Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I've always been an introvert. I take after my mom in that. But over the past month or so, several different events reminded me that, you know, it is kind of weird.

August 26 to September 6, I was on vacation in northern California with T., where she's from. In addition to the usual tourist stuff in the area - San Francisco, Yosemite, wine country - I also spent several days hanging out with T.'s family and various friends. It was fun but exhausting. I had very little time to sit back and read or watch TV or go online or go on leisurely walks. I did have some time for things like that, but not much, and it was often sandwiched in before or after hanging out with T.'s friends and family. That might be fun for someone who's naturally extroverted, and/or someone who knows the people involved well enough to relax with them, but not me. I came back from the vacation more tired than I left, for several reasons and of course T. has every right to see her friends and family on the opposite coast, but too much time socializing is definitely part of the reason.

Then, last week, T. happened to invite me to two different dinner events with her, one work-related and one through some older friends of hers. I accepted one but begged to skip the other so I could raid with my guild in World of Warcraft as is usually scheduled for that night, pleading that two outings in a week with mostly strangers would burn me out on socializing again. But at the last minute it turned out that she couldn't bring a guest to the one I had expressed more interest in, so I wound up going to neither. And I showed a conspicuous lack of being bothered by that.

To be clear, though, this is not problems with T. or anything. We're still happy together. We went out this last weekend to a different kind of event, I had a blast, and I'm pretty sure she did too. No, this is about how I handle people in general.

I know that because it happens at work too. Most of my co-workers have lunch in the cafeteria in small groups, but I tend to get food from the cafeteria and eat at my desk. I'm not trying to make a statement, I'm not avoiding or unable to get along with certain people, I'm not so rushed our hard-worked that I can't spare the time to eat down there, I'm happy to join people for events outside the building... I just would rather spend time at my desk, reading or doing other stuff online, than with people. And finally, something happened just yesterday that really showed just how nonsocial I am. I was chatting with two co-workers on the way into work. Now, I work on the third floor of the building (sort of, that's not how it's numbered, but I have to walk up two flights of stairs to get there so that's the relevant part), as does one of these two co-workers, but the other works on the seventh. I normally walk to my office instead of taking the elevator, it's just two flights and the exercise doesn't hurt, but I figured I'd continue our conversation a bit longer and take the elevator with her. The thing is, I happened to be walking slightly ahead of her and the other guy, and the elevator was nearly full but not quite, so I got in it, assuming they'd squeeze in behind me. Apparently, though, they didn't think there was enough room, so they let me go without them and waited for the next one. That's right: I was unable to handle the social dynamics of an elevator.