Social Interaction is Draining

I realized something today: Interacting with people is very draining!

That’s not to say that interacting with people is a bad thing. Not at all! I mean, it is good to have human interaction sometimes. We all know this.

I’ve read a bunch of stuff about introverts over the past few months and I know that I am an introvert. I may have a few extroverted qualities, but I’m definitely, mostly introverted.

One of the things that I stuck with me was that for introverts, social engagements can be very exhausting and we need time to recharge. I’d known this to be true of myself before, but almost wasn’t entirely aware of it. Weird, I know. For some reason I didn’t really fully grasp it. Until today.

Today was my first real “group” setting since my psychiatrist told me that I have social anxiety, so I was more aware of my thoughts and the moments where I was anxious and wanted to leave or when I was isolating myself because I just didn’t want to interact with people.

That doesn’t mean I handled it any better than usual. I was just more aware of it.

This gathering was mainly with family, and I am generally more comfortable about family, but I still get anxious no matter who it is.

Some reasons I struggle with social interaction:

  1. I constantly worry about what others are thinking about me and and often think that they are thinking negative things about me. This is what, in CBT, they call the “mind reading” cognitive distortion. I know logically that they more than likely are not thinking these things, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking about it.
  2. Small talk makes me uncomfortable. I’m no good at it. It seems pointless to me. There’s no benefit to it, except that it makes to appear more friendly. I don’t care about appearing friendly.
  3. I have a hard time keeping up with a conversation when there are others happening at the same time. Part of it is, when there is a lot of background noise, I have a difficult time hearing the person next to me speaking. This is part of why I hate bars and restaurants. I am also, generally extremely aware of what is happening around me. Whenever I see people completely oblivious to their surroundings. It completely baffles me. But when there are 6 people sitting together, there is bound to be at least two conversations happening at once, and while everyone else is focussed on the conversation they are contributing to, I am hearing each conversation at equal level, and don’t know how to contribute to either. Sometimes, it’s not so bad and I can follow both, but just won’t contribute. Other times, I’m trying to be a part of one, but am completely unable to contribute due to the fact that I cannot tune out the other conversation.
  4. I often feel I have nothing useful to contribute. People often tell me that I’m smart or bright or whatever, but I don’t feel that I am. I find quite often that people say words that I really don’t know the meaning of, and when I try to say something meaningful, I don’t think I sound all that intelligent because I stick to simple, common words. Also, even when I find a conversation very interesting, I tend not to say anything because even though I may have an opinion or emotional reaction to something, I don’t know how to put my thoughts and feelings into words that can be expressed coherently. Or sometimes, when people encourage (or force) me to contribute to a conversation, I don’t have an opinion either way or any real emotional connection to the conversation, even though I find it interesting, and then I just don’t know what to say and I feel like that makes me look like an idiot. I like listening. Not contributing. Unless it’s something I am passionate about and know a lot about. Then all bets are off.

Today, we had about 13 people (including myself) in the house. All family. And my family is always fun.

The difference this time I think is that it was in my house, rather than someone else’s, which means I didn’t have the drive home to wind down from everything.

Once everyone left, I sat down at my computer with the intention of doing some work, but I couldn’t. I was struggling to focus. My posture was horrific, no matter how many times I tried correcting it.

My whole body just wanted to curl up and go to sleep.

I didn’t want to talk to anyone, I didn’t want to do anything.

I may as well have spent the entire day walking around town, the way my body feels right now.

Even now, trying to write this, I keep getting distracted and tempted to just leave it and go to bed. But I have 9 draft posts sitting in my blog because I have a sudden, random thought I want to write about but can’t focus long enough to finish it. And by the time I remember it’s there, I don’t remember what point I was trying to make, so I don’t even attempt to finish it, and the posts sit there for months. I’ve probably deleted at least 50 posts like that since I started this blog. So I was very determined to get this one out.

So, now that I got all that out, I am going to do go do what my body has been begging for for the past 3 hours: go to bed!

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