First-world problems of being an introvert

I wrote a while ago about finally coming the realization that I am an introvert. It actually took becoming friends with another introvert for me to realise there is a name for what I feel and it was very refreshing to know it’s not that rare after all.

Now I’m very conscious about some of the things I do as being behaviour that is typical of introverts and with the need to do those things comes a host of first-world problems:

  • Having to spend extra time in your public toilet stall waiting for everyone else to wash their hands and leave so you don’t accidentally meet them at the sink and have to say something
  • Needing to take your phones (yes, I have two…) everywhere, particularly to the toilet, because if someone happens to call and I can’t answer that means I’ll have to call them back and that’s even worse than having to answer the phone when they called to begin with
  • Going to Supercuts and having to put up with bad haircuts because at least I know I’ll be in and out in less than ten minutes and that’s about the longest time I can stand to make random conversation with the hair-dresser
  • Walking back from a bus stop that was past the one I wanted to get off at because (a) there was someone sitting next to me and I didn’t want to ask them to let me out (b) nobody else pressed the button and I didn’t want everyone staring at me as the only person getting off the bus at that particular stop
  • Taking the stairs whenever I can, avoiding the need to be with someone else in a lift and possibly having to say, “Hi”
  • Putting my ear up to the door and checking the hallway for noises before I go outside my apartment to make sure that I don’t actually meet any of my neighbours
  • Having to cross to the other side of the road if I see something up ahead that may necessitate having to have an interaction with someone such as road works (some person telling me where to walk) or a garbage man or someone having trouble with something (I’m so not the person you want to ask for directions or for help to operate a parking meter etc.)
  • Trying to get the timing right at work to go out the back and make coffee/get a glass of water with no-one else being there that I may have to talk to
  • Physically taking the time to go somewhere to make an appointment because I can’t stand to make a thirty second phone call just to make an appointment (I LOVE ONLINE BOOKING SERVICES!)
  • Not being able to return anything that is wrong or having to fix things myself because I can’t complain
  • Having to shop at large generic stores where I can serve myself and don’t have to talk to anyone (I’m sorry small boutique with fantastic things, I can’t shop at you because your staff will watch me and sometimes want to talk (I LOVE SELF-CHECKOUTS!)
  • Going to the dentist/doctor/piercer to get my ring changed out after fucking up my old ring by using the wrong type of pliers (true story from yesterday) and having to tell them my problems (I usually practise what I want to say before I get there and still sound stupid and nervous anyway so I don’t know why I bother practising at all)
  • Praying to all the gods that be and sacrificing a goat so that I won’t have a chatty person sitting next to me on a flight (I always, always have my ipod and a sleeping mask to avoid any unnecessary chatter)
  • Getting the timing right of looking down at the ground or at some fictional thing that has taken my attention when I pass someone in the street so I don’t make eye contact when they are close enough for it to be an interaction
  • Having to walk at a snail’s pace and sometimes hide behind someone who I know when I accidentally come across them in the street (particularly people from work and acquaintances) so I don’t catch up with them and have to make conversation

What is really funny is that these are things I actually do on a daily basis and if you said “Hell’s yeah!” to more than three of those things, you may be an introvert too! Welcome! It’s a very exclusive club where we never hang out together or talk about anything.

The world is fraught with potential interactions when you’re an introvert, but at least now there is the internet to amuse and keep us company when going out into the real world is just too much.

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6 thoughts on “First-world problems of being an introvert”

  1. Super introverted here. Glad you identified that part of you – reading you for years and seriously, only just now? 😉

    Hair cutting thing sounds familiar. While having grown quite confident (I used to be shy as well as introverted) when out by myself I sometimes select a place to eat not on quality but on how much (little) interaction is required. Don’t come over asking me how me how my food is and if everything’s alright, please. I came to eat, not to angst. 🙂

    You might (or not, just a suggestion I found helpful) want to nurture and cultivate your dominant side (however little there may be of it) so you can “train” others to text instead of calling you when possible, to respect your personal space/quietude more, etc, to basically have them do what you want. (I know!!!) Most people are keen to please girls because they just want to be acknowledged (in a positive manner, mostly), even if it’s with a standard reaction – it’s all about the attitude (façade). Sure, it’s not authentic, but much of our society isn’t anyway and with practice (scary, I know) it is more likely to get you in and out of situations more quickly (wax on, wax off). Just to avoid confusion, this is not me saying girls ought to smile and be pleasing (we don’t owe anyone anything, except treating them as humans), this is just me suggesting an easier way. Maybe not one you prefer, just a suggestion. Anyway, good luck on your introverted road, whichever fork in it takes your fancy.

    1. Yeah, I know, slow much? 🙂 I don’t know…I just thought I was a bit quirky and didn’t think there was a name for it…

      On the restaurant/shop thing, I LOVE self-service or buffet-style places. Minimal interaction required so win-win. And self-service checkouts? It’s like they were made for me.

      I thought when you started saying I should nurture my dominant side that I’d have to pull out my bitch boots and dust off my crop 🙂 I’m still a little bit cagey about discussing my ‘particular needs’ to others because (a) I don’t have a lot of friends anyway and don’t want to scare them off and (b) I feel like I’m the one with the problem and why should they have to adjust for me – that’s probably my girlie, wanting-to-please thing coming into play.
      Thanks very much for the thoughts though. It’s nice to know you’ve been reading for eons.

      1. You are not the (or a) problem, you just live in a world were extraversion seems to be the norm(al) because the talkative ones are, well, usually doing the talking and thereby shaping the context. I’ve felt I was the problem for years as well (and sometimes it still creeps up on me) but being wired differently and stating your needs and boundaries isn’t being difficult, it is allowing yourself be you (and self-caring) and acknowledging that your self-worth is not in any way diminished by this, quite the opposite. It may not seem “nice” to “disappoint” extraverts, but it is honest and being nice to yourself. Anyone who is truly interested in you (more than in who they want you to be) will try to understand. Even if they fail to see why you feel this way they will at the very least try to respect what you need.

        So with you on the self-service!

        1. The funny thing is that I want friends and can’t maintain them, because, you know, introvert…and then I get upset that I can’t and that’s why I feel like I’m the problem. I look at people with a billion friends and an active social life and just think (envy), ‘Why can’t I be like that?’ I don’t really know what’s driving that feeling in me. I feel so much safer and comfortable with my own and M’s company but I still feel like something is missing.
          99% of people can’t cope with high-maintenance, take-take-take, apparently socially-passive introverts, so unfortunately, while we are the minority, we are going to continue to be the ‘problem’.
          I’m very much a newbie to the whole introvert thing and haven’t yet reached that place of happy acceptance with who I am and what I need. That may come in time or it may not.

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