Cuddle your introvert

Disclaimer: the title for this post is totally borrowed from a friend. I more or less bolted from the #makesomethingyeg launch party tonight, after toughing it out for about two hours and finally giving in to being terrified by the idea of mingling. On my way home, I texted a friend, asking if I could crash her apartment for a chai tea latte. (She makes really good chai tea lattes.)

Earlier this week, I was experiencing people overload, where it got to the point I turned down some social opportunities because I just couldn’t handle more people without the likelihood of strangling someone skyrocketing. Her term for it tonight? “Cuddling my inner introvert.” But since she was out of chai and needed to decompress from her own people overload, I texted another friend.

It’s not that my inner introvert needed to be cuddled, more like she needed to be squashed.

This always comes back to why I moved back to Edmonton. I want to be part of this community. And that means meeting people. Which is fine ā€” there are a lot of interesting people here. The problem is just ā€¦ putting it all together, I guess. I don’t know how else to explain it. Because I’m at the point where I go to a lot of events and recognize a lot of people, but I’ve never talked to them, and so they don’t recognize me, or talk to me. And I would love to talk to them. Because the community in Edmonton is brilliant, because the people are so darn smart and interesting.

The difference between talking to people for journalism and talking to people as a social exercise is that journalism, I get to do it on my terms. It’s completely OK to hover and observe at the back of the room as a journalist, and grab the people you need for interviews as you can get them. Just being plain social? It’s this crazy circus act of gracefully moving from one conversation to the next and always being able to waltz into the next group. Journalism may demand 60-hour weeks, but the latter is even more exhausting.

To be fair, I guess my inner introvert did deserve a cuddle tonight, since she talked to three people, only one of whom she had talked to before. But the kind of person I am, when I’m uncomfortable, upset or stressed, I move. Gesturing or jumping, or if I go for a walk, run or swim ā€” total physical giveaways. But tonight, I think my introvert tendencies just needed a good squashing.

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