I’m fully vaccinated, which for me means one thing.
I can’t avoid socializing.
As an introvert, the thought of hitting parties, joining the swim club, or finally agreeing to that road trip with the girls overwhelms me. I’m no fan of the pandemic, but I did enjoy not talking to people.
Socializing on any scale is draining. Like that time I struck up a conversation with my barista. That conversation forever bonded me to her, because of the baby I’m fostering.
Well, the baby she thinks I’m fostering. I’ve never told her I’m fostering a baby. I’ve hatched duck eggs a few times. I’ve rescued a beagle, two hamsters, a guinea pig, and a crayfish. But I’ve never fostered a baby.
I’ve told her I’m not fostering a baby. But she still thinks I’m fostering a baby. This connects us in a way I haven’t ciphered, and does not earn me a discount.
Then there was the time I asked my masseuse how his day was going.
He burst into tears.
I’m not sure what the protocol is when a man who is about to see you naked is crying in a spa hallway. So I hugged him.
He cried harder.
I asked him for his story – which he shared, and was indeed worthy of tears. All I could think of was my own struggles with my dad’s Parkinson’s. So I shared the scars and wisdom earned in that battle.
Not how I planned on starting my massage. But at least he didn’t start crying again when I actually was naked. My ego couldn’t take that.
“Why did you ask him for his story?” my husband asked once I was home. He’s an introvert too, but he’s much better at it than I am. He was so quiet on our first date, I ran out of conversation. I finally had to tell him a story that was totally inappropriate for a first date but was all I could think of to say.
That story bought me a second date, which I’m sorry about probably a lot less than he is, especially when he finds out I spent the massage he bought me emotionally supporting the masseuse.
“He was crying! Was I supposed to ignore it?!”
I was supposed to ignore it.
So when I say I find people draining, my fictitious foster baby and emotional support masseuse might be why.
Last week, The New York Times suggested that some people might not bring back pre-pandemic activities they didn’t like, such as “overbooking [their] social calendar.”
How about not even booking it at all? Because I like maybe about four people. I’m a terrible person for feeling that way, especially if you know me and you’re reading this. Statistically, you’re unlikely to be one of my four.
Don’t stress over it. You’re not missing much. A couch potato who can – and does- recite every line of every Star Trek movie ever made is not going to add much to your world.
Another piece by The New York Times discussed research showing people are capable of having only about four good friends anyway, so maybe that’s not me being an introvert. Maybe that’s just people with social circles full of crying masseuses and couch potato Trekkies.
Even worse is the research cited in that same article that says only half of the people you consider friends feel the same way about you. Only half of those people would put you in their four.
Which is why being an introvert isn’t so bad. If those people don’t consider you a friend, that’s one less person asking you about a baby you’ve never fostered or crying while you pick out your aromatherapy.
Besides, that same Times article says you’ll replace half of those four people you really like every five to seven years anyway.
Just know that part of that four includes your spouse and some family members. So you might want to hide the money now.
I went to a party last week. There was no way to avoid it. Outdoors. Vaccinated people. Some I hadn’t seen since the pandemic began. Others for far longer, because nobody really likes a couch potato flashing the picture of that time she met William Shatner. Or the other picture of that other time she met William Shatner.
Despite my introversion, I enjoyed myself.
The reason? Some of my four were there. I can’t say who they are. But they were there.
I was home by 10. Why so early if I was enjoying myself? Well, isn’t obvious?
Star Trek is on at 10.
And William Shatner does all the talking.