On Relationships

I sometimes describe myself as relationally crippled. When it comes to enjoying social relationships with my fellow creatures, I see myself as pretty much a failure. I usually choose watching others over closely engaging with them.  

Since many people tend to overreact after hearing opinions that challenge theirs, I try to sidestep topics that tempt me to play devil's advocate. I yearn for sincere conversations but loath interactions that might devolve into regretful deprecations. I have even less interest in casual chit-chat. 

Introverts crave meaning so party chitchat feels like sandpaper to our psyche. ~ Diane Cameron

It seems that most of the world is trying to avoid solitude by stimulating every waking moment with noise, crowds and activity. I spend most days alone, but I never feel lonely. I quite like being alone. I enjoy solitude. While in a rare social mood I openly shared some of my introspections. The person I was attempting to engage quickly let me know that "thinking" gave him a headache. I politely let the conversation die. I've had plenty of headaches, but I don't recall ever assigning the cause of any pain to contemplation. Some form of this scenario has played out for me too many times to count. My experience is that serious conversations are not particularly popular with most people. So, I've learned to be somewhat enigmatic.  

[Introverts] listen more than they talk, think before they speak, and often feel as if they express themselves better in writing than in conversation. They tend to dislike conflict. Many have a horror for small talk, but enjoy deep discussions. ~ Susan Cain

As a child I'd spend Saturdays out in the woods with my dog and a book. I enjoyed the quiet serenity of communing with my own and various authors' thoughts (through their written words).  I never returned home without feeling I'd gained something valuable. Even today those hours spent alone comprise some of my warmest memories. When I was a little older I'd ride my motorcycle into the countryside, park near some farmer's field and listen for a long time to the sounds of solitude. 

Nothing, to my way of thinking, is a better proof of a well ordered mind than a man’s ability to stop just where he is and pass some time in his own company. ~ Seneca

I spent many years as a musician, and one of the primary requirements for my success in that field was the ability to spend untold hours alone, practicing my craft. Between extended solitary practice sessions I was at the gym exercising or outside running and bicycling. While performing on stage there wasn't much conversation with others going on either. I have a feeling that many creative people (performers, writers, artists, inventors, etc.) lean toward introversion. Else how could they so willingly embrace the isolation? 

Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone—that is the secret of invention: be alone, that is when ideas are born. ~ Nikola Tesla

Right at this present moment my dog is laying quietly beside me and all I hear outside my window are birds singing over distant train and traffic sounds. I have read that introverts crave seclusion to recharge. My battery must be perpetually low.

I don't really want to change my personality. I quite like it the way it is. However, I do realize that people do not necessarily understand this part of me. I once horrified my mother by telling her I believed I was introverted. "You can change! You can become extroverted if you try. You don't have to live like that." 

What a commentary on our civilization, when being alone is considered suspect; when one has to apologize for it, make excuses, hide the fact that one practices it like a secret vice! ~  Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I'm sure that extroverted people are generally content with their personalities. If I could share one thing with my extroverted associates it would be that although my personality may be more inwardly directed than theirs, my personality is none-the-less normal. 

 Still though, as long as most people are under the impression that extroversion is preferable, I'll just continue to describe myself as relationally crippled.  It's an easier sell. 

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