Friday Firesmith – Introverted Introspective

Friday firesmithThe 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?

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.



25 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – Introverted Introspective

  1. I am like you on so many levels. Dogs are my thing, the internet has helped me relate to people and I get petrified of certain social interactions, now I just need to learn how to write and we will be the same person. 😀


    • Mick,

      Writing helps. It helps you meet people without having to mingle first and it helps you meet people that you’d normally be freaked out by.

      By the craft of writing, the art of writing, and all that goes with it, really helps. It’s built for those of us who crave solitude.

      Write about your dogs and see how it comes out. That helps, too!

      I’m easy to find. I can help.


  2. I love having time to myself. I travel for work and people think I am weird because I go out to eat by myself. Escape in a book and have a good time. I don’t need the constant noise around me, when I am home the house is quiet (except for the dog snoring…) and I am at piece. I can tune out everything around me an zone into my cocoon and read.


    • Jenifer,
      I used to go out alone and see movies. Some people accused me of dating myself. But those same people are making my point for me. I once read a lot but now I mostly write.


  3. If I didn’t have to work, and get groceries, I’d never leave my house. Yes, Mike, You aren’t alone.(LOL) I too, must recharge after dealing with fellow homo sapiens. Thankfully I have 3 days a week in which to do so. There are times I never even poke my nose off my property. I might speak to my parents, they do come over during the week while I’m at work and make sure my dog doesn’t get bored and lonely, and I’m glad to still have them. Other than that, no. No calls, people know not to come by, that’s for sure. I’m a borderline hermit and I love it!!
    I used to be extremely shy as a child, I kind of grew out of it as a young adult, I think it was only when I entered the workforce. I used to hang out with friends and go riding and things like that, and I guess it’s me, but it got tedious and dramatic, so I came home to hang out with my dogs and never left. It’s where I should have been all along.


    • Chick, I hate shopping. It makes things a lot worse than they need to be.

      I was borderline for a very long time before I fled the border and moved deeply South of it. I really have no regrets except I didn’t do it sooner.


  4. Mike – I understand. I used to be an introvert as well. After college, I moved to the Chicago area and saw a volunteer opportunity that I thought would help me “break out” of being an introvert. It worked in spades–people who did not know me when I was growing up or in college have a hard time believing I was an introvert.

    Like Jenifer, I usually travel for work so that allows me some down time to help me recharge — I still sometimes revert back to being an introvert; but not completely–I still am not real thrilled when I eat alone (but I am not an extrovert enough to try those family-dinner themed restaurants that have strangers sitting together).

    Unlike you, I am not much of a dog person. I do abhor animal abuse so it is nice to hear about folks like you who rescue abused animals. I am also glad that your dogs help you recharge.

    If you want to be less of an introvert, I suggest trying short things that can help–like volunteering a couple hours a week where you have to talk with people (at a zoo, museum, hospital, or nursing home). This gives you some time out of your comfort zone but allows you to recharge when you need to.


    • Tim,

      Believe it or not, I tried that once and I am going to try it again, one day. I worked a dog adoption and quite frankly I was pretty good at talking to strangers about dogs. I was really impressed that I was able to stay in there for about five hours. I found a few homes for good dogs and people and I enjoyed it.

      But it wore me out, totally.

      Still, I am glad it worked for you and that is very encouraging.


  5. I am also quite the introvert, but I’m married to an extrovert with a large family. They manage to converge on my house a few times a year and I don’t look forward to it even though they are good people. I don’t have close friends, or friends that are close, and I’m perfectly okay with that except when I could use a little help.


  6. Yes Mike, the internet has been a game changer; bless its lovely little tubes.
    First off, the world of online commerce has saved many a retail clerk from being trampled by an overstressed introvert bolting for the exit.

    In the real world, interaction with humans means cleaning oneself, and some clothing,
    then venturing out at an appropriate hour. Three AM makes you suspect right away to most people. If you want to interact with someone you’re already comfortable with, you have to coordinate with them as to place/time/purpose, then hope when the time comes you can drag yourself out.
    Most people can’t fathom the down time it takes to recharge.
    “Just go to bed early tonight and you’ll be good to go in the morning.” Um… no.
    Lord give me the strength not to strangle a morning person, for they know not what they do.

    On the net you can plan ahead, but are not committed. Or spur of the moment when the spirit moves you, anytime night or day, because you don’t have to shower and put on clean clothes. Actually, you don’t have to put on any clothes at all, because on the net nobody knows you’re a dog. Once you do make contact, you can terminate at will, either gracefully or not and blame the computer/server/cat.


  7. I would say I am more homebody than introvert. Perhaps I’m a bit guarded, but I can also take charge when pressed or pissed. But I really gravitate to home. I’ve described it to people as having a bungee cord attached to me when I leave the house, I have it pulling on me until I’m back.

    I should also add the fact that I’ve never had a cell phone. I don’t like answering my phone at home, why would I carry one with me?


  8. I was born to two extroverts. I was expected to be one, too. I learned to act the part, but always had to take time out to recharge. I, too, can find all the company I want in books. I absolutely hated entertaining, but was expected to. Finally, one day my daughter told me I was an introvert. I realized she was right, and that trying to act the extrovert all those years had really taken a toll on me. I’m retired now, and supplement my pension by dog sitting. I’m supremely happy with my puppies and my books.


  9. Jeez, this is almost healing for me. So many tidbits of everyone that has commented here, I can apply to myself. I was (believe it or not) a shy child. When I got into the workforce I had to put myself out there. You gotta. My reprieve was going home. I worked on the road as a driver for many years and when I kinda retired, I didn’t want to go out, anywhere. I took pleasure in gardening and puttering in my yard. I absolutely can not stand any one “just dropping in” to visit. It still rattles and pisses me right off. Phone first to make sure it is okay. I feel that people that do that are really inconsiderate, assholes in fact. They have some spare time, bored, whatever…but never consider that they may be intruding on what you are doing? I hate shopping, can not stand it but know I have to. In and out. I’ve started to volunteer a lot and find that’s my Zen. And most of you that know me, know that I just like to spend time chatting to YOU or spending time with my doggies. No pressure there. 🙂


  10. I’ve struggled with this all my life. I like to be left alone, but I’d like to not feel that way. I’ve never been comfortable initiating a conversation, and I have trouble keeping up my end, as I can’t think of responses (until later, when I come up with brilliant responses.) I hate talking on the phone and will go for days avoiding calling the clinic to make an appointment for a routine checkup. My wife is the absolute opposite, and now that we’re both retired I feel bad for her because many days we don’t interact much and I know she needs that more than I do. I’m happy to putter in my workshop, go camping and fishing alone, but wish I could have more personal relationships.


    • Ron, my girlfriend has a ton of friends and she’s very active socially. Sometimes I wonder if she wouldn’t be better off with someone capable of a sustained interaction with other people in public but I’m good for a couple of hours,max.


  11. I have more or less had introversion thrust upon me. It has always and still does strike me as odd, because I love to be around people. I am a conversationalist at heart. But I don’t enjoy television or sports, which most conversation seems to revolve around, so it generally doesn’t take long for folks to move on to someone who shares their interests. New friendships quickly fizzle, and the phone stops ringing, and calls go unanswered.

    I sure do miss my teenage friends. We could talk about anything. Everything! We were known to sit on the riverbank for a couple days, just talking about the world and everything in it. I’ve never had that kind of friend since graduation broke us off into our separate paths.

    So I have my castle, warm and dry. It’s a lot of space for a man and his dog. Thank God for her!


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