The first time I went on a real date it was like being on the Hindenburg and knowing it was going to burst into flames. No, everything went just fine but I was nearly paralyzed with fear. The event was so draining I slept for most of the next day. In the space of a just a few hours I had to meet her parents, speak to a waitress, get tickets for a movie in person, order popcorn and drinks and all the while navigating the world of adults. I was terrified for every single second of the night. Remarkably, there was a second date and a third, but being with me took a toll on people just as surely as being with people, just being around people, took a toll, a fearsome toll, on me.
There really isn’t anyway at all of calculating the number of job interviews I never made it to because I was simply too freaked out to speak to the person giving the interview. I was fairly good with people as long as I was loaded but it took decades for me to be able to speak to strangers without a buzz on.
Most people who have known me for a very long while remember who I was and they don’t know the person I’ve become. Most of the people who know the person I am haven’t known me for more than twenty years or so. The last ten or so have been decent enough, really.
Believe it or not, my theory with all of this is that the internet has helped more than anyone would have guessed. It’s far easier to communicate with human beings when I don’t have to speak with them in person. This has given me an opportunity to have relationships with people and realize that I do have some things in common with other human beings. Dog Rescue and Writing are both subjects I can talk to real people about in real time and be fine. Finding real people in real time has been a problem, but not nearly the problem it once was. I can actually go out and be around strangers and it not wear me down, well, at least not like it once did.
I need to recharge after being around people. Interpersonal interaction drains me. I have to have some alone time with writing and dogs to be able to physically and emotionally handle the next event with people. This is a very real problem when I’m dating someone because they view this aloness as a need to escape the relationship when it is a simple function of being an introvert.
Are you an introvert, too? What do you do to recharge after having to deal with people?
Mike writes regularly at his site: The Hickory Head Hermit
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