58
Activities not meant for introverts

I am an introvert. It’s not uncommon for us online personalities. We flourish behind our keyboards, coming out of our shells on the screen as we type witty status updates, tweets, and thoughtful blog posts. I carry on virtual conversations with the best of them, but put me in front of someone, and I can barely form a coherent thought, much less a sentence.

But the reason we’re so good online is not necessarily because we’re shut ins whose pasty indoor skin practically glows in the light of day. It’s because there’s a delete key. A backspace. The opportunity to edit ourselves! Face to face, it’s a little harder to say, “Okay, that sounded inappropriate. Let me just go back and change that. Where is that thesaurus…..”

Also, no one is touching us.

There are things that classic introverts hate. I despise being in charge of something; I’m a good #2, but a terrible #1 (and I really prefer to be #3). The large crowds at Christmas make me anxious and stabby.  New situations and unfamiliar gatherings make me want to cancel at the last minute. I prefer to fly with a wing man.  And don’t get me started on the phone. I love my iPhone as long as I don’t have to actually talk on it. With 287 other ways to get a hold of me, I shouldn’t have to.

Networking. Door to door salesmen. Salesmen of any kind, really. Hosting parties. Hosting anything. And can I tell you how glad I am that I don’t have to date anymore? Gah, talk about excruciating.

And then there are those lesser known things that make an introvert squirm. At least this introvert.

Webcams

AKA  Let’s stare at each other awkwardly while we think of something to say!

I have the hardest time keeping a webcam conversation going. We frequently facetime or webcam with my husband’s family,and I love talking to them. But there’s just so much staring. So I disappear at the first chance I get. Also I’m ashamed to multitask while on the webcam. I know. How terrible that I have to give them my full attention?

Craigslist

YES! Someone answered my Craigslist ad!  Should they come to my house? Is it weird if I tell them to meet me somewhere? What if they see it and don’t like it in person? Should I take a special bag for them to put the money in so it doesn’t look like we’re doing a black market highchair deal? It’s best if I just tell them it’s no longer available.

I never know how to act with Craigslist transactions. It’s so personal sometimes. A couple expecting their first child bought our changing table, and I felt like I needed to coach them into this next phase of life. Is that your midwife? Nah, that’s the wacko who sold us our changing table on Craigslist.

Strippers

Nothing makes me more uncomfortable than a man dancing around to God awful techno music, wearing a goofy grin and waving his dong at my face. For money. Like, I feel bad if I don’t give him money, but then it’s all like, Ew, I just gave a grown man money for doing pelvic thrusts at me while I tried not to look, now where is the hand sanitizer? 

NO THANKS. The last time I saw a stripper (and God I hope it’s the last time) was at a bachelorette party with a friend who had a newborn (not with her, I think it’s important to note). When the stripper was accosting her, he was all, “OMG your boobs are HUGE!” Then he started motorboating her and she was all, “Uh, thanks. They’re full of milk.”

I gave him a dollar just to ease his embarrassment.

Pedicures

Yeah, I said it.

Ask a mom what she would do with an hour to herself, and 68% would say get a mani/pedi. First of all, that statistic is not accurate, as I made it up. Second of all, I have an hour to myself. You want me to sit in a chair, while a stranger kneels on the floor, washing my feet, filing my nails, and taking a hacksaw to my callouses? All the while trying to make awkward conversation? Sure, my toes look pretty, but that is an introvert’s worst nightmare!

Third of all, I don’t trust a mom who’s given an hour to herself and doesn’t take a nap.

Other Moms

All of the moms in both of the girls’ classes are lovely, really. But you’re just standing around, waiting for your kids to get out of class, exchanging polite smiles. I can never think of anything to say past the usual Hi, how are you, how was your weekend… But it’s kind of way weirder not to say anything at all. So I’m justified in embarrassing myself with awkward sounds coming out of my mouth that were meant to be words because we can’t all just stand here, can we???

I’m doing a similar dance with a neighbor mom. We don’t know each other, but our kids (her youngest is 8, my oldest are 4) have become besties through the back fence and are now begging to go to each other’s houses to play. Which means until I actually go and talk to her, we’re both doing a lot of Weeeeelllll, not today. Maybe another time. Soon. I promise.  Also I’m kind of convinced she hates me, since the two times I have ever seen her I happened to be yelling at my kids. Oh yes! Send your daughter right on over!

Being the center of attention

It could be my birthday. Graduation day. I could be accepting the Pulitzer Prize for blogging. Whatever it is, I don’t want a bunch of people standing around me smiling and nodding, telling me how great I am. I wanted to hide on my wedding day, not because I didn’t want to get married; I just wanted it to be over so life could go back to normal. When I got the acceptance letter for the 2012 Listen to Your Mother show, my first thought was, Oh shit. What have I done? 

Sure, introverts want accolades and recognition when we do something well. From the comfort of our own homes. In our jammies. Where we can hide if it gets to be too much.

Chuck E Cheese

Holy crap these places give me a seizure. The lights! The noises! The over stimulation! I pretty much want to crawl into a hole and die, not to mention the fact that we lose a kid every 2 minutes and have to hunt her down.

 

So the next time someone you know or maybe someone you just met abruptly takes their leave or  better yet, you didn’t even realize they escaped, cut them some slack. We don’t mean to be rude. We just need to need to go to a quiet place where we can calm our minds and reset. A place where we can feel comfortable. And a place devoid of loud noises, strippers, and people trying to give us a fresh coat of polish.

 

Facebook • Twitter • Instagram

Leigh Ann Torres
Writer, artist, wife, cook, maid, bookkeeper, mom to twins plus one...all around genie in a bottle, except you only get one wish, and it has to be reasonable.
56 Comments
  1. I know I’m a dude but I’ll still comment so ya’ll will have something to point and laugh at.

    I was diagnosed with a social anxiety disorder and a form of bi-polarity when I was 16. Before then I was thought to just be hyper, add, and well, kind of an a-hole. The truth was, I was so freaked out inside, I overcompensated by talking too much, being overly friendly, and well, being kind of an a-hole. The internet, writing, blogging, social media have given em a place for my crazy. I no longer feel inappropriately weird, unacceptable, or alone. In public, offline situations, I depend on pills and middle-aged maturity to get me through the awkward times. Neitehr work, but at least people think of me as something other than boring.

    why do I not comment here more. i suck.

    • No pointing and laughing here, Lance. I think the internet gives some of us a chance to show our real personalities since we’re not feeling the awkwardness or anxiety of being face to face. And that is a wonderful thing.

  2. you’re so sweet.
    I love you for writing this. I’m the opposite and I love to be the centre of attention, unless my intuition tells me that someone is mean and I’m not going to like them, then it’s the cold shoulder beotch!
    It’s important that we recognize each other’s diferences and are empathetic.

  3. Every word. I get them all. I’m particularly horrible at talking to other moms at school (actually, all other people, anywhere). And I hate spending my free time on pedicures – a fact that is painfully evident to anyone unfortunate enough to see my feet.

    • It’s terrible! I have this underlying fear that someone’s going to ask us on a play date, which is all my hang up. Is it bad that I don’t want my kids to make new friends?

  4. Those were my boobs!!!! Hilarious post Leigh Ann.

  5. Too…many….points…to troll

  6. Lori C, hubba hubba

  7. Amen and hallelujah!

    #IntrovertsUnite

  8. I almost fell off my chair when you said you love your phone as long as you don’t have to talk on it. I whole heatedly agree! What’s wrong with all the other 287 ways?

  9. aah, the joy of recognition. the black market feeling has stopped me, not just with selling but with buying too, (hey, you got something for me? just slide it under the table, dude)
    Pretty much every fast food place has me breaking out in hives from over stimulation and i took over organizing my sisters hen party just to make sure there were no strippers.
    The only difference? The pedicures…i love those, somebody pampering my feet is heaven for me. Nobody in my face getting too close for comfort, i found one who doesn’t need to talk throughout, so i bring a book or just close my eyes and have 45 minutes of quiet bliss. To me that stolen time is just as great as sleep.

  10. Oh my god, yes. All of this. Except the pedicures. I can sort of manage that.

    And “how was your weekend?” – that’s brilliant! That’s better than I manage at preschool pickup. Sigh.

  11. OMG, I could have wrote this! In fact, I’m sure I have said all of this at one point in time. You had me at mani/pedi…I’ve had a gift certificate for a mani/pedi for 3 years, and I know I’m never going to use it. Don’t get me started on other moms.

    • My husband had to schedule mine after I hung onto the gift certificate for 6 months!

  12. So well said! I don’t mean to be rude to the new neighbors, it’s just that I’d almost rather goto the dentist tha introduce my self and come up with small talk…and I recently got engaged, and most people don’t understand why I don’t want a wedding celebration.

    • We just got new neighbors. I’m waffling between taking them “welcome” goodies and pretending they don’t exist. Having someone live right next to you is kinda intimate, no?

  13. Like your comment that christmas crowds make you, “anxious and stabby. “! As I read your blog I was nodding my head–a lot. Guy I work with asked if I wanted to go to an Eagles concert. Maybe was my response. I won’t. First off, there will be a group of eight people of which I barely know, then thousands of others. The noise will be numbing.

    Thanks for your blog! I find it funny, so true and comforting.

  14. Nice post. I love the phone thing. My family of introverts is always saying “I meant to call, but….” and we laugh cause we didn’t really want to BE called either.
    I always wondered why a mani pedi sounded like torture to me when so many people love them. No way.
    At work the worst thing ever was brainstorming. It was all over before my brain kicked in and contacted my mouth with a good idea.

  15. Good one. This kind of reminded me why I often put off going for a haircut. I hate sitting there for half an hour feeling forced to make idle chitchat.

    • Used to procrastinate for weeks to months getting a haircut! Finally found someone, Michelle, that makes it tolerable. Still the idle chit-chat to deal with, but less painful than it used to be. Plus hard to hear when she is running the clippers and blow dryer. Dread the thought of having to change hair stylists should Michelle or me have to relocate… If extroverts knew how much easier they have it in this world…

    • Haircuts! How did I forget that? Absolutely.

  16. Going to Ikea or Costco is sheer torture!

    • So true, Tamara! Any store when there are lots of people–especially if the store is already cramped. I go grocery shopping early in the morning on Saturday or Sunday to beat even modest crowds. If I am running late, I just don’t go…

      • I find that Sunday evenings are great – even during the Christmas season. Most people are home with the family or getting ready for the work week. ;)

    • I’ll only go during off peak hours. Like right before they close.

  17. Hear ya 100%! My husband and I left our own wedding reception early and without telling anyone for these reasons! Ha!

    Great post!

  18. What about Disney World – introverts nightmare. I think my daughter is an introvert in training. We took her when she was four and she got into one of those carriages and wouldn’t come out. To think I’d actually worried about her wandering off and getting lost. The only time she ever got excited and wanted to come out was when we passed a woman doing pastel portraits. Then it was STOP the cart! She was kind of annoyed when she found out she couldn’t use the woman’s crayons.

    • I am terrified of Disney. I’ve never been. The sheer planning it takes alone has be scared out of my wits. And THEN there’s the crowds. That’s such a cute funny story about your daughter. :)

  19. this is just soooo me. I have to ask myself if I want to go get the mail because my neighbors are sitting on their patio lol

  20. This is so me! It’s great to know I’m not alone…Thank God for the Internet! !

  21. motorboating?? Am I supposed to know what that is? Don’t go to strip clubs much!

  22. Oh my gosh. SPOT ON!!! I’ve been saying that bit about preferring online communication because it allows me to edit myself FOR YEARS. Unsurprisingly, I make my living on the internet :) I’ve never had a pedi (gross!) but getting a hair cut puts me in the same awkward situation–touching and the incessant small talk. LOL great to know I’m not alone. Great post.

    • Oh I agree…the thought of somebody touching my feet just makes me squirm. I have had people ask me if I want a foot rub in my lifetime, and omg, the thought of it!!!

  23. I am always grateful when I read these posts. Sometimes I feel like I need to explain why I cannot go to two or three gatherings in the same week. My good friends are surprised when I tell them that large groups are high anxiety.

    I can play scrabble all night with one or two friends or even shop the farmers market and stop and chat with vendors, as long as I know my escape route and I have my own car. I do have one good friend who is at the same level of solitude as I am and she and I do lots of things together because we both understand the need to be done NOW.

    As for pedicures, pop in those earbuds close your eyes and let the lady do her thing. It is worth it. One hint, make an appointment if you can, that way you are not having to sit and wait with others.

    • A lot of my friends are surprised because I am pretty social, but sometimes it takes a lot to get me to that point, and it really drains me. GREAT tip about the earbuds.

  24. Leigh Ann, I can totally related to all of this! Well, except the webcam part — I’ve so far managed to avoid that hell. As others here have said, it’s really comforting to hear other people admit to some of the same feelings I have about socializing. I’m glad to see so many introverts “coming out of the closet” via their blogs. Look out world, here we come….er, I mean, we’ll see you online…eventually.

    • Sometimes it feels like it’s the hip new thing, but I think it’s just that a lot of us here on the internet are just that way. :)

  25. I almost had a manicure once, but my extroverted friend, who had suggested it, needed to cancel. I was so relieved, and now I know I am not alone!

  26. Leigh Ann – I’m with you on every point! I hate shopping, period. Anytime I’m invited to a party where I will only know the host/ess, I respectfully decline. When I am the center of attention, I want to throw a black bag over myself and hide. My daughter, sweet thing that she is, threw me a birthday party. Later on I thought – “does she not know me by now??”. She’s 23 y.o. Anyway, she meant well and it was family so I know she thought that it was all well and good, but I don’t like all that attention, even with family.

    • That reminds me of the Mad Men episode where Don Draper’s wife threw him a surprise party and he was pissed. I wouldn’t be thrilled either, unless it was our closest of close friends.

  27. The more I get to know about you, the more I am convinced we may be related.

  28. I have to disagree with you about pedicures. I have them regularly, and I AM an Introvert. I fall asleep when my pedicurist does mine… she’s that good. So pedies and touching aren’t that bad, after all…

    • Different strokes for different folks. I can say that I DO enjoy the pedicure itself. It’s just getting there that takes some work, and I’m so glad when it’s over.

      • Really? I tell my pedicurist to take as much time as she needs and don’t miss anything…
        I wish it would take longer… The massage at the end is the best part… I wish it went on longer…

      • I enjoy the pedicure very much if it is done in silence with sterile tools in a clean environment where there is not a lot of chatter orvweird music AND I do not have to wait. Lol!

  29. Omg, I thought I was the only girl on earth who almost croaked over a male stripper act.

  30. Hello, after reading thks amazing article i am
    also glad to share my knowledge herre with friends.