I'm an introvert.
I've recently been introduced to the term 'ambivert', which is kind of a limbo area between introvert and extrovert. You possess all the introverted qualities of needing a personal bubble and quiet time and preferring to be an observer, but you also occasionally REALLY enjoy being at a bar or a concert or having deep multi-hour conversations.
One thing that rang very true for me was that, even though us ambiverts enjoy talking, engaging in small-talk is very hard and tiresome and riddled with anxiety.
I like rambling. Hence why I blog (and why they sometimes get wordy and carried away.. sorry about that). So I find it hard to keep my feelings contained to short answers and not get in to divulging information that other people really don't care about, or that I don't need to share with someone who used to go to college with my grandparents who I haven't seen in like 10 years.
I begin to feel that small-talk is like lying.
And I have a hard time with that.
"Hi! How are you doing?!"
"Just fine, how about you?" Actually I'm not all that fine, I've been pretty sleep deprived lately. Full of anxiety for unknown reasons. My son's been pretty moody lately so it's kind of wearing us all down. And I just asked how you were because it's habit… I'm still not really remembering your name, though I'm sure I should know it.
"Congratulations by the way!"
"Oh thanks!" Wait, why did you say that… are you referring to me having a kid? That was like 6 years ago...Have I talked to you since then? Did I do something I forgot about? Did I get an award? Oh, wait, you must be talking about taking over the toy store… we'll go with that and hope I'm right
"How is all that going?"
"Pretty great, yeah it's been a lot of fun!" I'm really hoping you're referring to the toy store. And it's actually been pretty stressful lately just trying to keep up with everything. Another reason I've probably been not sleeping properly. There's a lot on my mind.
"And how's little Toby doing?"
"Oh he's pretty good. Smart kid. Growing like a weed" He's fine today, but yesterday he was not fine. not fine at all. He harbours a lot of low self esteem and anxiety that turns to aggression. I'm not sure where it comes from. We manage, but it's tiring to stay one step ahead of it all the time.
"He must be in school by now right? How old is he?"
"He's 6, and actually we're homeschooling" *Braces for potential reactions to 'homeschooling'*
"Yeah, it's going pretty well… we're having fun with it so far" I'm only really homeschooling out of survival. He had a really hard time adjusting to getting up everyday and leaving the house. He's been responding better to homeschooling, but I sometimes feel like he's not getting enough stimulation. Other days he seems to find enough to learn about of his own, so I try to cling to those days and remember that he's 'only' 6.
"Well it was good to see you again! Say hi to your Grandma for me."
"Yeah, will do!" Since I don't really remember who you are, I'm not sure which Grandma you're referring to, and I don't call either of them 'Grandma' so that just makes it more confusing. I'm realizing now I didn't ask you a single question for this entire conversation so it probably seemed like I was a lousy conversationalist. Sorry about that. I'm going to go look really interested in this thing over here so nobody else talks to me and asks me all the same questions and I have to repeat all this over and over and over again.