I know that tonight there is a youth group service at the church that my brother and his family goes to. I haven’t been to one of those activities since July. A part of me wants to go, because it gets me to a social church environment when my church’s youth group has nothing; the other part of me wants to stay at Starbucks and just do stuff on my computer (blog, work on the mental exercise, among other things). Guess which one will win (sarcastic tone).
I want social human contact, sure. Who doesn’t want that. I just don’t want the stress that comes along with it. I’m introverted, and, even though I have managed to cope in my own church by using comedy, pranks, catchphrases and the like, I just can’t really do any of that in a environment where people don’t know me. I have to be… normal?
I barely know anyone, even though their faces are familiar to me. I barely speak; the perception is that there isn’t much common ground. I say perception because the thing that I like of that youth group is how similar to me they are. Most of my peers there have higher education and a testimony that is more grounded than in my church. It seems to be the type of group that I want to be a part of (don’t tell my church that).
On the other hand, after the services I feel social tension from not knowing anybody. I usually end up running away after a short while. The people that have come up to me have been rather superficial, which is fine for a first time but at one point I wonder whether I am truly welcomed there.
I can’t put the blame on this youth group for my social experiences. I can’t act extroverted in a place where I don’t know if the tactics used in my church will work. I can’t risk embarrassing myself in public. I also have a somewhat constant concern for how I will come across that I know that I will be an inconvenience for the person/group in front of me when I do experiment with possible extroverted behaviors.
How I treat the people at my church is an exception to my behavior because I have a life-long context to make my behaviors make sense. I also have learned to not care enough about their opinions of me are to restrain myself at such a level.
So here I am, in a blue button up shirt, black skinny jeans, and black vans, writing this blog. Looking at this situation with what I have learned from what I have read from Susan Cain’s book quiet, I have found that the behavior is normal (from an introvert’s perspective) and that I have nothing to be ashamed of.