7 November 2018

My favorite shirt.

Mostly because it's true.

One of my other favorites says Introverts Unite. Separately. In Our Own Homes. Again, lots of truth there.

One of my friends thinks I'm an ambivert, and that might have been, way back when he knew a much, much younger me. But the truth now is that I am introverted and socially awkward, and I suspect it's the result of so many years of moving around and leaving friends behind, landing in places where I just didn't know anyone and when I did meet people, we didn't click.

Face it, I'm fairly liberal and wound up in some very conservative places.

After we left Texas--where I had martial arts as my main social outlet--I found it more and more difficult to connect with people unless it was online. In Illinois, I met, literally, no one with whom I had anything more in common than a couple of semesters at the local college. In North Dakota, we had a few friends, thanks to bowling, but there wasn't really any socializing outside that.

Ohio was a bright spot; we lived on a great street with terrific people, and spent a lot of time with them.

But that was it. We left there 15 years ago when the Spouse Thingy retired. My social life since then has been limited to online, except for one local friend who better die before dumping my ass.

This sounds whiny, but it's not meant to be.

It's really meant as more of an explanation.

I am perfectly comfortable with my introversion 99% of the time. I have a lot of friends, truly, but thanks to military life, they're scattered across the country. Or I met them through Max's blog. Or we connected way back when Prodigy was a thing and there was an active martial arts board. Some of my oldest friends--from when I was a kid--are still friends and we talk a lot, but they're way over there and I'm way over here.

There is a price to be paid for that kind of a social life.

Over time, with distance and habit, a person can lose their social skills. They forget how to engage in spontaneous small talk. There is no text-lag buffer, no taking time to edit thoughts before letting them fly. When you're conversing in person, you kinda have to talk. Like, right then.

So, sure, over the years I have become painfully socially awkward, and more of an introvert than I am an ambivert.

The topic came up recently when I was talking to a long time friend, who poked at me when she said she might be out this way and I reminded her I didn't have a guest room. I do have an inflatable mattress, and I might have a pump for it, so there was always a chance to bunk in the room where the treadmill and rowing machine live, and where Buddah and Max have barfed on the carpet approximately 4,967 times.

She declined.

And then she poked at me a little more. She wouldn't do that to me, because it would make me panic. When I denied that, she point-blank asked when the last time I had a guest was.

Um. Maybe in Ohio...? And before that, maybe when the Boy was 2?

"And if I drop in on your down time at the Pub Panel? With my entire brood?" I think that's when I told her to shut the fark up. She laughed at me again, and promised it would never happen. Too many new people at once. Too many people period. I don't do that well (Oddly, I never had those issues on the 3 Day. No clue why.)

More truth: yeah, we don't entertain at home. I have no idea HOW to entertain at home. You come over, I don't know what to do with you. I suck at small talk. If you're a talker, it works better (though not if you talk and talk and talk and talk and don't let anyone else get a word it...) because I feel like I'm more of a listener (delusional, perhaps) but really, no clue how to really socialize anymore. I'm not a decent cook, so you're probably not getting dinner here, and even if I were a decent cook...yeah, really never done that, so you're probably not going to have a great time.

Now, oddly, drop me into a party where I know a couple people, I'm okay. But you need to be okay with me sitting back and watching and listening, because I tend to not approach anyone and I still suck at small talk. It might look like I'm miserable and not having any fun, when the truth is I'm having a great time. But I avoid that, because it makes other people uncomfortable. Why is she just sitting there? Why isn't she talking? Is she just rude or what?

The weird, hard left turn: if I do the InDesign instruction at the Pub Panel, I won't have a problem with that. When I'm prepared, I can talk in front of a large group. If someone needs help with something, I can do that.

Hell, if you're a total stranger out in the wild and something's wrong, chances are I'll stop to help. I had zero issues stopping my car a few weeks ago to help an Asian guy in an Old Sac parking garage who couldn't figure out the parking exit payment. Neither of us understood a word the other was saying, but we figured it out. Never occurred to me to do anything other than solve the problem.

But that wasn't social.

I'll never see that guy again. Three or four minutes, done.

So, really, that's it. Now you know why you're probably not staying at my house on the cat-barf carpet, and why I seemed rude the last time you saw me, and why I'm pretty okay with being an introvert. It's not you. It's just how I am.

Sorry. I am awkard. Sorry.

For reals.


Elisa Rowe-Dye Mahoney said...

I know exactly what you ars saying. After working from home after 25 years, I became socially awkward. I have no clue what to say to people or how to entertain them. I was a social butterfly prior to becoming a medical transcriptionist, was college class president, involved with fund raisers, etc. Being at home with a headset covering my ears 12 hours a day, sometimes 7 days a week, you realize there is absolutely nothing to talk to other people about since after HIPAA you certainly can't talk about work. Now I am retired, all the friends I had to diss because I worked all the time are gone and I have zero social skills, I am much more comfortable hiding in my room as much as possible so I don't have to interact.

Angel Junior, Orion and Sammy said...

I've been socially awkward for years!

angelgypsy said...

I get you. Also, you lived in Texas??? When?? Where??? Probably long before I "met" you on the 'box, but still...I kind of like hanging with quiet people myself, binge watching stuff on Netflix and such. Also, I love to cook so I look forward to a day when I can have people over for dinner parties. Hopefully soon.

Just Ducky said...

Yeah, we all have our introvert moments. I consider myself to be an extrovert, but will hang back until I get to know people, especially in a group. Will be interesting this coming weekend at my nephew's wedding, getting to know the bride and her family. Most ot whom I will only see this weekend.

caircair said...

I used to call myself "Socially Retarded" meaning my social skills were years behind my peers, but I like "Socially Awkward" better. I work as a receptionist, which, oddly, I love. However, my boss has been after me to be more outgoing and bubbly - something I not only am not but actively loathe. I'm at the "Fake It Till You Make It" phase and will probably be faking it until I retire years from now.

Gemini and Ichiro said...

I'm very good at socializing with cats. Humans are hard.

Shaggy and Scout said...

At the rare party (generally with the golfing buddies and their wives for a birthday or holiday) I can make small talk but get bored quickly and wish I was home. I find a dog or cat to pet. I have no close friends I get together with, and I'm fine with that. I'm active with volunteer work at church but it's solitary work...I'm parish librarian, I order literature for the racks and I set up and make sure mass runs smoothly. When the kids come home,(we do have a guest room) we take them out to eat or order a pizza. I really don't cook, just basic stuff. My sister is a fabulous hostess. Loves to entertain and try new recipes. That would paralyze me. You've seen my fb page...I take myself on solitary retreats to walk in nature and read. I'm 58 now, I don't struggle with the "I should do this or I should go there" head game anymore. I'm so much happier turning stuff down and doing what I want now.