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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.