Saturday, February 27, 2010

Being Alone

Pam, the bishop's wife, called me last night because she had noticed that I hadn't signed up for the ward's dinner groups this month. She invited me to come to their house for dinner tomorrow night, so I wouldn't be left out.

"Unless you didn't want to come," she said, laughing at the thought.

I laughed with her, more feebly. The thing is, I didn't want to go. Sure, I've enjoyed the dinner groups I have attended, but I only attend them out of obligation - I don't want to go, but I do because I feel like I should want to go, you know?

I was reading online about the Meyers-Briggs personalities, which I just recently tried a test for. It listed me as INTJ, and on Wikipedia (which I feel guilty citing as a source, teacher that I am) it explains that Introverts "generally prefer interacting with a few close friends rather than a wide circle of acquaintances, and they expend energy in social situations (whereas extraverts gain energy)."

That's it precisely! I have a hard time explaining to church-people why I don't want to go to a fireside/activity/dinner group on Sundays after a five-hour church setting. It's not that I don't have fun, it's that I get so drained by such things. People are often surprised when I tell them I'm introverted. I can be social, but it's exhausting, like playing a character for several hours. I can act that way long enough to do my calling on Sundays, but to then summon the energy to do it Sunday night as well before heading off for another week of work (which, while also enjoyable, does involve being around mass groups of people all day)? It's just too much for me most of the time.

It was one of those realizations that's so simple and obvious I should have figured it out a while ago. That's why there are so many activities and social engagements - some people (and I'm certain they're the ones planning them) actually gain energy from such things. And it also makes sense why some people, like Pam, just don't understand that sometimes I just don't want to go to another dinner group.

Whether it's fortunate or not, I now have a legitimate reason to not attend tomorrow night. They're predicting snow all day tomorrow and Monday for our area, so I've decided to drive up to the MT condo right after church tomorrow to simplify the commute to school Monday.

P.S. I hadn't been reading very much for a few weeks, and I know that I do get more anxious and unsettled when I'm not reading enough. No books had been catching my attention lately. I needed something that was engaging and easy, so I pulled the last three Harry Potter books from my shelf this week and burrowed into them. I started the last one last night and neglected many of the things I ought to have been doing to finish it today (although I was good enough to put it down and go to lunch and a movie with a friend). I'm all moody, as usual when I finish a book like that, but I feel a lot more put-together mentally than I've been in a while.

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