I’ve been unsocial lately. I’ve preferred to stay at home and read (or something similar) rather than initiate social activities or make phone calls or write emails. This new state is most obvious when I see how long it’s been since I’ve texted certain people or messaged others on facebook. I have still accepted invitations when others initiate such as the five social events in 3.5 days I have coming up next week.
I write about this as it feels as if this ‘change’ in my life has arrived unannounced.
Back through my teenage years and early 20s, I felt as if I was never social enough. I didn’t have enough friends or weekend plans or skype time or receive enough text messages. To combat this problem I would always be on the look-out for the next appropriate opportunity to initiate these things.
A niggling part of me, perhaps the part that remembers all the effort I used to invest in having opportunities to socialise, feels disconcerted by this turn of events and wants me to do some social things soon such as texting all the people in my phone contacts who I could conceivably send one to or inviting people over for lunch.
I’m not exactly sure what brought this on. It’s true that usually on weeknights after work I don’t seek company as I’m an emotionally drained introvert following non-stop interactions all day, but even after 2.5 weeks away from a classroom of teenagers I’m still enjoying my own company. Perhaps I’m aging and becoming less inclined to explore new relational landscapes. Perhaps I’m content with doing my own thing and there are plenty of these things to do. Perhaps I’m embracing my introversion.
Regardless, there has to be some kind of balance as losing contact with people and becoming a hermit is not a particularly healthy option although a beachside house nestled among the trees has a certain appeal. It’s also not a good idea to be physically present without trying to talk to people or care about and love them.
Overall, I sense it’s a good thing. Some of my ‘socialising’ and attempts at connection five years ago was driven more by a desperation to feel as if I met a certain standard of how much seeing people an early 20-something should do. This in turn led to valuing the event or the text rather than the person themselves, which wasn’t always the best thing for my relationships. Hopefully this new indifference to socialising means my interactions themselves will be more wholesome and better for the other person.
A few weeks ago I had lunch with a couple of friends and then we moved across the café to sit in front of the fire and talked for a couple of hours. It was wonderful to be me and enjoy them. Sometimes it’s worth going out, but the ability to be comfortable staying home means when I am out I’m freer now.