Thursday, April 18, 2013

Figuring it out

If I am overly chatty next time you see me, please don't hold it against me.

It seems that in a world that is supposedly dominated by extroverts, (and yes, I realize that the technically correct spelling is "extravert," but that is marked as a misspelling and I hate those red underlines,) I seem to have an uncanny knack for finding the introverts.

Most, if not all, of my good friends are introverts, so I frequently read things that they share about understanding introverts. And I admit that, as an extrovert, I sometimes get a little annoyed by the caricatures of extroverts that are employed as comparisons. So when a blog post was linked on Facebook about introverts getting lonely I almost didn't read it. But I love my friends and I figured that if it was linked to, it was important.

And I'm glad I did, because it helped me figure something out. I am a basically happy person. My default is cheerful. I'm a realist about the larger world, but optimistic at the same time. I love my family, my friends, my job, my church. But for a long while now I have been in a funk. Crabby and short-tempered. I've had a couple of people suggest that I am depressed, but I know that's not the problem. I've been depressed. This isn't depression.

Reading that blog post it hit me like the proverbial bolt from the blue.

I am lonely. Horribly lonely.

I spend a huge amount of my time alone. My husband works in another state and is only home on the weekends. My daughter is married and lives out of state. My sons are busy with school, work, and friends, and when they are home they have homework and other interests. I have wonderful friends, but they are all busy with jobs and their own families, so I rarely see them. But, that said, I really don't think that this is about a lack in those closer relationships. (Except for my daughter, the deserter. ;) )

I have cut back on my activities, trying to ease some time pressure, but have lost some casual social contacts that I am now thinking might have been more important to me than I realized. I no longer haul kids to activities where I get to sit and talk with like-minded moms. I have left boards and committees. For fifteen years I had a succession of very social home-based businesses, but no longer. I'm not busy any more. And while I enjoy having time to do things around my house and having some freedom from time pressure, I'm not sure the trade-off is worth it.

I find myself pathetically happy to have a five sentence conversation with a barista or electrician. Church council meetings are a highlight of my month.

Don't be confused; I'm not bored. I work. I read. I do genealogy. I scrapbook. I try to keep up with my house. I have plenty to do. I just enjoy every single bit of it more if I have someone else to do it with or talk to about it.

I need to figure out if, in trying to build some margin into my life I haven't stripped too much out. Getting my (introvert) husband back will make some difference, but that isn't going to happen anytime soon. When I talked to him about this he gave me lots of good ideas, if I were an introvert looking for a job. (To say he doesn't get it is a major understatement.)

 Any suggestions are welcome. This isn't a post to guilt my friends into more frequent coffee chats. I need to figure out some way to fill my need for that light social chit-chat that my introvert friends hate so. I need to find the balance between busyness and nights spent staring at Facebook wishing someone would say SOMETHING.


Elephantschild said...

Haha. There are many nights I give up and go to bed because it seems like "nobody's online" !

There are times I think of calling you or IM'ing you, but don't, because in my head you're a "busy person" who's running there and here. But I can change that... :-)

As far as other ideas, I'll brainstorm about that and maybe email you. The thing would be to take on things/activities that are fun and give you social touchpoints but which aren't all-consuming...

Anonymous said...

I don't like the caricatures either. I live with a bunch of extraverts and they are just as unique as the introverts in the house.
I don't have any bright ideas for you, though. I have yet to find my own balance between lonely and worn out from socializing.

Unknown said...

I know this is an old post, but I just found it and like it so much I wanted to comment. I've been going through the same thing off and on since we moved. I've been trying to get better about calling friends and family. I enjoy chatting on the phone but I never get around to it, or think of it when I'm feeling lonely.

"I find myself pathetically happy to have a five sentence conversation with a barista or electrician."

This made me giggle. Living in such a rural area everyone is very chatty in public (even strangers). After one particular trip to the grocery store with an even chattier-than-usual checkout lady and bag boy I felt jazzed up for hours.