13 August 2007

Fitting in and getting out

This post was inspired by Mothergoosemouse's latest post about not fitting in.

I have often said "I'm not exactly a people person."

Not being a people person is easily misconstrued. Lisa Stone wrote about me using the Red Stapler as an icebreaker at BlogHer 2006 and someone commented that I was so sweet and shy.

Uh, I wouldn't say SHY. It's not that I am uncomfortable in social situations. It's just that they wear me out, so I usually skip them. At the time, I am perfectly happy.

Later, when I come home, I need time to recover. I spend 4 hours at a party, and then need to flop around lazily for 8 hours to get my strength back. Then the weekend is over and my carpet still looks like it is in the "before" stage of a vacuum demonstration.

People who love to be in groups just can't understand the need for solitude. Being with friends and family fills them up and gives them energy. What could be more fun? Why don't you want to join in the fun?

Most of my readers are other bloggers, so I think I am preaching to the choir, here. Because you usually don't become a blogger because you love to socialize in groups. You become a blogger so you can lob your little idea-bombs from behind the safety of a computer screen and receive your contact with the outside world in a controlled, manageable manner.

I might say I'll call you, but I will probably email. If I get really brave, we could IM each other.

How about you? How much social interaction do you need? Do you have to recover afterward?


Anonymous said...

I have to parse out my schedule so that I don't find myself booked three nights in a row, where the third night consists mostly of me rocking behind a handy couch. Anything sustained - a week, even a weekend - needs recovery time and contingency plans. Right now we have a house guest. For three weeks. I'm in denial.

Anonymous said...

shy? hell no! I remember having a blast drinking with you the last night at blogher 06. balanced a stapler on my head for you!! (figured out who I am yet?)


Anonymous said...

I am definitely a person who LOVES her alone-time. And some recovery after a lot of intense social interaction.

(I like the phrase "idea-bombs".)

Alex Elliot said...

I tend to socialize quite a bit for a stay at home mom via the moms group I'm in. That being said, I definitely need "me" time. After a couple hours, I need to be able to go back home so I can take everything in. I find things like "Moms Weekend Away" which my moms group does fun, but really draining. The best time I had with it was the year I went up for just one night instead of two.

BetteJo said...

I have been accused of "not liking people" simply because I am not one of those people that needs others around all of the time. I am very content by myself for long periods of time. I like people but yeah, let me email you, okay?

Anonymous said...

interesting. sweet and shy is not how i would have described you - nothing wrong with sweet and shy - but if we're doing word association, bright/clever is more what leaps to mind for you.

i really love getting together with groups socially, but find that if i have really packed weekends for several weeks in a row, i totally need to decompress and just hang out in my house for a couple days.

Anonymous said...

I'm a lot like what you describe--I can interact in (small) social situations OK, but I find it really exhausting and need a lot of alone time to gear up for/make up for it. Large social situations, like BlogHer, are really hard for me. I feel lost in crowds and am distracted by loud noise and other people's conversations and stuff.

The hardest thing, for me, is finding common ground with people with whom I am not already acquainted. That takes the most out of me. I know it's often very worth it, but it's really hard to do.

Anonymous said...

I love socializing, but it doesn't take long for me to reach my limit. My friends all know I'm the one who's going to leave every party no later than 10:30 p.m. because it's past my bedtime.

Still, I end up scheduling at least one social activity almost every day. I get bored if I'm stuck at home by myself for very long.

ElisaC said...

You've described one of the classic introvert vs. extrovert "symptoms": extroverts draw energy from social situations, introverts have energy drawn from them from social situations.

It has nothing to do with shyness or even ability to relate to people.

People think of me as this big extrovert, and they think of my S.O. as a big introvert (he is a geeky software developer after all) but whenever we leave a party or social occasion, he's in the car all energized and chatty, and I just want him and everything else to shut up and be silent. And it doesn't matter if we've had fun or not...

Anonymous said...

I need social contact. Blogging is another way for me to get it. But your analogy finally makes it all makes sense to me.......I never really understood people who DONT thrive on contact, but it makes sense.......where as I am energized by being in a group, you're the opposite........it drains you. Just like it drains me to be alone. That totally makes sense.

You need to write a book.

Anonymous said...

I think it depends greatly on my mood, I can go either way.

(OK, ya'll get your minds out of the gutter...)

Sometimes I thrive on social interaction, other times, not so much.

I sometimes need a recovery period, but, usually it occurs if I've had too much social interaction in my own home, like after a guest has departed from an extended stay.

super des said...

I like being with my friends, but I don't like being where it's crowded & noisy. I also do just fine on my own, thank you.
HOwever, I do prefer emailing in general.

Heather B. said...

Why do you think I drink so much? Do you think I just really enjoy the taste of wine? I do, but only to a point, it's because I become so incredibly anxious in large groups of people that I end up in tears.

Seriously. The other night at a work function, I was so overwhelmed that I had to escape to the bathroom to cry.

Thankfully it's genetic so I'm able to feel less 'freakish'.

mar said...

i definitely need my alone time. the past few weeks have been whirlwind for the bf & me, with him moving to a new place and social plans. i'm pooped! we decided that we were going to chill next weekend since we don't have set plans for once. (of course, i want to see the last legion, but hitting a movie with your s.o. isn't toooo stressful)
we're actually a strange couple who doesn't spend every single day together anyway & i like it like that.

Amy said...

I'm currently hiding from all my well-meaning real-life friends.

I became a writer so I could participate from the sidelines.

After reading all the re-caps, I can safely say I might be glad I missed BlogHer. I might have had a heart attack.

ps - i heart you.

Blog Antagonist said...

A lot of people bug me. A lot of women bug me. I tend to stay on the sidelines assessing until I know if I'm going to mesh well with a given group. This sometimes causes me to be perceived as snooty. But I'm not. I'm just....cautious.

That said, I tend to do better socially in small, intimate groups because I don't have to deal with herd mentality, which I find so very tedious.

I'm honestly not sure I would have enjoyed Blogher.

It sounds great in theory...a bunch of smart, articulate, dynamic women congregating to socialize, share ideas...network?

But really, it always ends up with someone flashing their boobs and that's really not me. Sometimes, I wish it was.

Christina said...

I can enjoy big gatherings, if I feel welcome, but like you I'm exhausted after a night with a large group. I need alone time to recharge.

I wish I was one of those people who could feed off the energy of a group, but instead I'm the one giving up energy.

Dawn said...

Misanthrope Hermit? Party of Dawn?

Um, thats me...

Anonymous said...

I go to a friend's house once a week and if there's more than two other people there, I get all squicky and weird and wind up leaving early. Either that or I drink too much, but since I have a kid who likes to get up at whatthehelltimeisit o'clock, I usually leave early.

And in spite of the fact that I have been complaining about TCBIM and the amount of time he spends away from the house, if he's home too many nights in a row, I again get all squicky and jumpy and weird.

So, yeah, big on the alone time here.

Unknown said...

that's the difference between introverts and extroverts. Introverts get energy from solitude and require it to survive. Extroverts have magnetic flaps that need to be energized by others. I say some of us border on both. I love being alone and need alone time but I get more energy and creativity when I'm around others.


QT said...

I don't play well with others for very long. I am told I am too bossy.

Spending a lot of time alone makes you want things your way - especially when it is the RIGHT way, right SueBob?

LoriHC said...

I love your idea-bombs paragraph. I basically said the same thing to another blogger at BlogHer '06: that probably 90% of the people at the conference were introverts. The person I said it to, however, happened to be an extrovert, and did not agree. :)

Myself, I am, as in most things, very close to the middle of the introvert-extrovert scale, though skewing slightly toward the introvert side. My introvert friends all think of me as practically extroverted, and my extrovert acquaintances think of me as extremely introverted. I don't have too many actual friends who are extroverts -- they're too tiring!

meno said...

When i invite people over for dinner, at about 10:30 i start yawning and herding them out the door. It's not so much that i'm tired, i just need to be alone now, please.

jeanie said...

Interesting post - and interesting link. Got me thinking a bit.

There are moments when I can be sociable, but I need to feel comfortable in my surroundings to do so.

There are moments when I have to be sociable and make an effort to put such a mask on. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

There are definitely moments when I would much rather be in my own zone.

Day Dreamer said...

Suebob, I don't honestly know how I am about gatherings. I'm okay with some, to be sure, but I don't go to many, so that should be a sign. I like to karaoke (after a few beers and I don't sing on stage, but around the corner), but hate being in front of crowds where I have to speak...I get nervous. I'm a freak of nature I suppose. If I'm with people I sortof know, tho, I think I'd be okay, if not jittery at first. I'm usually shy at first and then you wind up getting an unhealthy dose of me in the end! I'm always glad to come home, to my little place in the world.

Still not sure I answered that one..

ecogrrl said...

I've been down here in Portland for two months. I hang out with other people about once per week. I would actually like to do it a little more often, but at the same time, I'm not quite social enough to make friends easily.

I definitely can't do the big group thing. I like having a few close friends. Right now, I'm a little lonely...yet, at the end of a long workday, I'm pretty happy curling up on the couch with a cat and a book.

Chicky Chicky Baby said...

If I don't get my alone time I can get very cranky.

Seriously, I can only be social for so long before I start to get overwhelmed. Blogher overwhelmed me. Then there was wine and I wasn't so overwhelmed anymore. Not that I'm advocating drinking, there are probably much better ways for dealing with social stresses. Know of any?

Shash said...

"Idea bombs" LOVED that!!

This is so true, and I'm glad you wrote it.

It was awesome meeting you and sharing Parmesan crusted pork with you at dinner. Memories to treasure!


Anonymous said...

I feel the same way. It takes a lot to get me into a social situation. I am completely nervous and overwhelmed by it. Once I am there I am fine. But then afterward I am completely drained.

Take this upcoming weekend, we have a party to go to as a family. I am dreading it. To the point where I may not go.

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