Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The private life

Ever heard the phrase "Dance like nobody is watching?" likely implying to be free, uninhibited. I'd rather dance only when nobody is watching.

I've had to take those Myers-Briggs personality tests for one thing or another since high school. Sometime around the middle of college, the results bar shifted from full on extrovert to slight extrovert and finally tipping the scales to the introvert side. I don't know if I've always enjoyed the privacy of both my personal space and innermost thoughts this much, or if I'm just realizing it now.

Example- I go on campus one day a week for class. My class is boring, but I love to learn. This may sound odd, but I also find it a bonus that I don't know anyone on campus. At the beginning of the semester, I got there an hour early, found a parking space and headed to the cafe to satisfy an intense craving for a cheeseburger and fries. I enjoyed ordering my greasy burger and paying for my substandard service because I could do so with sweet anonymity. I would slip into a chair at a small table and stick my nose into a book until class began.

Then one horrible day, I hear my name. Don't panic, Nicole is a common name. I pull myself from the world world of Anne of Green Gables and see a vaguely familiar face hovering above my once private table. We exchanged the typical pleasantries. However, instead of saying hi and moving on, she proceeded with a full blown conversation. A long one. It wasn't an easy conversation either - this person was a casual acquaintance primarily in middle school and the beginning of high school. I never knew what to say to her back then, and our ten year absence from each hadn't remedied that. At the end of the awkwardness (or so I thought), she proceeded to tell me her schedule (I don't know why - were we supposed to hang out now even though we never, ever have before?) and then said four awful words: "See you next week." As she walked away, I felt my chest tighten. All I wanted was 30 minutes a week to read my children's book and dunk my fries in barbecue sauce laden with high fructose corn syrup in peace. I felt like I had been robbed.

I'm not anti-social, I just feel like I need extra time to recharge and process. I love spending time with family and friends. I feel invigorated after having a good conversation. I'm really open in small groups and with people I know. However, large gatherings with lots of small talk drain me. In college, I would get really excited about parties and then feel really anxious to go home after 30 minutes. Then I needed hours to unwind from the taxing activity of standing there holding a drink in my hand, trying to think of something intelligent to say. I think it took me 20 years to realize that fatigue I felt after social gatherings was from trying to be a lot more extroverted than I am.

If you disagree with me because you've had a conversation with me where I would not stop talking, I was either a) really passionate about our conversation b) very comfortable with you c) hopped up on caffeine.

Of course, sharing my feelings on the internet may not seem like a very "introverted" thing to do, but a blog is in fact an introvert's best friend. It gives an outlet in an extremely controlled space. I can premeditate everything I'm about to say, and then hit delete whenever I want. If only real life worked the same. Until it does, I can be found reading Anne of Green Gables in my car while eating a lunch I packed at home.

1 comment:

  1. Nicole - I have to tell you that I absolutely LOVE your blog. I get so happy when I see you've made a new post. It's just so darn cute and entertaining! Like YOU! :o)