiskeys on the rocks before I settle in to mixed cocktails. Then I can smile my way through the night while my mind is saying “go get a life” !!
Ugh! Sob stories are the WORST! I really wish I could “settle in” with this couple, but it rarely happens. I’m more like a robot. Upright, stiff, my mind running calculations, cold. LOL
Honestly, I have to stop myself from saying “I’m not comfortable sharing my life with you because you’re just going to use it to gossip, and also, I don’t care for gossip.”
Interesting, another shared commonality, Kim often says that I’m too cold heart-ed towards people and situations. I too tend to keep my mouth shut because as has been brought to my attention on more than one occasion I’m apparently too brutally honest at times. Yes hate gossip !!
LOL I’m GREAT in an emergency when people are injured/bleeding because I’m all, “Sit down and shut up. I get that you’re in pain but crying about it isn’t going to help.”
For the most part I have scripts in my head. Like, if someone asks me how I am, I reply “I’m well, thank you.” THEN I have to mentally tell myself that the social expectation is that I will ask that person how they are as well. So, then I say, “And how are you?” Even though i don’t care, because they aren’t friends with me – at best they are acquaintances. But I fake it.
Then what usually happens is that my following the social protocols is mistaken for an invitation to tell me their life story of the last 14 hours – which I REALLY don’t care to hear about – and I have to stand there, pretending to listen until they are done.
Ditto,ditto and ditto ! One of my favorite lines is”fake it till you make it”, oh yes I totally understand and smell what you are standing in.