Jessica said to me, “maybe he’s just like you, everyone thinks you hate them too.” Yes, it’s tough being an introvert in an extroverted world.
Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day … seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice?
If so, do you tell this person he is “too serious,” or ask if he is okay? Regard him as aloof, arrogant, rude? Redouble your efforts to draw him out?
Spot. On. Just being at work (and I have an office with a door), even if I don’t talk to anyone all day, leaves me needing “decompression time” when I get home. I’ve long known that for every minute I spend with “people”, I need two minutes alone, and that ratio is exponential. Want me to spend an hour at a party? Good lord, then I get the weekend to myself. Of course, being married (to an extrovert no less!) and having kids makes such needs impossible to meet. But I can usually handle it. Until I can’t. And you never know when that time will be. When it does happen, my good friends know enough to say, “that’s just David.” To the rest of the world: sorry.
Maybe the solitude is why I like running. These days, when I really need my alone time, I’m just as apt to want to go running as I am to want to lock myself in a closet and lie down (yes, I’ve done that). Then how to explain the whole Gazelles group thing which I love too?
Well, the difference I see is this: introverts live in an extrovert world, extroverts run in an introvert world. When running, it’s socially acceptable, even the norm, to be quiet, solitary, alone, even when running within a group. Extroverts are the outsiders. Mary Marketing and Sam Salesman are the garrulous interlopers, and they really need to not talk so much on that eighth interval. But Paul Programmer? Why is he so quiet in meetings and aloof in the hall? He must not be a “team player”, a “self-starter”, and I never see him “take initiative”. Geez, are all HR people extrovert snobs?
(And the blog from an introvert, how do you explain that? Well, writing, and blogging especially, is actually an inward-looking process, so that connection is obvious. But it’s very dangerous. The introvert’s sense of humor easily gets lost in text. And exposing yourself in writing just opens your life up to people who, you know, want to, gulp, talk about it. Sigh.)
As always though, nobody knows anything. Especially me.
I ran tempo yesterday and felt strong. Must have been the weather. Felt good to push. Thoughts….
First 400 meters: “This feels real fast. Look at my legs move …. how odd.”
.5 mile: “3:00? That wasn’t too bad. I’ll never be able to hold it.”
1 mile: “Still there? Never be able to hold it though.”
2 mile: “Look at that gold jacket that lady has on.”
2.5 mile: “Wow, I’m actually carrying on a conversation. Maybe I shouldn’t?”
3 mile: “Getting pretty hard now. Wonder what the Turkey Trot will feel like.”
3.9 mile: “Should try to pick it up. Gotta look good for Gilbert. Geez, he’s not even watching!”
4 mile: “Nice.”
My 5 year old has a 1/2 mile cross country race tomorrow. I don’t see too many other kindergarteners hanging with him. He’s tough. He ran in the moonpie track meets this summer and was pretty strong, did well at a triathlon too. Ran in the Gazelle 1k last weekend and said “that was easy”. Haha, listen to me, I learned nothing from tee ball.