I am an introvert. Despite being out there and loud, I identify as the more reticent personality types. To be honest, when I tell people that I am introverted they almost never believe me. It is, in fact, a common misreading of most INFJ personality types. That is for another blog post though.
As an introvert, I have a personal internal scale of optimal extroverted activities I can do before I either blow myself up or crawl in my hole. I blew way past that scale even before the week began. It happens every now and then. Here’s what happened and what’s happening now.
Nothing significant, to be fair. I just met many different people over the weekend and had a lot of conversation. This happened over the weekend. So, there wasn’t a lot of time to reset.
That aside, I haven’t been home (read: Dehradun) lately and while going home is a lot of things unfavourable, it is still a place of rejuvenation. My family understands me best because they’ve been around and tolerated me for the longest time. So, I feel like myself when I’m home. I don’t have to pretend to be interested all the time I’m around someone.
When I say pretend, it’s not like I pretend around other people. Just that, having conversations or experiences that aren’t deep or valuable enough do not give me the satisfaction and drain me off more energy than say, quality time spent with another introverted friend or by myself.
It’s like using the wrong tool to tighten that screw that’s been bugging you. Even if you succeed, you expend way too much energy than you would’ve if you had the right one in reach.
Introverts and gatherings don’t fit like a puzzle. It’s more of making do with whatever you have in the box. So, to push that piece in someone (read: the introvert himself) has to jump over and over on the piece to make it fit. That takes a lot out of them and the piece.
Every interaction or activity feels like a drag. Not a short one either. It is legitimately taking out way too much out of yourself to even sit before a few friends and have a conversation when all you want to do is sip coffee by yourself, sitting in some corner of some café, earphones in or a book in your hand.
Even the usual enjoyment feels way too far. This is not the first time it has happened though. It has happened before and I know it will happen again. As a grown up, you have to go out and about, sometimes it just goes way over your pay grade.
For introverts, activities are like transactions. They invest because they take something out: quality interactions and experiences. So, chilling in a café with friends is a thousand times better than a lunch where you have to meet a lot of new people and talk to them. It feels oddly taxing in hindsight. Despite howsoever fun.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy meeting people. I love talking to my cabbies but this is one of those few days when I won’t say a word when I sit in taxis because I just cannot talk to one other person and listen to small talk before flipping out.
Imagine having a credit card which charges more when you buy things that aren’t good for you. Imagine buying a lot of those things with that credit card. You’ll be at your limit faster than you would’ve been had you spent it on things you should have instead or better yet, not spent at anything at all. So, I maxed my limit out.
I guess that last analogy is enough to drive the point home. I overspent so I need to rejuvenate and replenish.
Until then, I’ll just sit by myself, wherever I can, sip my tea or coffee and listen to some Ludovico Einaudi. Perhaps, I could even go home.