Running on Social Fumes

I’ve always been a naturally introverted person. I get the most peace and satisfaction out of doing quiet “smaller group” activities/hobbies with close friends/loved ones (or even by myself) than I do in mass crowds of people I don’t know very well in loud/chaotic environments that I’m not quite familiar with.

This is not to say that I am not an open-minded person and that I do not try new things/experiences or enjoy meeting new people, I just approach it all a little differently than I think I should. Somewhat cautiously at times.

For instance, I truly believe that I’ve learned in my 30+ years of life that there are two very prominent versions of me (with subcategories of course). I touch on those subcategories here, but in a nutshell, there is the true introverted me and then there is the “pretending to be extroverted” me. I’ve taken the “test” and while I’m fairly close to the center (having both introverted and extroverted qualities), I feel more natural as an introvert and I’m reminded of this in extended situations where I am unable to “recharge” appropriately.

For example, last week I was on a business trip for the entire week attending a conference. Typically when I travel for work I usually build in one “solo day” (usually the day before business or day after business has ended) where I explore whatever city I’m in and gather myself prior to (or after) dealing with an extremely long duration of social interaction. I love this alone time. Doing this usually helps to reprogram my mind so that I appear “put together” and “well rested”. Granted, most of the people who attend the conference I went to last week are colleagues of mine (scattered across the country) in the field that “I know”, but it’s still draining to spend all day networking, collaborating and doing dinner/drinks to chit-chat about our lives outside of the office. I can lay on the charm decently enough I believe, as I’ve spent nearly a decade working on this “skill”.  I laugh and smile constantly, compliment those in my presence, act genuinely concerned or interested in news (both good and bad) they care to share and I always wish them the best with all of their endeavors (and I mostly mean it). On business trips though–unlike an actual 8 hour work day, there is very little “off time”. From sun up to sun down there is consistent interaction and it’s draining. I can usually keep the energized extroverted version of me going for a good little while until I abruptly hit a wall and run out of gas.  I can recall feeling somewhat “energized” earlier in the week and even earlier parts of each day, but towards the end of the week I had very little drive or motivation to be overly friendly and talkative and really just wanted to be alone. It was like the social side of my brain had gone on a hiatus. I remember attempting to have a quiet breakfast in the hotel on my last day of the trip, only to be met one after the other with an eventual table FULL of my colleagues who didn’t want me to have breakfast alone.

But that was the point.

It took me nearly a day after returning home to gather myself enough to jump back into my routine and even in making plans with my boyfriend, I opted for the day after my return and for a quiet evening “in” (as opposed to us “going out”). Luckily my very sweet boyfriend (mostly) understands this and “gets me” as he is also an introverted-at-times-pretending-to-be-extroverted, as well. Having my solo time the day I arrived home and then our lax 1-on-1 time “in” really helped me recharge socially in order to take on my week. It’s like I gained an extra boost of energy…that will later be depleted.

Speaking of the boyfriend and being social, I’m in this continuous cycle of basically meeting everyone in his life (which is very flattering, but at times overwhelming). I’ve met his best friends, his friend-friends, his co-workers, his boss, neighbors, S.O.s of his friends, old friends, new friends, acquaintances… and so on and soon to be his family (this weekend). As I mentioned a few weeks back, we’re heading to his best friend’s wedding (that he’s in) this weekend and because the wedding is in the town he “sort of” grew up in, we’re staying with his family.

nervous

While in the back of my mind I’ve sort of seen this as kinda being a “big deal”, the idea of it all really hit home while at his best friend’s soon-to-be-bride’s impromptu bachelorette gathering (I won’t go into detail about how last-minute and highly unorganized this was and how it almost interfered with our planned night in time). I sat there nursing a beer and chatting with the ladies (you know, “making nice”) because I want to be a good girlfriend and genuinely be warm and friendly to the people in his life. They are all either married, engaged or in longish-term relationships with friends of his.

They talked about the wedding and all of the activities in between and how much fun it will be! And how as a group, we were going to do all of these *really* fun things! All I could think of how the constant “togetherness” of being around all of his friends (and then family during times where we’re NOT doing wedding activities) was going to be exhausting. Like really exhausting. Fun, but the kind of exhaustion that may require some down time when I return home. I thought about how the only “down time” I’d have to really “recharge” would be the drive there and back where we’d have a few hours of just “us” time..but NOPE! Apparently as of today an out-of-town college buddy of his (who I have not met yet)  will be joining us on this journey to the wedding so now even the car ride over and back will involve, “putting on the extroverted charm so that I don’t appear cold or distant”, social interaction.

Jesus lord.

This week I can’t even mentally prepare for all of that togetherness (for this weekend) because he wants me to meet old high school buddies of his that are in town this evening and more co-workers on Wednesday (I feel like when we started dating he didn’t even regularly hangout with THIS many people–wtf) And I can’t say no…what kind of girlfriend would I be (maybe a more socially energized one)?

Through all of this potentially social, stressful and draining hoo-ha, the one silver lining here is something his best friend’s wife told me on Saturday during our “girls afternoon out” that sort of put all of this into perspective:

I’ve never seen — so happy before and I’ve known him and my husband since college. Whenever I’m around you two, you have this really strong connection and I can tell you are both genuinely crazy about each other. It’s sweet. I remember watching the two of you interact a few weeks ago at dinner and it was THE sweetest thing. You guys just “get” each other and it seems like you’ve been together years.

He’s also very protective of his family and even — has only met his dad ONCE (in passing) and they’ve been best friends for like a decade! The fact that he’s intentionally taking you to MEET his family and stay with them is a big deal (to him).

We think the absolute world of you and we’re so happy that you two are together!

No pressure, right?

crazy rich asian gif.gif

I hope this weekend doesn’t turn out like Crazy Rich Asians.

 

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Bittersweet(ness)

I’ve admittedly been fairly distracted and occupied over the past month or so with work, friends and family obligations. I’ve found that this has started to make dating a tad more difficult as I just don’t have the same amount of free time as I did back over the winter/early spring. Not to mention, my desires and priorities have shifted over the last few months. Nevertheless, I haven’t quite kicked BF into oblivion just yet. I don’t believe me being busy is reason enough to be rude, dismissive or unresponsive to him, because aside from being a shit texter, he hasn’t really done anything wrong. He’s a nice guy. We’re just becoming more and more out of sync and emotionally disconnected.

Through talking, we decided to set aside time for a date for late last week. Work/life has been chaotically busy in both of our worlds (pulling longer hours, training co-workers, working on projects, road trips, etc), so I offered to invite him over for dinner. I’m not a fan of making dinner (and I really didn’t have time to) , but I figured it was a nice gesture and would give us a chance to catch up with minimal distractions. Plus, he pays for everything all the time and I wanted to do him the honor of not having to pay for anything. I wanted to do something nice for him. It makes me feel uncomfortable that he literally pays for everything we do and some of the things we’ve done have not been cheap.

He came over straight after work (around 8–he ended up getting off late) looking really run down and exhausted, but immediately embraced me once he stepped inside. I shamelessly love how I have to stand on my tiptoes each time we kiss, because he’s so tall (I’m 5’6 and some change, so I’m not necessarily short either).

We talked about our days (and well, weeks) as I wrapped up the finishing touches on dinner in my kitchen. I decided to make BBQ sliders as an ode to his southern heritage, since he’s lived here all his life. He seemed to be excited and told me about the “Three types of NC BBQ” there were. Did you know there were three? Because I certainly didn’t…

He graciously allowed me to make my plate of food first (even though as the cook, I’ve always believed that your GUESTS should eat first), asked me to sit down and told me he’d bring me a drink because he knew I had, had a long day and wanted me to relax. This makes the second time he’s borderline hosted me in my own home…

I halfway expected him to speed eat through dinner, initiate sex and abruptly call it a night and check off an obligation (just to say he stopped by), but he actually took his time, engaged in conversation and really spent genuine quality time with me. Of course, between our steady conversations, he made himself a second and third plate of food, but he’s like 6’3, fairly muscular and had actually been overseeing a major renovation project all day, so he was understandably starving.

After we finished eating, he gently cuddled me close and we continued to mindlessly watch tv for at least another two hours. His ability to shed a humorous light on the most mundane and at times ridiculous things is one of my favorite things about him, but is equally concerning, because it’s the only mood he’s ever in…if you were to ask me what motivates him in life or what makes him upset, I could probably make an educated guess (based on conversations we’ve had or the few preferences he has made known) but I wouldn’t be confident that those things are what really makes him tick as a person. Perhaps he’s not even aware of what makes him tick?

BF has the ability to make me laugh, even when I’m so tired or irritable that I want to curl up in a ball and cry. His sense of humor melts away my nervous energy and anxiety. He won major brownie points on our first date by basically turning our walk through the history museum into a comedy special. He was so funny and I really enjoyed myself in his presence. It was easy to shake the first date jitters. I just kind of wish my enthusiasm for getting to know him hadn’t stalled over the last few months, but I think part of that is coming from my assumption that his approach should be cookie cutter.

As we continued to talk, he alluded to realizing he’s been a bit more slower in his responses and that he had been burning the candle at both ends in regards to work because (like me), it’s a busy time of year at work and he (at times) really just wants to shut his phone off so his job will stop calling/texting him after hours. I guess I understand that and I do appreciate that he’s remained in touch (even if there are days where we may exchange one or two messages–which yes, some of that has been on me as well) and has still made time for us to get together. While to me, I may at times find his efforts “lacking”, I sincerely do believe he’s at least sort of attempting to still try…well, most days, but I can tell our communication has at times become obligatory and strained.

He stayed until a quarter til’ midnight before announcing his departure (and needing to get home to feed his dog). When I invited him over for dinner, I halfway expected him to agree to it only because of the benefit of physical intimacy, but to my surprise, he seemed more interested in talking and simply spending time together, which was awesome.

Even with a lovely dinner in, I still know in my gut this whirlwind of a ride is coming to an end. This realization at first caused be a bit of anxiety, but I’ve had some time to settle into reality and realize that while we have a lot of fun together, the casualness of our relationship can’t sustain itself for too much longer and we aren’t necessarily compatible for anything serious/long term. I don’t find myself interested him romantically or at least as romantically as I feel like I should at this point. I like him for really shallow reasons. I’ve come to the realization that I need a bit more stability in my life and perhaps he does too or maybe he prefers to keep everyone at an emotional distance as to not develop an intimate connection and that’s ok, but not something I want to entertain forever and always. Being with someone that doesn’t show vulnerability is difficult. Being physically intimate with someone for 4 or 5 months without even knowing anything deeply personal about them really bothers me.  When I met him, I was hellbent on not getting attached and it was easy for a month or two because I was “broken”. I was essentially, here for a good time, not a long time!, but I’ve healed, grown up and shifted my needs. I need someone that is not afraid of being all spectrum of who they really are, good, bad and otherwise.

We haven’t really spoken now in about a day or so and while that’s not entirely unusual (as of late), I know that’s probably it. Our interaction has run its course. We really don’t have a great deal else to say to one another and we’re both ridiculously busy with work right now (and me, also with my personal life/crises). Part of me feels the need for neat and organized “closure” (because I’m not a fan of dropping communication with someone who I’ve been seeing for 4 or 5 months just like that), but I don’t know if his sentiments are the same in regards to me. Perhaps I could just easily be disregarded? Maybe…

I like to believe that he’s genuinely a better person than that.

I have to decide how I want to proceed and handle this. The kicker is that I’m not even overly upset about it.

I think part of this need for an ending came from an “let’s better our lives” heart to heart I had with some friends this past weekend, but more on that in a separate post…

I Have DF

You ever notice that when you’re not “actively” looking to find that special someone, it kind of just happens by chance ? The few times in life where I’ve been lucky enough to find my special someone (at least for that time period) has come when I’ve pretty much taken the blood, sweat and tears out of stressing about it and just focused on myself and what truly makes me happy. Last year for instance, I was about as happy as I’ve been in a while (solo) and wasn’t actively looking for anyone and someone wonderful waltzed into my life. Well, maybe he slid, moon walked or two-stepped, possibly even tripped over a curb, can’t remember…point is, I’m getting to that stage in dating where I’m exhausted and the simple act of dating is sucking me dry of energy.  Read More