HAILEYSTONES| Social Introverts Unite

PEOPLE are often surprised that, when I was a kid — from the ages of five to eleven — I barely spoke. I tested a ten out of ten in every psychological test I was given in grade school, except for “interpersonal”.  My mother was concerned because I never had any friends that I brought home to play with me. She breathed a huge sigh of relief when I finally met my first best friend, Tiffany. The only reason why we became initially close was because we were classmates, neighbors, and went to the same carpool.

High school was a little better, but not much has changed. I just had more friends, so people saw me talking more. I learned firsthand the effects of talking smack and judging others before knowing them. Teenagers can be really cruel.

I tried to not let that happen in college, and I think I succeeded. People mostly think of communication majors as outgoing, but some of the most introverted people I know are from my major. This is why I suck at production work, but I do really well if it’s a theory or writing class.

Ask me to write anything, from a press release to a full-blown thesis, and I can make it happen. I always end up being the go-to girl in my class for notes and editing and whatnot. However, having to work with audio and video editing makes me dizzy.

I have no eye for camera angles, blocking, lighting, or color. What an “okay” picture looks like to me would be unacceptable in a professional work environment. I submitted Facebook-quality pictures for our photography class, and when they were all printed out, I still couldn’t tell the difference.

What makes it worse is that I can’t draw, either. I’ve been keeping a journal for nearly half my life, and my handwriting has barely improved. My boyfriend says my handwriting is “pretty to look at, but hard to read”. I guess that speaks a lot about how I really deal with things.

In my jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none major, I end up falling flat, and it’s biting me in the behind. I guess it’s true, then, that I’m not the most visual person in the world. I read a lot, which is sort of why I prefer being inside my head most of the time.

It takes a lot of effort for me to be separated from my own thoughts, and actually have to mingle with people. I am still awkward around people that I’ve known for years. It’s not that I won’t talk with people — heck, all my close friends berate me for being loud — but when I’m not around people I’m comfortable with, I’m about as noisy as a wing-backed armchair. I’m learning not to do that, but old habits die hard.

It’s so hard when you want to keep your life mostly private in a culture where extroversion and revealing details of your personal life is so in vogue. Our society is so gossipy nowadays, perhaps more. Everything from drug busts to pregnancy reveals to the color of their kitchen walls is scrutinized. Heck, entire shows are dedicated to just following people around and doing their daily lives. We volunteer to find love and get married on television, for the world to see.

So, I guess, this is why I fight against that. It’s so hard to try and be social when deep down you just want to sit in a corner and read, or just observe and write about it later. People are so judgmental nowadays, but I can’t help but think that this is because we invite people to be critical of us. I don’t want that to happen to me, and this is why I’m scared of oversharing. Sometimes we just have to shut up, but until then, I’m just going to sit here and write . . . And probably work on my production skills.

Posted in Opinion