All of my research about blogging has told me to write about what I know and after writing my first post on introverts, I realized that introvert is something I really know. In that post I highlighted some of the benefits of being an introvert, in this post I am goign to focus on one of the downsides: Being Flaky.
First off lets take a moment and think about how weird flaky looks when typed out. I was determined as I was writing this post that I was spelling it wrong. Anyway now on to the tough stuff. If I am a decent introvert I am a pro at being flaky. That is not something I brag about but it is something I have become skilled at over the years. I could/can get out of any plans, the easist way is to never give a definitive yes or no. The thing is, this trait doesn’t help much if you want this thing called relationships. Relationships with friends, coworkers, significant others, anyone. I have learned this the hard way. Moving to a new city it is essential to meet new peope and as much as my introvertedness (is that even a word?) urges me to stay at home, my heart yearns for relationship.
Being around people can be draining. Getting to know people and letting them get to know me is exhausting. I think it is the amount of effort that I have to exert to let down my guard just enough but not too much. Also being around others is draining for most introverts (See the very unscientific chart below.) And for this reason flaky was easy.
So how do I battle the urge to fall into the easy trap of flakiness? I say battle because it is still a daily struggle for me, but these are some of my weapons.
Take it slow
I have learned to take it slow and pace myself. There was a time when I tried to hang out with everyone and meet all the new people I could. There were two big problems with that though process: it was exhausing and relationships take time. I was trying to rush into deep relationships and I got burnt out and for that reason when effort was required I found a way out. I flaked. A year into this experience I reevaluated my aproach.
I limited the number of people I was building relationships with. Like I said in my original Introvert post I’d rather have 4 quarters than 100 pennies when it comes to friends. Instead of being overwhelmed and flaking out on 20 people I chose to dedicate myself to building relationships with 5-10 people.
Use the Buddy System
In my personal experience I am less exhausted by people I already know than I am by meeting new people. Using this I found that it is best if I have someone around that I already have a relationship with that can help take some of the brunt of talking and interacting. This gives me small breaks to recharge. I guess you could say that I have small moments of flake within interactions.
Like I said earlier, relationships take time. When I moved I wanted the level of relationship that I had taken years to cultivate. I had impossible expectations. Now I have a more realistic outlook on the relationship timeline. I’m dug in for the long haul.
When I go out or have a function to go to I try and give myself a “me day” afterward. A day where I can curl up with a good book or binge watch an entire TV series. Hey, I earned it! (You may need an hour or just five minutes, just recharge.) Plus, recharging my social fuel tank is essential to keep me from burning out. This keeps me in the game and gives me something to look forward to.
Using these steps and a lot of sheer will power I have begun to shed my flakiness. Now instead of coming up with reasons not to go out, I go through a list of the benefits of meeting new people. There are times that they flakiness wins but I like to think that now it is much less often. I hope that this is an encouragement to you because we are a relational species. Some of us may be made to spend less time in crowds it does not mean we were made to be alone. Here’s to finding your four quarters.
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