Never thought I would say that, ever. I am quite the hermit and quite content to be so. In fact, The Oatmeal drew a comic about me (allow me this dream!)
My colleague dragged me to a Girl Gone International event. She is social in a way I will never be but I felt obliged to give her company. I am not one of those women who bitch about how hanging out or working with a group of women is a nightmare. Quite the contrary, I had worked with a bunch of women in my previous office and I grew to love every one of them. So while I wasn’t afraid of making friends the way she was, I was a bit apprehensive about putting myself out there. The night went well enough. I clicked with two other ladies (an Australian and an American) and since they were both married, gave me a chance to see them again via the age old ‘triple date’ phenomenon. We met them a few times for dinner and it wasn’t the nightmare that I thought it would be.
Cut to a few months, I volunteered to go to another meetup. This time there was free alcohol and my brother’s girlfriend was visiting. You see how this works?
Lesson 1: I need multiple compelling reasons to actually go out somewhere social. I don’t mean travel, I love travelling. I mean the act of actually making an effort and talking. I am very good at it. But it tires me out like no physical activity can.
The night was a success on her part – she made ‘connections’. It was a success on my part because I didn’t spend a dime (when you suddenly find yourself supporting 3 people on one income, you find yourself feeling more stingy than you actually are). There’s even photo evidence that I hung out with a big group of brave and interesting women of all age groups from all over the world and had fun.
Lesson 2: It doesn’t literally kill me to be social but I am yet to find a compelling reason to push myself to it. I’m not the kind to want empathy or the kind to share deep secrets. I do talk to a select few people who’ve caught my interest and whom I think would help me see a different perspective on life. I am sometimes have blinders on so I like having people around who are polar opposites to me in many ways and in many ways the same and yet with a different set of priorities.
Lesson 3: I am more convinced than ever that I am an introvert. Not to be mistaken by its identical twin, shyness. I am not shy, I just find I expend a lot of energy when it comes to talking to people and hanging out with them. I often find I need a couple of weeks to recover.
Lesson 4: I actually enjoyed the idea of Meetups. Apparently they exist all over the world and they help you participate in interesting activities in a group and there is absolutely no pressure to meet up again. While I am not a big fan of ‘girl only’ or ‘boys only’ meetups, I do love the other activities that come up. You can go volunteer for the weekend, you can participate in workshops, you can play tarot as cards and not the future prediction thing. In fact, the boy and I went to a brilliant Open Air Cinema and watched the Rocky Horror Show! It was amazing.
Lesson 5: I am still learning about myself but there is something about being abroad that accelerates the rate of learning.
I am curious to hear your thoughts about going out and meeting other people. Is it something you like to do? If you are self-sufficient, do you even bother? Leave a comment!