Complex.

I’m complex.  I think others might be, too.  Particularly with the social scene.  As a writer and thinker (probably more than many), I tend to stay in my head more than not.

It’s weird.  I want to have a few close friends (which I do have, just not locally) and feel the need for acceptance.  I think we all do, to some extent.  But I’m an introvert.  This does not mean I do not appreciate being invited into something or actually have the opportunity to participate.  It also does not indicate that I have nothing to offer those who might invite me to participate in something.  But to not reach out to see if I really want to participate and if I am unable to, what I might need to make that happen.

I have a friend who, last year, told me of a retreat he was hosting.  Several guys I knew were being personally invited by our mutual friend.  The extra push to make it happen (the fact that it took place only 300 miles away) was actually a private FB message from one of the guys in South Carolina telling me that he wanted to meet me (we’d talked before).  Not only did we meet at the gathering, but we were assigned as roommates so we could hang out a bit more and chat after everyone else went to sleep.

So, yes, while I want to be invited and included in things, I have some challenges of social awkwardness to overcome.  And it’s one reason I’m not generally up for hosting.  It’s my crap and has nothing to do with the others.  My friends know how I am about these things and the challenges I face.  And, in the event I need to decline (and I’m honest about it), I do not feel any less invited or accepted after my response than when the offer was extended.

I’ve talked to a few people who ‘get me’ and understand this phenomenon.  They appreciate the invitations and ‘check-ins’ and the fact that they aren’t pressured into attending if they aren’t up for it.

If you’re one of the awkward folks like me, how do you manage your social struggles?  If you’re not, how do you work with people like us who want to be invited and accepted and struggle to do so?  How do you see the event when we state we are unable to join/attend whatever soiree you’re throwing?  I’d love to know – and I’m sure others would, too.

In the meantime, thank you for letting me just be myself for a few minutes of your time.

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This entry was posted in Friendships, Ponderings, Reflections, Relationships, Tips. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Complex.

  1. bethmacdonaldmathematicseducation says:

    My husband and daughter are introverts as well, and I struggle with their social awkwardness. I am always fearful that they will offend someone. How do you and your family deal with this when you meet families that invite you to join in with social events?

    • Roman Hokie says:

      Well, there have been a few Christmas gatherings where I tend to hang out with the guys watching a football game (no talking required) or the one time I sat at the kids’ arts/crafts table and engaged a few kiddos in what they were making.

      I don’t think I say anything embarrassing (and I do not get drunk) or offensive. And we attended the gathering two years in a row, so I think I’m doing all right.

      I recall a time when my parents (you remember my dad from high school) had some friends that lived up the road and I said some embarrassing things to Mom’s friend. I think adults know that kids are awkward. I’m also probably more aware of my brand of awkward than most notice about me.

      For the most part, the invitations are minimal, so it’s a non-issue for us.

  2. malindar says:

    For the record, I like you. And your honesty. And how much you make me think.

    Used to think I was an extrovert. I think…maybe not so much any more.

    • Roman Hokie says:

      I did better when I was younger. I think the whole phenomenon of proximity and similar interests in elementary and secondary school added to my comfort levels. I’m sure, as a musician and athlete, you understand that a bit. College years were wonky for me. Really wonky. Texas was good to me through our friendships at work and in the faith community where we found ourselves and made our home. After Texas, it went downhill. Of course, we were back up north, and things are different here.

      I think my high school years masked my introversion well. I don’t think I WAS an extrovert who became an introvert (nor do I think that is what you are saying either). I think that commonality with my peers became lost.

      I struggle to remember much of my college years, nothing to do with alcohol or drugs either. I really don’t know how I made it through.

      Pixie, I like you, too. Thanks for staying with me through whatever comes out of my keyboard. I never know what I’m going to vomit to the screen.

      When are you posting again?

  3. Ah…introversion. It’s how we are wired from birth. One can learn how to cope/mask/hide, but one cannot change from an extrovert to an introvert. It has nothing to do with shyness or other social behaviours; it has to do with how you see and process the world around you. Gregarious introverts actually exist…as do shy extroverts.

    When I was first married almost 40 years ago (!!!), I developed a stammer…which is pretty odd for an opera singer. It took several years and concentrated efforts (all those voice lessons) to manage it. Now, I simply run away. I have last minute willies when confronted with social engagements, regardless of whether I’m hosting or hosted. And I like to entertain! I like people, more or less… in small doses on my own controlled turf. ;). But I still feel the panic and the overwhelm rise and the flight instinct wells up. I guess it’s better than stammering.

    David is very understanding. I am allowed my space, even if I need to disappear in the middle of my own party. My Daughters are used to it and know how to help Mom in the kitchen, my place of refuge. At parties to which I’ve been invited, I will usually hug a margin, a person I know, and start asking questions; good open-ended questions that engage conversation. Everyone has thoughts and opinions about something. The trick is getting started; then I listen and ask more questions and I’m good and can sorta relax.

    For me, I have to be intentional in my friendships/relationships which is not my strong suit. It isn’t that I don’t care; I do, deeply. It’s shyness+introversion; a feeling of ineptness or that I am imposing.

    Anyway, I have found social engagement easier, for some reason, in the last nine years. Perhaps it’s because I’ve learnt something about not squandering time. And how life is too short ( no shit! I’m going to be 60 yrs old next Spring!!! :faint:). But I still struggle…

    Hang in there, Hokie. Prayers, as always!

    • Roman Hokie says:

      Thanks for that bit of sharing, Aoi. I suspected you of being an introvert, particularly as a creative type (betwixt the kitchen and the singing). I am learning the art of the open-ended questions that go deeper than name and career… But, if someone starts there, I might ask what he or she enjoys most about the career. Especially since many Yanks do not like their job and secretly wish for something different.

      My bride gives me a pretty wide berth, too, when it comes to my lack of social, um, energy. It seems we are both blessed in that.

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