Me, Me, Me, Monday: Eff Off, I Don’t Want To Join In!

Oh, Gods...make them all go away!

Being social wears me out.  Crowds at Hellmart wear me out.  Parties wear me out.  Interaction with more than five people in one room…you guessed it…wears me out. 

I don’t get anxious or have anxiety attacks, I just get tired and irritable.  I need to be alone to recharge my batteries.  I try to get away from all social situations before this happens.  *I* don’t want to be around me once I’ve reached this point.  When I do, I look for an escape route.  An excuse to leave. 

If you’ve ever seen this happen, it’s probably because you have an introvert in your life.  Or you are one.

For a while, I thought there was something wrong with me.  I grew up as an outsider, never feeling quite like I belonged.  I spent my time walking or riding my bike alone, reading, engaging in long imaginings and getting lost in daydreams. 

After a day of talking to people about work stuff on the phone, I’m worn out.  I usually arrive home and need an hour to decompress.  Alone.

I thought that I was supposed to LIKE interacting with groups of people.  But it’s just not my nature.  And since you’re reading my blog, it might not be in yours either.

Commercial media and advertising would have you believe that not being social is abnormal.  Turn on any cable channel and watch; you’ll see what I mean.  It starts early;  advertisements for children’s toys portray the toy being played with in the company of other children.  Commercials for kid’s foods always show a group of children…because social eating is cool and eating alone is just sad, right?

As an adult, we are supposed to buy products which prepare us to be social (clean up the house for guests, make dinner for a group, throw a holiday or Super Bowl party, have a bar-b-que), or for when we are being social (beer, snack foods, scented candles to impress visitors, detergents that make our kids’ soccer uniforms the envy of all the team mothers).  These advertisements make it clear that being social is normal and choosing to be alone is not.  The few commercials which show someone spending time alone, maybe reading, watching a movie, running, or cooking-for-one, portray that person as self-indulgent, selfish, lonely, or even a little creepy.

This annoys me, to say the least.

The advertising world wants you to believe that everything is run by extroverts.  That being extroverted is the key to all success and happiness.  Parents push their introverted children to “be more outgoing” and force them into group settings.  Then they wonder why those same children refuse to accept their advice when they reach their teen years.  They are confused when their young adult jumps on every bandwagon and caves under the slightest bit of peer pressure.  They don’t understand why their mostly quiet, very intelligent daughter listened to that loudmouth down the road and ended up on probation.

It’s because society has made shyness interchangeable with introversion.  And they’ve made it to be a problem that needed to be fixed.  But you can’t use an extrovert to “treat” introversion as if it’s some kind of affliction.  Not everyone needs to be an overtly social extrovert.

As an introvert, I am not shy.  I’m an excellent speaker and instructor.  I don’t freak out when I have to talk to people, I just prefer not to.  Because extroverted people annoy the sh*t out of me.

I’m quiet, but not lonely.  I prefer to be alone, but I’m not shy.  I don’t care much for socialization, except for my closest loved ones and my cats, but there’s NOTHING WRONG WITH ME that needs fixing.  So quit implying that I need fixing.

Someday, advertisers will realize that their campaigns are stupid and start selling to people who have no interest in following along with trends and “norms.”  You know…the other half of the population.

I’d like to hear some feedback from my fellow introverts.  What do you do to cope with the unrelenting onslaught of pushy sales and pushy people who insist that it’s not normal to choose to be alone?

“Me, Me, Me, Monday” is a new installment to the Dr. Pretzel blog.  Since you’ve not seen me in a while, this seemed like a good way to introduce it.  Enjoy!  Oh, and COMMENT!

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About DrPretzel

Student of philosophy and medicine, mother of 2 Creatures of Mass Destruction (a.k.a. "boys"), Soldier, sister, daughter, friend, cat person, social inept, INTJ, blah, blah, blah...are you even reading this?
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7 Responses to Me, Me, Me, Monday: Eff Off, I Don’t Want To Join In!

  1. Guy says:

    Just food for thought, I noticed that DA was struggling with they idea of being either an interovert or an extrovert. My comment is that introversion is not the withdrawl from society but the way in which one approaches the world and the way one recharges the internal batteries. I can be in a crowd and talk with people but eventually it will drain me. My extrovert friends get energized by being in that crowd. As Dr. Pretzel has said that it is not that interoverts dont want to talk with people…we are just more internally driven…it is the way we process information and the way introverts process relationships.

    I never considered that advertisements targeted extroverts. Definately thought provoking and I will look at advertisements with a different lense now.

    My personal belief is that introverts are deeper people because we think about things on a deeper level (of course I might be biased ) (o;

    • DrPretzel says:

      Excellent! You got exactly what I wanted to convey out of this post. I’m so pleased!

      Everything seems to target extroverts…or attempt to imply that extroverts are preferred. So RUDE. 😉

  2. The DA says:

    I don’t think I would call myself an introvert and I surely NOT an extrovert! I am the shy one who would prefer to be in the corner of any group situation instead of being the center of attention for any reason. I prefer to watch people, listen and learn. I enjoy socializing with people I know or with most family (notice I said “most” and not “all”? LOL) but groups of strangers just throw me into anxiety attacks! Hell, at this point I don’t know what you would call me. lol
    Glad to see you back to writing, I’ve missed your posts!!! 🙂

  3. AJ says:

    Awesome post, Dr. P. I like the idea of the bookreading party.

  4. Having majored in Marketing, I would probably argue that advertising campaigns aren’t stupid, they are just targeted at “stupid” people (who are less likely to be responsible with their money). Having said this, and being under the belief that Americans are becoming more dumb(or maybe more distracted) every day, I highly doubt that advertisers will change their tune anytime soon.

    As for coping with the pushy sales and advertisements, I discontinued my cable and now acquire my desired programming and movies using “advertisement-free methods”. This not only allows me to avoid advertisements about feminine products, but also forces me to do a little research on anything I want to buy.

    In my opinion, choosing to be outgoing is just as abnormal as preferring to be alone, and thus both are normal. As long as you don’t have an anti-social personality disorder I think you’re golden.

    Introverts FTW!

    • DrPretzel says:

      I also cut off my cable. I use a certain popular provider of streaming movies to watch my favorite shows. Since I did not watch much TV before, I’m just saving $70 in cable costs every month.

      • K. Syrah says:

        Woohoo! Browsing through the web, it seems that more and more people are turning off their cable.

        I saw TV for the first time in months today at the ready room. Yup. Nothing intriguing about it. It’s amazing how much livelier your mind feels when you never anesthetize it with Television. I just couldn’t sit still enough to watch.

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