For a long period of my life, I lived convinced that I don’t like people. As a teenager, I was sure that socializing is simply not for me and that I have to get to used to it and learn how to live without many people around me.
After all, nobody is perfect, right? I used to say that to myself whenever I got invited to a birthday party or school celebration. I had to go, of course and there was no hiding.
Then, the inevitable would come and I would be forced to have the small talk with tens of people. And that was horrifying for me. I thought that the problem is in the other people. I thought I hate people and I should avoid them.
As I grew older, I was telling everyone that I’m not a “people person”. Sometimes, I would even say that I hate people and prefer animals just to avoid going to a party or some casual gathering.
I soon found out that I’m not the only one. I’ve read several articles about it and I’ve even seen people talking about it using memes on social media. Introvert people use it as a coping mechanism or as an excuse to hide behind during an uncomfortable social situation.
And as much cool as they like to present it, it’s not. The whole “I’m too school for cool” mode of acting is just an excuse for not going through the awkward small talk. The reality is that they would do ANYTHING else but that.
It’s the small talk that I mind, not the person
Actually, introvert people don’t want to be alone all the time. We don’t like shallow socializing. For me, personally, it’s difficult to find friends because of the first encounter, which is truly terrifying. Will they like me or not? Will they judge me?
Can they notice I’m nervous? The million thoughts that come to my mind during the conversation don’t allow me to be myself. I struggle to find the right words. So I settle with hiding.
You can’t stay at home always
However, I know that this is something that I have to live with. I don’t want to go to the gym, but I have to do it for my health. I don’t want to do many things that include socializing, but it’s crucial to have social encounters sometimes. At the end, we are social animals and we need each other to be complete, right?
That’s why I make a balance. There are periods when my anxiety is stronger than me and I let it win. But there are also times when I decide to overcome the fear and uneasiness and I go out to meet new friends because I know it will be worth it.
I know that everyone has a comfort zone and everyone has to leave that zone sometimes for their own benefit. Yes, my comfort zone is a little larger and stronger to fight, but it’s not impossible to reach the negative and positive things outside of it.
After all, I would have never met my closest friends, who have been my support and who I love the most, if I didn’t go out of my comfort zone in the first place. Of course, I’ve had conversations which hadn’t ended so well and hadn’t lead to a close relationship. But, that’s not a reason for me to quit and forget about all my efforts I have made during the years.
Socializing is much more than passing the time
Extroverts might not realize what socializing really means for us introverts. It’s not just passing the time with someone. It’s not spending your Sunday with your friends doing nothing. I could never be so casual. And I realized that I never will be.
Because I feel most comfortable when I’m alone and I can never be as comfortable with anyone else. I’m not bored when I’m alone – I enjoy being alone.
This might sound ridiculous to you, but I know other introverts like me will know what I’m talking about. I haven’t reached the phase where socializing comes naturally. For me, socializing is still a long-term goal.
Attending parties and meeting friends is still not the most fulfilling thing in my life. It comes within a whole process of preparation. Talking with someone about my life and my personal problems over a cup of coffee in a quiet place is the final goal. But to reach that goal, I need to go through several shallow conversations with lots of people. It may sound weird for you, but that’s the real challenge for me.
I never quit. Occasionally, I leave my cat alone and put down the book to go out and meet someone new. And once in a while, I meet someone else who is “too school for cool”, just like me.