Hi. My name is Kim and I’m an introvert.
I think there’s something you should know about introverts: We (typically) LOVE people, we value our friendships, and we love to have fun. There’s a frequent commenter on our videos that is always surprised when we post something of me acting like a fool. She will say, “But you’re an introvert! How are you singing in a wig?”
My brand of introversion has nothing to do with my ability to make a fool of myself, and everything to do with how I recharge my internal battery.
After a long day at work and parenting and all the things required from this stage of life, my soul craves time on the couch. I love sharing a blanket with my kids as we watch a movie or I’ll park myself in a comfy chair to read alone.
My husband? He’s basically a golden retriever in human form. He’s messy but happy. And he loves people. The more people the better! After a long day at work for him, he NEEDS to be surrounded by a crowd to get energy. He’s joined a tennis league, a volleyball league, and plays pickleball weekly. I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but basically any sports situation that accepts middle-aged men, he’s IN!
We respect each other’s needs without question.
There was a time early in our marriage where he’d use a lot of “shoulds”.
Out of love he would say:
- “You should go out with your friends.”
- “You should join us at tennis.”
- “You should come watch the volleyball tournament.”
I would join occasionally, and it was always fun. But at this stage of life, I can’t commit to the social endurance required to keep up with his schedule.
I’ve been writing every day in September as my own personal journey to focus on my mental health. The act of posting this weird public diary has helped me unpack so much of the garbage I’ve been holding. I’ve discovered deficits I didn’t even know were there and it’s put a spotlight on things I really need to change. For example, I think my mental health would benefit from making friendships a bigger priority.
Friend Quota Met
I’m envious of Penn. He has done the work of building friendships through all these leagues he’s joined. If it weren’t for the youth sports obligations of our kids, he could fill his calendar with social opportunities every night of the week. When I asked him for names of people for a small-ish birthday dinner he handed me a list of 47.
Me? I have lifelong, call-in-the-middle-of-the-night, ride-or-die friendships. Some I met in college, some more recently. I’m proud I have a group of women I can trust and laugh until I pee a little. Many live in other parts of the country and the others are in the same stage of life: our schedule seems to be dictated by our children.
I don’t have that regular friend connection like Penn does, and it’s mostly my fault.
At some point in my adult life, without even realizing it, I stopped making NEW close friends. Almost like my brain said, “You’re good! You have your people! Everything from now on will be an acquaintance!”
I hate that I need time on the couch after a long day. I wish I could go up to a group of women at a school function and just join in a conversation. I suck at small talk and I always find a way to say something incredibly inappropriate. I end up replaying these conversations the next day and I wince with just how awkward I can be.
From a recent attempt at small talk:
Lovely new potential friend: How are the kids enjoying the new school year?
Me: It’s going well, but don’t you think there’s entirely too much expected of our kids these days?
Lovely new potential friend: ::confused look::
Me: I mean, when I was in high school it was all about finding the spot behind the lockers to makeout with my boyfriend now if they don’t have above a 4.0 there being told they won’t get their first college choice.
Lovely new potential friend: ::more confused::
Me: I mean, really our kids should be able to have some fun! They should be able to makeout and not worry so much about an AP exam.
Lovely new potential friend: ::slowly backs away::
For clarification: I do not want my kids making out at school. I get nervous in small talk situations and say really, really weird things.
So I guess this is my way of saying, if you see me in a social setting, know that I’m trying. I want to be the type of person that can walk into an empty room and walk out with friends. I don’t think it’s possible to fundamentally change my personality, but I do need to put some effort into this part of my life.
I don’t know how, exactly. Does anyone offer small talk lessons?