The Isolated Life of an Introvert5 min read
As far as I can remember, I’ve always struggled to make friends. In school, I had a couple friends, only one of whom I really stayed in frequent contact with; checking in on each other every week or so, until a couple months pass and you’re like “Where the hell have you been, update time”. I never really made friends at work, as gossip tends to take precedence over trust at modern workplaces. Snakes, snakes everywhere…
I don’t even make friends online anymore; I used to have over a dozen close friends online about ten years ago, and today? One who I rarely ever get to speak to until something catastrophic happens because she’s so distant from everyone due to her medical condition, which is entirely understandable.
This is an issue from childhood and has meandered its way through my life, but I will give it credit for keeping me safe. So many people I thought I could trust proved themselves to be undeserving before I made the error of trusting them myself. It also hasn’t helped that I’ve always different, smarter, and struggle with understanding why things that seem like common sense to me was lost on most of the people around me.
I’m not an unfriendly person (albeit, my resting bitch face apparently makes me a little intimidating). I have dozens of acquaintances but I wouldn’t call them my friends. I wouldn’t call on them if something happened to me, or if I just needed to get out of the house for a night, because I don’t know enough about them or vice versa. This is normally because most people don’t want to let you into their circle of friends, and people like me get left on the outskirts of everyone’s circle, just looking in at all the fun everyone else is having, wondering what’s wrong with you.
But, being an observer on the outskirts of life allows me to observe people and their behavioural patterns in an interesting way. I often make up grand or tragic stories for people I don’t know. It can be quite fun, but allows a high level of disappointment if you’re not careful to manage your expectations of people; creating narratives that you cannot separate from reality is dangerous.
New places can be both exhilarating and terrifying. I’m one of those who wouldn’t do anything new without a friend or partner. Without that person to share that experience with, I’m like a deer in headlights. This does not apply to business for me, which I’ve always found quite interesting. I thrive in solo pitches to big clients (once I believe in what I’m talking about) and have closed million dollar contracts. I’m comfortable as an intellectual introvert in business. But going to do a new thing on my own? I freeze and doubt myself. That being said, if I really wanted to do it, or had a good enough reason to, I probably would. I’d go to a new dance or yoga class alone, or exploring in the forest doing photography alone. But something like bowling? Or even going to see a play or film. I’d prefer to share that kind of experience with another human presence.
Someone suggested that I should just go to the local pub and make new friends. I’m literally not cool or hot enough. I’d probably end up reading a book on my phone, which is something I can more comfortably do at home. So why would I go out to do exactly what I would do at home? The added benefit of being seen reading? Because no one disturbs someone who is hyper-focused on what they are reading. And should do disturb me, the death stare you shall receive will be remembered for the rest of your life. 100% guaranteed or your money back.
I exist in silence and the white noise in my head; and I actually do enjoy it. The quiet does creep up on me as it will with anyone else. It feels like something is missing, which is the gaping hole where you tried to fit someone in the past. But for the most part, I enjoy my quiet. I’m not responsible for anyone else and that feels good.
The quiet allows me to dedicate more time to the things I love doing, like writing, pole and photography. I can focus on getting better at the things I love, and building myself to where I need to be, all while finding the inner peace and happiness so many unhappy couples and people face.
Since I’ve settled down a little, my diet has improved, I’ve been writing more, painting and sketching more, and I’ve started pole dance training which has helped me physically and mentally in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Whereas in retrospect, when I wasn’t single, I was unhappy, unhealthy and always at war with myself because I always made compromises for the other person, but never made the other person compromise for me.
Now, I just do what I want to do, and I don’t have to feel guilty for not wanting to see anyone or leave the house. It’s liberating in so many ways. And when I really need someone to talk to, my mother and sister are only a FaceTime away, and my brother is guaranteed to whip up a chicken madras on my low days (I really love and appreciate him for that. He doesn’t know how much of a hero he is to me).
I love being an introvert, even though it’s isolating. I’m happier alone and far less stressed out. And I don’t miss having someone around when I have a huge community around me to share my life with 🙂 Thank you, all of you.