Structure your social relationships to fit your personality, not someone else's. Read More
Based on informed opinion, we can predict with a fair degree of accuracy but something we cannot do (at least I know think we can) is experience an experience in advance. (We might be able to imagine what the experience would be like but that's not the same thing.) So when I used to go to parties even though I couldn't be bothered it was that I knew that the act of doing something I wasn't in the mood for might result in an unexpected opportunity.
(I rarely go to parties now, mostly I guess because when people ask me what I do, I say 'I don't do being sociable". )
A lot of psychologists point to our difficulties in affective forecasting (knowing in advance how you will feel about something later), but it is not really an easy task to tease out how much of our coming home thinking, "that wasn't so bad," or "that was actually fun!" is post-hoc rationalization and how much was that we were wrong in the first place. By "post-hoc rationalization," I mean making our peace with it--we did, after all, do something we didn't want to do, so we have to then tell ourselves why we did it anyway in some cogent manner. Frequently, for introverts, the error is not in the affective forecasting, but in the post-party affect analysis. We're supremely good at trying to align with our ideals (including coming up with a positive incentive for doing so, like the potential for an opportunity!), but "our ideals" unfortunately often means extroversion, even if we don't step back and notice that part.
Thank you for this article, I really needed to hear this right now.
Glad to help! I think a lot of people feel the same way you do.
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Jennifer Grimes is a research assistant at Wellesley College.
Who says marriage is where desire goes to die?