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Not So Social Butterfly

Heidi Shenk

I've got to let you all in on a little something. Most of you don't know this. I don't blame you, I'm pretty good at keeping it a secret. Even some of our closest friends don't know. I am an introvert. A complete introvert. If I could have my way, I'd be quite content to spend time by myself or just with Andrew most days. I'm not so lucky though.

Andrew is an extrovert. And when I say extrovert, I mean the kind of person that just spent an hour and a half talking to the neighbor across the street after we got back from our walk with Lilah last night. The kind of person that plans social events with other people seven out of ten days in a row. Yes, this happened once. I thought it was never going to end. It finally did when I begged Andrew to make it stop. I think I may have said something like, "I just want to sit in my house and not do anything and not have to talk to anyone for just one day."

Most of our friends don't even know this about me. While watching one of Andrew's softball games about a year ago, I was sitting off to the side away from others. A good friend of ours came up to me and said, "Heidi! How are you? Why don't you come over and hang out with everyone?" I replied, "I'm kind of an introvert and feeling anti-social." He responded, "No you're not! What are you talking about?" When he realized I was serious and it wasn't a joke, he couldn't believe it. This is the kind of thing that happens when you're engaged to an extrovert. If it weren't for Andrew and his extroverted ways, people would never know that I'm an introvert.

I got to thinking about this the other day because of something that happened at a softball game the other night. I got heckled for not being able to catch a bad throw to first base for what seemed like the five millionth time this season (yes, we have a crazy armed shortstop that everyone knows can get wild, so it really wasn't my fault). It was in good fun as always, but I shut down. I quit playing for the rest of the game and decided I didn't want anything to do with softball for the rest of the season. (See number two on the list above.)

To me, it was a complete blow to my confidence to have someone embarrass me that way. Andrew didn't get it. In fact, I think he thought I was crazy for not wanting to play and almost breaking down in tears about it later that night. Sometimes I have to remind even him. I am an introvert. Don't embarrass me or give me a hard time in front of 20 other people. I'm not extroverted enough to let it blow over or come up with a good comeback to say back to the heckler.

Last week I wanted to get out of the house. I don't mind going out. In fact, I love getting out of the house and doing things if it's just me and Andrew. Low key, no stress, little socialization with others. Andrew had a list of restaurants that he had in mind, but it took me an hour to get ready because I needed to know what I was getting into. So after googling the menus of each of the places, I was good to go. (See number six. I need to know in advance what is happening if I'm going to a new place that I'm unfamiliar with.)

I'm sure I could come up with a situation for each of those items on the list, but you get the point. Some people just need time or more private interactions. I think that is one of the reasons why I like social media as much as I do. I'm still able to communicate with people, but I don't have to interact in the same way. I'm able to have that distance that I need from people while still having the community aspect.

I'm not the person that is going to introduce myself to others at social gatherings. Andrew is terrible at forgetting to introduce me to people he knows because he's usually the first to introduce himself to people he doesn't know. Extrovert, exhibit #427. This is one thing that irks me most about our complete polar opposite personalities. So extroverts out there, if you have a partner that is introverted, do them a favor and remember to introduce them so they don't dig themselves further into an anti-social hole of standing there awkwardly with nothing to say. And by all means, don't leave them standing there after you haven't introduced them while you go to get another drink, only to get sucked into another extroverted twenty minute conversation with someone else. Eeeek! Introvert's nightmare right there! One that I've lived through all too often!

And lastly, if you know me in person and are happening to read this, next time you're at my house for a social function or to visit and I take off to a different room to read a book, hop on the computer, or work in my studio, don't take offense. I don't hate you. I just need a break.

Now what about you guys? Introvert or extrovert?

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