The minefield of being social

I’ve never been amazing at being social, just ask my very small number of friends, very few of which originate from before University.

But recently I’ve been noticing it more and more. I almost dread being invited on a night out when I feel socially drained (but possibly dread not being invited even more) and try to come up with some plausible excuse when I just can’t handle it on a particular day. You know some people can take the ‘I’m just not up for it’ tonight as a valid reason, but those people who are more extroverted almost see that as an invite to convince you that your reason isn’t good enough and “come on, it’ll be fun!” in its various forms always seems to come out.

It’s not like I don’t understand that it’s said from a good place, and they genuinely are looking out for your best interests and do want you to have fun. It’s not a mean thing, it’s just another thing to combat without having to explain the difference between introverts and extroverts from a chemical level or the psychological ‘spoons’ theory each time. (Look it up)

The again, I’m used to that, and it’s a thing a lot of people have to go through so that’s fine.

The really annoying thing is when you say something that gets an explosive reaction, and have absolutely no clue why it did so. The introverts of the world will probably empathise with this more than most.

Example:

Person A: *says something they think is innocuous*

Person B: Whoa, that’s harsh/gross/what the hell??

Person A: *confused* sorry, what did I say?

Person B (usually): *remains shocked but doesn’t explain what A actually did to get that reaction*

Therefore: Person A doesn’t understand what She/He did wrong and doesn’t learn and cannot avoid doing so again. This causes a lot of stress.

 

Personally, I’ve had this happen to me a few times. Once I even made someone genuinely upset and to this day I have no idea how or why what I said did this. I felt terrible about it yes, but couldn’t say honestly ‘It’ll never happen again’ or even apologise genuinely, since I only count an apology genuine when the person understands what they did that was wrong and I wasn’t able to.

This can be very scary for younger people, my dad for example has had this happen at school once and was extremely unnerved by the experience and still brings it up even now.

I don’t know if this is a side effect of introversion or anxiety and so not understanding the social cues enough or if it’s something that lies more on the sliding scale of Aspergers, but it’s always been something that has annoyed me, namely the lack of explanation on the other person’s part.

How is anyone meant to learn how to act socially if everyone is assumed to know everything instinctively and nothing is explained? I get learning from your mistakes, but part of that is understanding what the actual mistake was, right?

 

Of course there are nice social aspects, from all sides. I may not enjoy being around lots of people or ‘going out’ in any large dose, but I absolutely love chatting for hours and hours with a close friend, or watching a film with people I feel comfortable around, and even the small things like someone remembering something I enjoy without me having to remind them. (This for some reason affects me hugely, it’s a happy day when a colleague or friend/acquaintance says something like ‘oh, but Rebecca likes fantasy books’ and just genuinely cared enough to remember something about me. It’s the little things that matter the most.)

I just wish sometimes that more people would accommodate the people of the world who find this tricky, and make an effort to include rather than exclude. In the end, won’t this make the world a much nicer place to live in?

Moral of the day: Be kind, be inclusive, be helpful, and hopefully you’ll make someone’s day that little bit brighter.

P.s. It’s always a diary entry style rant that gets me back on this blog isn’t it? *sigh*

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