For years, I thought I was an introvert. I hate being in crowds because I’m not good at initiating conversation. I wait for people to do it first and if they don’t, well, then I’m just the person standing in the corner looking awkward and waiting for everything to be over. I thought I’d be happy in my career doing a job where I am hiding away in the stacks, working on researching on my own, and not having to worry about human interaction. I thought it was going to be bliss, never having to deal with people, and not worrying about having to make up small talk.
And then it happened. I finally got a job where I was completely alone for 5 months with no human contact all day. I only saw my supervisor when he needed me which was once every three weeks and I also had no internet. If I didn’t go out for lunch, I would not see a single human being all day. Then at nights, I’d crave human interaction but most of my friends, having been around people all day, wanted to enjoy their quiet time and decompress. So I’d go for 5 days and nights without seeing a single human and barely have any connection all day.
I started to go crazy and feeling depressed. The loneliness began to feel like I was trapped in a box. It felt like every time I wanted to hang out with someone, no one wanted to. Even worse because many of my friends are married or dating and therefore it felt like they already have built in companions all the time, meanwhile I’m sitting here all alone, feeling frustrated, and having a pity party. It was like hitting a road block.
Then I realized I’m not actually an introvert. I’m an extrovert. I recharge and gain energy by being around other people. However, I’m a shy extrovert. I’m not good at initiating and I don’t need to be the center of attention at all. But that’s how I recharge. Just being around other people, even if all we do is just sit around and watch TV and not even talk, that gives me so much energy. It’s also makes sense seeing as my main love language is quality time. Basically this is mostly me.
Anyways, once I discovered this, it changed my outlook on a lot of things. If I want to feel better, I have to go out and initiate instead of waiting for people to come around. There are times when I do need to be by myself and that’s perfectly fine when I have alone down time. Though I will admit there are times when I can’t get a hold of any of my friends and I’m forced to stay at home by myself. And those nights are torture, usually ending with me falling to sleep really early so I can just get the night over with.
But at the same time, I’m learning it’s perfectly fine for me to go ahead and ask people first. Just because I have to initiate doesn’t necessarily mean it’s because no one wants to be around me. Believe me, when I say this is a hard thing for me to do. To go out of my comfort zone and not wait around for others. It’s a learning process. And it’s a new thing about myself that I’m trying to process and adapt to. Small steps. Small steps.