I am what people would define as the opposite to an introvert. I love people and talking to them, I like big crowds as much as I like having noone around me, I like partying, I am known as being very social here in France as well as at home in Edinburgh, and I am not shy. So far, so extrovert. But there is one problem: sometimes, I will lock the door to my room and not come out for two days.
Well, except when I have class. Or to get food. I spend a day getting ready mentally for a party, often going from class to class and keeping social encounters to a minimum. I will sit and listen to music, study, read a book or write and do strange things like pretend I am a famous dancer. Emphasis on the studying and writing. I prioritise all of these things on certain days because they are who I am and what I like to do. Unfortunately, I have trouble communicating this to people, and if I did I would probably be asked why I don’t just want to have a coffee with a group of people, or just sit on grass in the sun with people talking, instead of being a weirdo.
Its ERASMUS!!!!!! Is the echo heard throughout the streets. Just come for one drink. Just come watch a film. I would, but I don’t want to. I’m sorry. I have shit to do.
Why am I apologising? For I get tired of the sound of my own voice. I get tired of explaining myself, because that is what lots of conversations are in their essence- an explanation of your day, your moods, your motives. When I am in the mood, I love being sociable and talking about my life, but if I do not take time to have a life outside of socialising I will have nothing to talk about. Just what is it about the term sociable that makes people so keen to explain themselves, so avid to be put into the category of sociable by others?
Because the alternative is introvert. This is a term that gets slapped on people who prefer their own company to that of others, conjuring up images of someone sad, lonely and not in touch with the world around them. I do my best to ignore labels such as these and shove them aside, but what if I find myself labelled as an introvert because I didn’t go out on a Saturday night? Or because I muted the Facebook conversation so that I could stop being bothered with notifications of my more sociable peers’ meeting up plans?
Any large amount of time I spend with people is, for me, a loss of time for the self. It is a loss in the sense that I put others before myself, because I filter my ideas so as to match the general mood of the group and shut out my more controversial thoughts or ideas for the sake of impressing or keeping others happy. ‘Just being yourself’ is impossible and one of the great illusions of modern culture: I cannot ever be completely myself with a large group because there is always someone in a group who will be upset, challenged or dismissive of something I say, and I prefer my sociable times to be pleasant ones. I find myself unable to be selfish in sociable set ups, and that is where the necessity for alone time appears and binds me to a common good. The pressure to exist as a mass and to live only to go out and have a good time in quest of a projected ideal of sociability is where our generation loses its potential.
The wiring of my brain is different to others- I know people who function best in social setups, and who truly find it conducive to happiness to spend all their time with others. This is a time where the main minefields for my future prospects and career are spending a year in denial of a future. This is where I will fall down- by devoting all my time to others to create a projected self image and completely losing myself and my personal joys in the process.