First, a definition if you will:
Opposite of extrovert. A person who is energized by spending time alone. Often found in their homes, libraries, quiet parks that not many people know about, or other secluded places, introverts like to think and be alone.
Contrary to popular belief, not all introverts are shy. Some may have great social lives and love talking to their friends but just need some time to be alone to "recharge" afterwards. The word "Introvert" has negative connotations that need to be destroyed. Introverts are simply misunderstood because the majority of the population consists of extroverts.
Shelby and I decided to pop in for a visit with Gammy and Gampa on Saturday afternoon and while we were there they asked me to answer a series of questions. They didn’t tell me what for, just to answer honestly and without thinking about them too much.
I have a pretty close relationship with my parents, but I’ll admit I was a little nervous when they wanted to ask me a bunch of questions and wouldn’t tell me what for. Then the book came out, “Quiet; The Power of Being an Introvert” and they asked the first question; at that point I knew it was okay to breathe again.
Here’s the real shocker…I’m an introvert.
I did NOT need a test to know that I am for-sure, without-a-doubt an introvert. Always have been, always will be.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve grown more accepting of my keep-to-myself nature. My younger, dumber self would try to force social situations hoping with a little “practice” I’d be less of a social outcast and more of the social butterfly I thought I should be. The truth is I’m a moth. A big, brown, boring moth. Not the enormous kind that hangs on the screen door and terrifies you when you go to let the dogs out, but more the cling to the spider web in the corner of the porch hoping to somehow wiggle free before Charlotte comes to eat me, kind of moth.
I’d waltz through the door thinking “this time will be different, I’ll make more of an effort to small talk and make new friends.” Fast forward 20 minutes and you would find me petting, baby-talking and becoming besties with the resident cat/dog/lizard or just staring blankly at an inanimate object.
In large crowds, I would (and sometimes still do) feel so uncomfortable I would shut down. I’d find a corner, or otherwise forgotten section of the house, and spend the evening there until it was time to leave. I’d only chit-chat with those who approached me and mostly out of obligation rather than desire. By the time, I’d make it home I’d be emotionally drained and would feel like SUCH a loser.
I may be an introvert but when I do meet someone that is willing to look past our likely bizarre first encounter, I latch on and I latch on completely. I’ll drive to the other side of the world and back to help a friend. I’ll give the last $10 in my bank account to buy them a meal. I’ll set aside my desire to vent and allow them all the time to gab my ear off about the travesties of their life. But you know what always happens? I always end up getting “played.”
I'm that crayon color you think you like but after coloring a solid piece of the picture with me you decide I'm ugly and practice your free-throw into the trash can.
I’ve had girlfriends who I thought would be lifelong comrades But then I'm smacked in the face with the truth stick when they tell me they “don’t have time for a sick friend” when I'm out of work and on disability with debilitating pain. I’ve had “best friends” who can’t even make the time to come to my bridal shower/baby shower or even meet my daughter. I’ve had “best friends” who don’t even care enough to support my passion for writing; who have never taken the time to pop onto this blog or read parts of the book I’m working on. I’ve had “best friends” who act nothing like a best friend should but who expects me to bend over backwards for them.
I always find a way to justify their behavior. I’ll get mad and stay mad for a bit, but eventually the anger subsides and a simple text message or phone call is all I need to forget the past and start up where we left off. I never learn. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me a third time, I’m just stupid and apparently so desperate that I can't see that they are never going to be the kind of friend I want or need them to be.
It’s for these very reasons that I do not, and really have never had close friends. Every time I open myself up to the possibility of a close friendship, something happens and the friendship dissolves. I’ve gotten hurt too many times and it’s made me even more hermit like.
I’m not saying I don’t enjoy the company of others, I do, just on a smaller scale. My husband loves feeling like part of a group. He couldn’t even make it 10 days after the birth of our daughter before I found him watching a documentary about a rare species of monkey only found in China. I sent him back to work after only 6 days. He hadn’t even been hunkered down in the house those 6 days. He had gone bowling, shed hunting and even out for a drink whereas I had not left the house and I was perfectly content.
So where am I going with this book of a post? I received a text message over the weekend that solidified my intuition that had been right all along. I have realized that no matter how many times I forget and forgive a selfish person will always be selfish and they will never be the type of friend I need or want.
The point of this post is to simply put in words that I have learned my lesson, finally. I won’t be making the same mistake, yet again. This socially awkward introvert knows now who and what is most important in her life and should there be messages or phone calls in the future to the same tone as those of the past, I will say thank you, but no thank you.
There is no Lorali to my Rory, or Goose to my Maverick. No Thelma to my Louise. I'm more of a loner, a Edward Scissorhands or better yet, Robert Neville, at least he had his trusted German Shepherd as a companion.