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.
It has been a while since your post had been published here. However let me express a gratitude Jennifer. I've found myself in your lines and I am going to read these words once in a while to remind me the things you are talking about. Because obviously we keep forgeting...
Thanks again. I beleive you've helped some peole who've needed it.
Thanks so much... i was just now wondering what is wrong with me and whether i was just plain selfish. i always feel apprehension when the conversation starts tending towards, are you free this friday...? i just want to get home and be alone with a laptop game, music or book. it just seems weird to most friends that i would pass up a nice time out for such 'boring' stuff.
Most parties i have attended, i usually find a safe enough place to sit, and just be there with a clock counting down the minutes till i leave in my head.
Again thanks so much, i have saved the article and will probably revise a few times... :)
I'm so glad to know that! It is my hope that this helps, and I'm always pleased to get comments (or the surprising email response I'm honored to receive) about this.
The truth is that when weekends approach, the only thing that's true about time off is that it is your time! You get to spend it however you like, but you only have so much. For a lot of people, that means that they choose to see their friends, because if they have only two nights during which they can do whatever they want, that's how they choose to spend them.
But then there are a whole lot of other people who choose to spend that time doing something that relaxes them or invigorates them in a different way. Not everyone who goes to the store will select the same item. For some people, time off is best spent with a book or learning a new language or going hiking or meditating...
The funny part is that you are more likely to hear from other people about social activities because the people who stay in and don't go out with lots of people also don't communicate with lots of people that they're staying in! Trust me, you're far from alone in this preference.
You have to do whatever works for you, not what works for someone else. It's your time to spend as you choose!
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Jennifer Grimes is a research assistant at Wellesley College.
It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.