Monday, 7 November 2016

Being An Introverted Friend In A Digital World

Understanding that I was an introvert happened to me in my teens. I don't remember how or when it happened in all honesty but I believe it was probably something that I stumbled upon online. And then my brain just went, yes. Everything suddenly made sense to me. That was why I wasn't like everyone else.

For any who are still confused or not really familiar with the term, an introvert is someone who gets drained of energy by other people. Extroverts need other people to give them energy.

It does not mean I am anti-social. It does not mean that I hate socialising. It does not mean that there is something wrong with me. It simply means that I cannot spend too much time around people. It means that I need alone time to feel alive.

Introverts do not have to be shy people - though I am also shy. They can also be the person at the party. The one that everyone knows and loves and sees. It just means that they may not be at a party every single night. It probably also means they leave before the party ends because they can't deal any more.

With all of that being said, I want to talk a little bit about how being an introvert affects my friendships with people. But mostly I want to focus today on how it affects my friendships in this online world as an adult.

As a teenager with no constant internet access, I was a texting fiend. As soon as I could, I got unlimited texting so that I didn't have to keep topping up my phone with non-existent money. And I would text my friends constantly. To this day, I recall being told many, many times to put the phone down and interact with the people in the room. Texting was the way that I stayed connected with the people around me.

Then the internet really happened. And things started to change. It was a slow change but I very rarely text now. First MSN arrived so texting moved to instant messaging. And then I was contacting people across the world from me. Then I moved across the world so texting was too expensive so instant messaging was the only way to talk but no one was ever online at the same time as me so that soon slipped away too.

Moving onto university brought twitter into my life and texting was replaced by DMs and replies but it was never exactly the same. And, in all honesty, has never been the same since. Even with the introduction of Whatsapp, I still do not text as much as I used to.

And the reason for this is firstly time; I no longer feel I have the time to just sit and text someone. I have too much else going on to just chat. Which seems, awful, but is true.

Secondly, I get constant updates of people's lives on twitter and facebook and blogs and after all of that, despite it not actually being around people, I have to admit that I often feel really drained. Especially when there are lots of opinions flying around too. And I often close the app and move my phone completely away from me because I need some alone time.

Thirdly, I struggle to think of things to talk about. My life, as far as I'm concerned, is boring. It's mediocre at best and very little really changes. And so texting to me is difficult because when asked, how are you?, I respond, fine and then the conversation always trails off and it just seems pointless to even try. If something interesting happens then I obviously text or tweet or DM people, but otherwise, I just don't know why someone would want to know about what is going on in my life.

So I don't really text.

Which is fine.

Except that I also feel like I'm missing out. It sounds stupid, especially after reading the above. But I feel like by not texting people or DMing them constantly, I get forgotten about. I'm the last to know things. Or I just don't know them at all. And it stupidly makes me sad. And curious; do I have to be in constant communication with someone for them to remember that I exist?

And it is with that thought that I am going to end this post. Maybe you know the answer? Maybe you don't. Maybe you feel the same way. But honestly, I would much rather meet up for a coffee or dinner and catch up on everything than constantly communicate with someone. What about you?


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No judgment, no hate, because it is already tough enough being a girl.