Thursday, November 21, 2013

Getting to Know Me. Am I an Introvert?

I've always thought of myself as a rather mild mannered fella.  I'm not really prone to extreme emotions or significant mood swings.  But that's about as much as I can honestly say about myself.  I used to think I was outgoing, then I thought I was shy, recently I thought maybe I was just an emotionless void.  Recently though, having statistically reached the age of adulthood I think I have finally begun to understand a little about myself and who exactly I am.  For the most part, I am quite pleased with the kind of person that I am.

There is one major thing though that has manifested itself over the last 4-5 years.  I call these the post college years.  Because when I was in college, I craved the company of people.  I purposefully found the biggest house possible and filled it with 6 of my best friends. (some of the best times EVER!)  I was never home alone for 4.5 years.  And we were always on the prowl for opportunities to add to the group size.  I very rarely felt uncomfortable in any social situation.  In fact it was usually just the opposite.  Reed used to say that I had no social conscious, or something like that.  I thrived off of the attention of others and couldn't care less what anyone thought.  I literally could not become embarrassed.  I wanted to be the center of attention.  Everyone needed to know that I was there!  I even became a lead singer in a band just so I could get lots of attention.  I hate singing.  And I am really, really bad at it.  (now it's embarrassing)  But it provided opportunities to meet new people, and to be freaking awesome!

Then, slowly, something changed.  The roots of the change are probably centered around the process of my friends getting abducted and forced into servitude, I mean married, and drifting off on their own lives, no longer needing the energy of our group to fulfill their social needs.  When my only major attempt at moving my life in that direction ended worse than this, I was not only left without a social pipeline, I had incurred a severe mistrust of deep emotional attachment.  So I started doing something new for me, I started doing things by myself.  This was a very significant change for me.  I couldn't even drive to Shopko for socks by myself before!  I did things like move to Alaska, alone.  Moved to Maui, alone (well, not at first).  Moved to Australia, alone.  I started doing the things I love to do, by myself.  No longer were these social activities, but personal hobbies that became more and more intrinsically valuable.  I learned to be alone and be ok, and found out that skiing by yourself is freaking awesome!  No waiting, no sharing, no "where do you wanna go?"  Bliss.

The direction my life went at that point has turned out to be ridiculously awesome, but came with a side effect.  I started working in the tourism industry.  In Park City, Maui, and Australia my jobs have been to interact with a large volumes of people in a very friendly and positive manner.  As a ski instructor only a portion of my job is to teach skiing, mostly I attempt to provide a memorable experience.  I have ridden a lot of chairlifts with people I just met that morning.  Chatting them into adoring me every time.  And in Maui twice a day we'd get a boat full of new tourists and it was my job to get to know them all and make sure they had a good time(And didn't die).  I've had a whole lot of getting to know you conversations!  I'm a professional get to know you-er.  I've gotten really good at pretending to be your friend for a day.  My livelihood kind of depends on it as half my income comes from tips from all these people.  And business has been good.

But over the years (I've been doing this since 2008) and somewhat unconsciously, all these happy faces, funny jokes, and enlightening conversations I've been spewing forth have worn me down.  So much so that today, when I am not working hard to earn your tip, and if I don't think you are going to play any significant role in my life, I don't really want anything to do with you.  And I definitely don't care where you are from, what you studied in school, where you work, or what you think about last nights TV line up.  Just the other day I was in a gymnasium chuck full of young, attractive, interesting people...and I hid in a corner with my two safety net friends, avoided eye contact with strangers out of fear they'd try to engage me in conversation, and left early to avoid the nervous breakdown the extremely overwhelming situation was sure to cause.  I have become much more introverted than I ever have been.  I can't really say if this has happened because meeting new people and being interested in them feels like I am at work, or if it is just a more true and grown up version of me manifesting itself now that I no longer need the attention and approval of others to measure my self worth.

Whatever the cause, the effect has had a side effect.  Even reading this now you probably think I just sound like a jerk.  Sitting alone in the corner because I'm stuck up.  Not caring about your pet dog's haircut makes me rude.  Not engaging you in friendly "getting to know" conversation makes me inconsiderate.  The people that I have decided are worth getting to know, have all said as much about me before they actually got to know me.  "Scary", "Kinda rude", "Mean" are all adjectives some of my current best friends have used to describe their opinions of me before I measured their worth and let them in.  i.e.  before we got to know each other.  So this is me now.  I'm not bitter, I'm not shy (well, unless you're a pretty girl), and I'm not trying to be rude.  I am just exhausted from being so friendly and awesome for the people paying me, that when I meet you, I am just going to need some time to decide if you are worth my valuable energy, and then build that energy to a level high enough to share my story.  And then...we'll probably be really good friends. Especially if you have bacon and cookies!

Now, I don't really know if I qualify as an introvert or not.  I reckon the people that know me well would say no, but that's because they already know me.  So they are already on my list of acceptables.  But this graphic seems to describe me rather well(but not perfectly)...So, if you are interested in being my friend, follow these simple guidelines:

 And if you are a pretty girl interested in getting to know me...two things.  First, I am well over my mistrust issues.  And Second, please follow these guidelines!  Thanks!

No comments: