My parents are planning to move house, so my mum has been sorting through all their old stuff. This has brought up a couple of things I want to blog about, the first of which is introversion.
In amongst her uni work, my mum found a note from my dad from when they first started dating. She’d gone to the bar to get drinks and he’d vanished and left a note on the table saying ‘Have gone to do some work. See you later x’
My mum told me about this because she found it funny: my dad was renowned for doing absolutely no work at uni, and was very nearly kicked out. He hadn’t excused himself because he planned to work at all, she thought, he’d excused himself because there were too many people in the bar, and it was making him anxious.
I’m very close to my dad, not least because we’re very similar. I too, will always try to extract myself from situations where the sheer number of people causes my heart to race, and not in a good way. A few months back, I was visiting the boy and I’d arranged to meet him in a bar. When I got to the door, it was clear the place was rammed, and I had to lean against a wall and control my breathing before I could bring myself to go in.
True, the above is anxiety, rather than introversion per se, and there are drugs you can take to control it, although I’ve never been certain how comfortable I am with that. But on a more introverted level, last week I went out three times after work: to have dinner in London with an old friend, to another friend’s birthday party, and for drinks with colleagues. I’d no sooner walked through the door from the third of those, when the phone rang. It was my dad.
I was honest about how I was feeling (I had to be: I answered with my ‘Argh, why won’t people LEAVE ME ALONE?’ voice) and he apologised for giving me such introverted genes. There’s always a sense, in my family, that if you are introverted it’s somehow a personal failing, rather than just a fact of life. Most of the time, I’m perfectly happy to be that way: I love having a house of my own to come home to, being able to close the door behind me and shut the world out for a bit. Good therapy in the past made me realise that, to be the best version of myself around other people, I need to take time out to recharge.
From a dating, and longer-term love perspective though, it does worry me a bit. When I reactivated my OKCupid account, I decided that I’d only use it on my laptop, and that I wouldn’t download the app on my phone, so that I could re-immerse myself slowly. Truth be told though, the reality is that, if you only log on a couple of times a week, the messages are far and few between. Obviously, it could also be that guys just don’t find me attractive, but I’m sure I got more interest last time I used it on both!
Flash forward, though. What if I do find love? I want children, and everyone knows that toddlers are notoriously bad at even giving you the space to pee alone, let alone time to catch your breath. So, with that in mind, is it realistic to think that I can live my life dipping in and out of social interaction as I see fit, or does finding love ultimately necessitate giving up that space? In short: am I just being selfish?