Let’s Go Read In The Darkroom, They All Said Excitedly
July 17, 2010 5 Comments
One of the problems with being an introvert is that, while I’m not shy, the world really just isn’t set up to make it easy for me to socialize. Socializing scenarios are (quite understandably) set up for and catered towards the needs and preferences of extroverts. So it’s as if I’m a tennis player who could be good on clay, but bylaws in place require that all serious tennis is played on grass courts only.
Take bars and clubs. People go to bars and clubs to socialize. Me, I like the drinking part fine, but I’d do better socializing anywhere else. I gather that to an extrovert, a bar is actually thought to be a good environment for socializing. Not only that but a bar with few people, which is quiet, is ‘dead’ whereas if it is packed with people, and ridiculously noisy, and you can barely stand anywhere without being in someone’s way or someone being in your way, that’s a ‘cool’ place. Now obviously I understand that to some extent this preference just stems from people who are single and want to maximize potential hookup options. Nevertheless this is all baffling and upside-down to me: I would prefer the exact opposite of all of the above. And clubs are even worse, because they will be flooded with pulsating music, and to a first approximation everyone is just standing around like sardines (I know, most of them are ‘dancing’, which as far as I’m concerned is just an obnoxious/inconsiderate form of standing designed to attract mates). It seems that the places that extroverts all want to go to in order to socialize are always like this: packed, uncomfortable, and noisy.
In other words, it’s almost as if they are engineered to handicap and sabotage introverts’ ability to socialize. How am I supposed to socialize if I can’t hear a damn thing anyone is saying? How can I focus on what one person is saying, which I can barely hear to begin with, if everyone else around me is yelling at the same time (and so many distractions, like that guy behind me is trying to get to the bathroom, the bartender needs a credit card, and look at that hot girl over there how distracting, etc)? How can I relax if I have no personal space and am always in someone’s way or someone’s in my way?
Going to a packed noisy club to socialize, for introverts, can make about as much sense as going to a darkroom to read a book, going to a solarium to develop some photos, going to a construction site to enjoy some chamber music, going to a college basketball game to study mathematics, going to the beach to make ice sculptures….it’s bass-ackwards.
So it’s almost perverse (not that it’s anything intentional) that this is the only type of place where extroverts want to go. This is precisely where they think it will be fun to go, and they assume universal agreement. They want to go to the places that will turn out to be the most noisy/crowded (if you suggest somewhere else, somewhere that’s ‘dead’ so that you can at least find somewhere to sit, actually talk, spread out, focus, not be bothered/distracted by other people, etc, it won’t appeal to anyone). And if you don’t want to go, you’re ‘antisocial’. If you do go and struggle, you have bad social skills. And there is no other option. It’s either grass courts, or no tennis.