Social Comfort Zones

I’m an introvert.  Totally.  I can talk to anyone about subjects I’m comfortable with, and I can talk to those I’m comfortable with about any subject.  But new people and new subjects, I’m a little lost.

Being an introvert brings about lots of loneliness.  For several reasons.  The most obvious, it’s hard to make friends when you are quiet and don’t like to put yourself out there.  Some of the less obvious.  It’s hard to keep friends you make because social situations drain you.  Literally – I have to recover from social situations, even with my favorite people – because the amount of energy I have to put into being social is high.  It’s not that I don’t want to be social – it’s just that it’s like running a marathon for me.  So it’s not something I do as often as most outgoing people do.  Therefore, maintaining friendships is really difficult when you don’t want to be social too much.  Third, learning about new subjects or talking to people who are different from what you are used to is like doing an ironman – so it’s really, really hard to meet new people.  Talking about things I’m not used to talking about is crazy hard.  So if you put yourself out there, and you have nothing in common, but still like the person, it’s really hard for me to get to know them just out of the shear overwhelmingness I feel when I have to come up with unfamiliar conversation.

Most people think if you are an introvert, you don’t want to be around people and you never feel loneliness.  And this is simply not true.  It’s like we are fighting an internal battle over our own nature of being an introvert versus the human nature of needing to be around other people.  It’s a rough ride – but we do need people in our lives.

So this past weekend I tried out a Moms Book Club.  I was greeted by some very bold personalities while I was there.  I guess my internal picture of the book club was of less boisterous people, but boy was I wrong.  And being an introvert surrounded by extroverts – well, can you say awkward?  While they were all very pleasant and friendly, I maybe said 2 sentences the 1 hour and 15 minutes I was there.  It got so awkward I had to leave early.  I just felt like I was sitting in on other people’s conversations.

But you know what, even if I didn’t find my soul sister there, at least I tried.  I have to say I’m a little disappointed it didn’t go as I hoped, but I’m more proud of myself for going.  And I am even more proud of myself that I haven’t ruled out going again.  So yay for stepping out of your comfort zones – sometimes it doesn’t go as planned or thought, but you still can learn so much from just taking the step.

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The google spiral

I have to say, anxiety and google do not mix.

I’ve always had a bit of anxiety.  When I was a kid, it was more of a social anxiety.  As I’ve aged, I’ve learned techniques to deal with social anxiety.  But as I learn to deal with one type of anxiety, another one rears it’s ugly head.  After social anxiety came choosing a career path anxiety, after that came living on my own anxiety, etc. etc. so and so on.

Lately, as I’m settled in my job and my personal life, a new anxiety has popped up.  Anxiety of strange medical conditions.

Let me preface this by saying I am the person who has weird things happen to them – whether personally or medically.

Just as an example, I have a rare food allergy – it’s a dietary nickel allergy.  Yes, I am very allergic to the metal nickel and can not wear jewelry, watches, etc with nickel in it.  And that has turned into a food allergy.  Nickel is a natural compound found in the soil, and so it is absorbed by food that grows in the soil.  Those foods with a naturally high nickel content cause me to have an allergic reaction.  It’s crazy – it’s rare – and I have it.

So when you have a kid, your anxiety naturally raises for the health and wellbeing of your child.  Add that on to an already anxiety-prone personality, and things can get a little out of control.

I’ve been spending a ton of time googling things that I’m worried about with my son.  I won’t go into specifics, because it’s just a worry of mine.  No medical professional has said anything about it – and when I talk to others they don’t agree with me.  So most likely (and hopefully) it’s just my anxious mind.

The other day, I was “multi-tasking” as many people do.  I was cooking some food for my son for the week – which is a lot of boiling frozen veggies – while googling away on the topic of my concern.  While in the throws of my vicious google circle – a plastic slotted spoon had fallen into the flame on my gas stove.  And I was so caught up in my obsession that I didn’t notice until most of the spoon had melted away on the stove, the pot, the pot lid, etc.

I had a mini-breakdown as I was taking all the melted plastic covered kitchen supplies outside to get the fumes/smell out of my home.  I called my husband and lost it.  Not my finest moment at all.

So since then I’ve sworn off google for this topic.  Because really – is google going to help me solve this problem (if it is one)?  Is google going to prevent this from being a problem (if it is?)  No.  Is google going to make me miss out on some precious moments with my son?  Is google going to make my life more chaotic than it needs to be?  Yes.

So from now on, Google is off limits for topics that can send me into a worry-spiral.  It is to be used for research for work, shopping, email and fun items only!