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It’s not easy being an introvert

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Hi, my name is James, and I’m an introvert.

Writers, it seems, tend to be on the introverted side. I guess it is easier for us to deal with all the voices in our heads more than we can deal with flesh and blood people. (I’ve often said that writers write as a form of psychotherapy.) We can (usually) get our characters to behave the way we want them to behave. Unless they don’t, then they can be a pain in the ass, in which case it’s easy enough to kill them off. I heard somewhere J Michael Straczynski has said he killed off the character Kosh in Babylon 5 because the character was being a problem and not co-operating.

A friend of mine has called me an ‘introvert with social skills.’ If you meet me out in the world, you’d probably never guess I’m an introvert. I’ve spent the last 27 years trying to learn how to deal with people face-to-face. If you’ve ever seen the program The Big Bang Theory (, I used to be a lot like Sheldon. Now, I’m probably more like Leonard. I can carry on conversations, engage in small talk, sometimes make jokes, and get along with folks. You know, like extroverts do.

But it takes a toll. The longer it goes it, the more likely I am to retreat from the world for a longer time before being able to deal with people again. A one to two hour meeting is about as much as I can handle. Or being in a crowd, like at a fair or event, around a mass of people, is draining as well.

I’m more than happy to spend time by myself without interacting with others for several days at a time. I get small interactions if I have to go out to a store or run an errand, and that is more than enough to keep my social interactions meter filled.

My favorite pastimes include reading (of course), writing, and pursuing other interests (currently I’ve been on an AI kick.) I’ve dabbled with drawing, electronics, making, and every now and again I think about taking up the ukulele, which is probably the only musical instrument on the planet I might have a shot at not being totally sucky when playing.

Oddly enough, I have no problems with public speaking, which is one of the highest reported phobias on the planet. People don’t like getting in front of a group of people and talking. I’m not sure what that’s about, so if someone out there would care to enlighten me, leave a comment and let me know.

Talking in front of people is actually easier for me than dealing with one or two people face-to-face. It’s not like I’m having to directly interact with anyone if I’m ‘on stage’. I can speak, and deliver whatever message, and leave (unless there’s a Q&A session) so I’m not having to field a lot of questions all at once. Presidential press conferences where everyone is shouting questions at you all at once would drive me nuts.

Online meetings are also a little easier. I guess there’s a kind of distancing (no pun intended) in dealing with a person on a screen instead of having to deal with them face-to-face. Not sure what exactly is at play here. I’m more comfortable not having to be in the presence of another person. The tiny person on the screen is somehow less real? Not sure how to put it. I’m mean, of course they are a real person, but they lack the presence(?) of being in proximity to you. Not sure how to describe it.

I’ve met other business people who have the same traits I do. They don’t like being around other people, and tend to work by themselves. We get along great, because we tend to have short interactions, and we just seem to click. Takes one to know one?

Anyway, if you ever meet me out in the ‘real world’ just keep in mind that there is a limit to how much interaction I can do. And don’t get offended if I reach my limit and have to leave. It’s not you, it’s me, trying to preserve what little sanity I have left. Thanks for understanding.

If you liked this look into the way my mind works, why not buy me a chocolate chip cookie through my Ko-Fi page?

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