When an introvert goes out as night…
mental prepping involuntarily begins the day prior.
The day of I would rather stay in but convince myself that’s what I usually choose — so this time — I’m going out.
I arrive at my first destination and see someone I know as I’m walking up. Between me and him and the friend I do not know next to him, is my phone. My virtual date is there with me live via Snapchat video. I use him as my shield as I say my hello’s and proceed to enter the matrix of social people which I can hear just around the corner.
I know several people there and they seem to be distracted talking to one another so I attempt to walk on by on my way to find the 2 hosts of the evening. 50% luck. I’m stopped by a few people who see me out of the corner of their eye. I love these people.
I finally reach one of the hosts and chat for a bit. Success. She leads me to the art inside — away from most of the crowd— and excuses herself to attend to other guests. For the next few glorious minutes I get to study the art and read all the captions. I send private snaps of all the art to my virtual date since we had to end the video chat early. I forget to take photos of the art for myself and 24 hours later all that’s left are memories. Imagine that.
I make my way to the main area where there’s a band playing near the rest of the art on display. I see the 2nd host and say my hello’s. I take a look at all the art and then enjoy the music for a bit in my own way — observing, photographing, snapping, insta-storying, listening to the lyrics and of course, people watching. These things are a lot easier to do when no one knows you. Since they do, I somehow end up dancing with a friend and then get passed on to a stranger. The photographer snaps some photos of us since no one else is dancing —the photographer is also a friend. I think to myself — I hope my husband doesn’t see that photo and take it the wrong way. I don’t dance with him when we go out. I don’t really dance with anyone. I’ve always been more of a solo freestyle dancer and these days that only happens when I’m home alone. Overthinking at its finest.
The band finishes their first set and I make my way to the checkout person to buy a couple of t-shirts from the artists. He is also a friend and we end up talking for a while. I look down at my phone and realize it’s 8pm…I need to leave to be at my 2nd location soon so I don’t miss my friend’s poetry performance at 9pm, 15 minutes away.
By this time I have a small headache. This is what interacting with people does to me. I can be around a crowd of people all day and walk out fine. Interactions and talking to multiple people however is mentally and physically draining.
Please note: It’s not that I don’t want to hang out with you—or talk to you on the phone — or come to your house — it literally just gives me headaches. I’m not sorry.
I head to the food truck for dinner before I have to head out. I sit down at an empty bench to eat my food and a stranger sits next to me…we end up making friends over my brussel sprouts dinner which I end up giving to her 1/2 way through my meal. We become insta-friends. Hey girl! ;)
I now have a medium sized headache. They escalate quickly once they appear, especially if I continue to socialize.
It’s 9pm and I finally manage to pull myself away and head to my final destination for the evening. I take 3 steps inside and see an old friend. This repeats every few steps or so. I make my way to the stage and see more friends/colleagues…I say my hello’s.
By this time I have a full on headache. The only thing keeping me there is the fact that I want to see my friend’s performance and I made it this long already, might as well stick it out.
It’s now 10:30pm. The final poets have performed and the dancing commences. I realize I have either missed my friend’s performance or he never made it. I walk outside and see my poet friend in the middle of a large group of people. I guess I missed him. I do not go and say hello for various reasons:
- He didn’t even know I was coming.
- He doesn’t know I’m there.
- I didn’t see him perform anyway.
- If I say hello there’s a good probability I will get sucked into that large group conversation and have to stay longer.
By this point my headache is so bad that I’m starting to get nauseous. I head for the door but am stopped by another friend…who is with another mutual friend…who introduces me to her other friend…and her other friend…
Before I throw up on myself I try to say my goodbye’s but not before I’m introduced to another couple of friends. I feel a little bad and kind of rude but I say hello and immediately goodbye as I make my way to the exit — for real this time.
It’s 11:15pm — I drive home with a migraine and nausea. This goes much better when I have a real (not virtual) date who takes on the more social role so I can relax a bit and be a little more free to be “unsocial”. Or when I go places where no one knows me.
By midnight I’m in bed. Usually when I wake up my headache will be gone and I’ll be able to stay home all day to recharge. This time though, maybe since I was on my own, I wake up with traces of last night’s headache. With proper nutrition, my headache is gone by 2pm.
Now it’s time to do it all over. Rest. Go out. Interact. Repeat.
End note: People from my past are always surprised when they find out I’m an introvert. They say, “But you used to go out all the time, 5 nights a week!” To that I answer —Yes, but I would say hello and then solo dance the night away.
Introvert Lesson of the Day: Interactions are draining. People and crowds in and of themselves are not. There’s a difference.
My apologies go out to all those who have ever been hurt or offended by my lack of presence, lack of communication and lack of interaction — in general. I’m not sorry for being who I am, I’m sorry if it affects you in a negative way. I hope one day you understand if you don’t already.