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?