I am a true introvert through and through and over the years I have become less and less social because I am craving that time to recharge. I say all this, yet I am married to an extrovert, so he wants to go out and be around people and nothing about that brings me joy. It is not unusual for us to not go to things together, for example, if there is a New Year’s party at a friend’s house, most likely I will not be going but my husband will still go. I know some people find that weird, but he enjoys those types of events and I don’t. It drains my energy, while it recharges my husband’s energy. And let’s be honest I like my sleep, I don’t drink, I love to set my goals for the new year that night, and I am usually in bed by 10:00pm on New Year's Eve. I choose to priorities those things- my sleep, health, goals, overstaying up late and hanging out with large groups of people…. There is nothing wrong with either of those priorities, everyone has different things that bring them joy.
But this year for the first time, I picked a “word of the year” and I picked intentional. I wanted to be intentional with my word but as I started defining it, it grew to being intentional in what I put in my body, in what activities I do, and in my relationships. I had kind of an epiphany over Super Bowl weekend. It was one of those situations where our neighbor had a Super Bowl party, I didn’t go but my husband did and people were texting me asking me why I wasn’t there, and my answer was “because I don’t want to be there.” (I have no issues with boundaries and saying no to things I don’t want to do, I am not a peer pressure person.)
But this made me think and dig into why I don’t like these types of things. The answer came to me pretty easily. I don’t like surface level conversations, I am not a fan of small talk, I find it to be a waste of my time, I like to be productive with my time and having the same “how are the kids, how’s work, how’s soccer, crazy weather huh” conversations with 20 different people does not interests me. But what I did realize is I do value is real, authentic relationships. I have a handful of friendships that I absolutely cherish. Some of these friendships go back 35 years and some just a few years, but I realized I want to spend “my social” time with them, I want to have real conversations with people that I can be authentic and real with. I don’t need or want 100 people to say hi to and have small talk conversations with.
After I had this realization, I started intentionally planning phone calls with friends that don’t live close and going to lunch or walks with other friends that I may not have seen for a while but truly value our friendship. Doing this truly brings me joy and give me energy. I still have more work to do in this area but so far, I have really enjoyed connecting with my true friends.
I say all this because I know I am not the only introvert out there and I never realized how much I valued one on one conversations with friends, I would just say “no” when asked to go out to lunch because “I don’t want to be social” but when I actually became intentional with my time and my relationships, I realized I do need that social time just not the same way other people do. So I challenge all the introverts out there to reach out to a friend and set up a time to talk or get together. And just a side note for all the extraverts out there, have grace with us introverts we just have different ways of being social.