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.
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!