We headed out to dinner tonight and the thing I was looking forward to the most was coming back home. It’s not the fault of the place, or the person, it’s me. Yes, I can hear myself, I know that I sound impossibly rude.
If, as an introvert, you are heading out for dinner … is it acceptable to establish, with your less introverted other half, a signal that you may give at some point in the evening that allows you to head home?
My grandmother used to have a trademark saying “I think somebody’s getting a little bit tired!” She never explained that she was the somebody – but would look pointedly at one of the children of the party. Maybe she was onto something? I could try it though our three are likely to protest very loudly that they are not in the slightest bit tired. (maybe not quite in those words but the message would be clear.)
I’m trying to work out if there is some etiquette associated with this type of excursion, or not. I do not think there is; I think what you do is, you accept the kind invitation and behave like you’re enjoying yourself, and sooner or later you’ll find that you are.
Is this an introvert “thing” or is it just me?
There are a few things that I know to be true:
- Sometimes I really don’t want to go out. If, for instance you are asking me to make plans for dinner and I’ve already been out socialising for several hours – I’m going to be so non-committal that you may wonder if I can still speak and understand English. The truth is at that moment in time I just want to go home. It’s not you, it’s me. I’m all socialised out and asking me to do anything, anywhere, at this point is akin to asking me to donate a kidney on the spot. I feel like I should say yes, but it’s going to cost me… and at that point I’m not sure I can agree to something right now that I might regret later. I’m doing a number of different calculations in my head.
- If I know you very well – my answer will always be yes – because I know you so well. I know that if I arrive and upon arrival I’m still introverting – then I will emerge at some point in the evening and I will have a lovely time. But because you know me so well – you know this too. You are probably an introvert too and so all of this is familiar to you.
- I’m going to be stressed out, especially if I am going to a new place. Will I get lost? If I’m driving myself the answer is yes – no matter how straight forward it is. Even using google maps, I will get lost, and please don’t give me directions in order to avoid this. I’ll let you know now that if you do, I’m not listening, I’m just nodding, because I want to go to a quiet space and prepare myself for all of the things that could potentially happen.
- I will be fashionably late – because even though I’ve spent the whole day making sure I have the whole excursion planned down to the last second; one of a number of things will inevitably happen
- I will discover that in fact I should have washed my hair today.
- I will lose one of the shoes from the pair I have decided to wear.
- I will spot that when I was shaving my legs I missed one rather long patch that runs the length of my leg.
- I will discover that the outfit I had planned to wear just isn’t quite right, not sure why, it just isn’t. I probably need to wear jeans because of the hairy patch on my leg.
- I have lost the car keys, or my phone, or both of them, or the bag in which I have placed them.
- The last minute teeth cleaning has resulted in a toothpaste spill on the second outfit of choice, which means I now have to go back to outfit one which is in a heap on the floor and needs to be ironed … and now I do have to shave that leg properly.
- I will appear wide eyed and overwhelmed when I arrive – especially if I’ve never been to your place before.
Why? Well, you read the last bit! Also, if I’m new to this place, where are the exits? Not in case of a fire – just in case I need to zone out. In case it all becomes too noisy.
Hopefully you have a pet somewhere that I can go and chat with. Yes, I said with not to. It’s a two way thing.
Who else is here? Do I like them? Do they like me? Can I fake that I do? The answer is no… I can’t. I’ll just avoid them, best for everyone.
Am I going to have to make small talk? I really should have prepared some witty comments to make – if only I’d done something exciting today!
Them: How was your day Anne?
Me: Oh, okay, I spent most of it planning so that I’d get here on time.
Them: (discrete look at watch)
Me: Oh yes, but still I managed to be late. I know… ( insert self deprecating comment of some sort that then makes the person with whom I’m conversing feel that they need to defend me – against myself).. conversation trails off … small talk done…
If I’m with my significant other than I just attach myself to him. Think limpet on a rock. He’s the rock. He’s good with people from the start – I need to warm up – and then I become average with people. We’ve reached the point in our introvert/extrovert marriage where he understands I can’t be left, I have used stronger words in the past like abandoned or discarded to do small talk … I flounder, I accidentally insult, I’d rather come off as cool and aloof than accidentally insult all and sundry. Also, as a HSP I find myself overwhelmed by smells, sounds and sights. My brain tries to take it all in at once – that also explains the wide -eyed look!
- If I’m going out – it’s likely that I’m dreading going – but underneath is all I know I’ll enjoy it. I’m sorry if my mood to start with is cool and aloof, that’s kind of why I’m dreading it. You will, as many people in my youth did, assume that I’m a snob, and rude. I’m actually totally overwhelmed and just need about 30 mins to take it all in and settle.
- I find it impossible to cancel plans. I’ll force myself to go – unless I’m physically ill – sometimes even then.
- My optimistic nature buried deep below all of the above thinks that this person might just be one of the people for whom my quiet 30 minutes is just part of my charm, because one day, we know each other that well. 😉
- I do want to be invited to things – most of the time… 🙂
So, we headed out, even though I wanted to stay home…and we all had a nice time.