The title of this post is a homage of sorts to an @UberFacts tweet I’d seen yesterday:
It takes 4 seconds for a silence to become awkward.
Just to make things clear: I don’t believe silences are awkward. In fact, there’s been many a social occasion wherein I preferred to stay silent — I never said a word. The moment I opened my mouth, disaster struck. But not because of me. It was because of the people who talked to me that led to me opening my mouth and saying things they wanted me to say, that they took differently on purpose. Not that I cared. I still would’ve preferred I didn’t speak at all.
Now, there are social events for which the idea of making a lot of noise is welcome to me. Typically, these would be gatherings with friends. My usual friendly gathering is not too small, not too big — say, a cluster of four or five people? (See — size is relative.) It’s usually held at a nearby place, whether outdoor or indoor — sometimes at another friend’s house, occasionally at my own — and is endorsed by the host’s parents. There’s no drinking, except when there’s milk tea (LOL — the only alcohol we ever have is in food and therefore in non-intoxicating quantities), and the only agenda is for us to get together and kid around and, of course, talk about things that would otherwise be perceived as ”sensitive” — then again, perception is relative to society, and who cares about society when you’re friends?
Oh, and another thing about our group: we’re not your typical stick-together-everyday-’til-you-start-looking-alike circle of friends, because for one, we’re taking a variety of courses. We don’t get to see each other every day. But we’re close. Close as heck. And when we do get together, hell breaks loose and all barriers come down. In a good way, of course. No wonder we’ve known each other for the past 10 years or so. The longest? 13-ish years. Some of them have known each other since they were in nursery school.
I wish all friendships were this way. Then again, I suppose time has a good way of letting you know who your true friends are and who are just there because… they’re there. However, just because you have friends who’ve been there the longest time, tried and tested true, and would never leave you, doesn’t mean you should take the ones in between for granted, either. I call them “acquaintances.” You’re not really close to them, but they’re there for a reason. You’ll never know when you’ll be needing them.
There’s this book I’ve been reading on Kindle that really speaks to me and is practically the shining beacon of my existence: “The Introvert Advantage” by Dr. Marti Laney. The author is a psychologist who claims to be an introvert and has been successful in dealing with her introversion as well as with that of many patients in such a way that she gets the same benefits out of a “society designed for extroverts.” I can compare it to lefties dwelling in a world that is clearly designed for right-handers. I mentioned the book because here she mentioned a host of “introverted traits,” many of which fit me and many of which did not, and one of these seemed to coincide with the way I view friendships. “Introverts tend to have few, close friends; extroverts tend to consider everyone their friend.”
This book saved me. Although I am not entirely an introvert, and in fact lie somewhere in the middle of Dr. Laney’s proposed “introvert-extrovert continuum,” I do have an introverted side to me. It carries over to my relationships, the way I behave in some social gatherings (especially ones I don’t see the point to), and the way I don’t like being bothered when I work (heck, even people looking over my shoulder when I work aren’t welcome to me either). I am mostly extroverted, however, when it comes to dealing with people in general (though I tend to introvert after a while), and with the way I lack patience for virtually everything, have so much energy, love stimulating environments, and could just hop from one thing to another. The book helped me understand all of these things, and gave me far greater insight into myself as well as my introverted friends.
Are you an introvert? An extrovert? Have you ever taken a personality test?
(Just thought I’d end this blog post openly. I wonder who ever reads this anymore after I’d been away so long?)