weeknotes #36: introvert burnout and kindness

I sort of get bursts of motivation to write again, but sometimes it feels like complaining. I am trying to discern the difference between venting and complaining. Complaining is unhealthy and constant, whilst venting is healthier and not so constant. It’s a way to let off steam. I find myself returning to my blog as I’m coming out of a slump, or out of a period of burnout. This time, my burnout comes from more socialising and hanging out than my capacity allows, and I wouldn’t be lying if I said a few conversations triggered me during Friday social Zoom chats. But I won’t go there.

I think about my capacity to socialise, especially as an introverted person. One day last week I popped into the office for an important presentation, and then stayed around to chat to some people I’d never properly chatted to before, and some people I had not spoken to in a while. You know, remote work and all. I ended up staying until 9:40pm, which for me is an incredible feat. I got pretty tired, but I think what kept me going was conversing in small groups rather than large ones. And I have to admit, I was on some kind of small high from having valuable conversations with people… and I get pretty emotional when I am alone immediately after connecting with people, so it’s almost like I was dragging out my socialising to avoid going home and feeling upset from the sudden disconnect. Look, I get like that. It’s the best way I can explain it. 😅

A duck and three ducklings in a man-made pond.
Reckon these ducks are introverted or extroverted?

It is exhausting socialising with people, but I don’t regret it most of the time. Even though I reach my capacity, I don’t regret having conversations with people. I usually up and leave if I don’t think I’m getting value out of socialising. 😛

These days I’m trying to do far, far better at this notion of speaking to strangers and making small talk that isn’t awkward. I generally, honestly, just want to appear like a more approachable person (discounting the guy who approached me and asked me out on a date the other day). It’s not that I’m insecure about myself, but even though I don’t have “resting bitch face”, I think that I appear reserved and in my own world a lot of the time, and maybe just a little bit cold, or too busy to bother with anyone else. I am attempting to appear more friendly because I want to be that way.

Where is this coming from? I’m not sure. But my friend Pauline, an extroverted, outgoing person, has often inspired me to sometimes take my conversations to a tiny step further than just a hello. I want my ‘how are you’s to feel like they came from a place of authenticity and not just tumbling out of my mouth because that’s the kind of greeting we say on the daily. I want my conversations to be free of me saying “Hi, I would like x” completely over someone’s “Hi, how are you?” and actually ask “How are you?” back.

This might all sound banal as fuck, but I’m telling you, it makes a difference when we take our time in our conversations with people, even conversations with people who are meant to be serving us.

The other day we parked in our designated parking spot in our apartment block, returning home after a somewhat long day. Our neighbouring parking buddy was not our neighbour on our floor, so we didn’t know who they were, but they had left the door on the driver’s side completely open. It was dead quiet, 10:00pm and no one around. We assumed they must have been in a hurry and forgot, but decided to call their apartment from the lobby and let them know. I spoke into the intercom “hi, I’m sorry to call so late, but…” and continued to explain the situation, “I’m not sure if you know, but your driver door is open”.

“Oh, really? Thank you so much, I really appreciate it.”

I guess what I’m saying is that sure, it takes a little bit of effort to be nicer, but it doesn’t take a lot of effort to be a kind person. It takes effort for me as an introvert to socialise, but I won’t hate you for talking to me. 😛 I like having meaningful conversations with people.

Anyway, I’m still pretty exhausted and am trying to be kind to myself because I think I haven’t fully recovered from socialising. Funny how that shirt burns you out. The joys of being an introvert.

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Allistic people are something else 😂 I don’t know if “How are you?” hits different in other countries as is less of a rhetorical formality, but I prefer people just get to the point and, if they want to, they’ll tell me about something. That’s how I communicate, as well as LOADS of autistic people, and it’s just…efficient AF.

I feel you on the socializing! I LOVE socializing with people I know and have a tendency to drag conversations on as long as I can, but at the same time, I’m exhausted and it used up SO MUCH of my energy that is going to take away from my ability to do other things.

Since you’re often going to conferences and presenting, I forget you’re an introvert, too.

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