The phrase “introverted extrovert” is one that has cropped up in my life a lot. When people first meet me, they think I am the life of the party, that I love social activities and talking and dressing up, and all the stuff that comes with being an extrovert. The truth? It’s a struggle for me to go to a party. It’s a struggle for me to want to put on makeup.
Being with other people is NOT how I get my energy.
Being alone is where I get my energy, like a true introvert. This doesn’t always translate well when it comes to relationships. Since I graduated high school, I can count on one hand the amount of good, lifelong friends that I’ve made. I have no friends from college; partly due to the fact that I transferred from a brick-and-mortar university to an online one halfway through my college career.
I have tried to meet and make mom friends a variety of ways, like reaching out to old friends from elementary school who still live in the area and now have kids of their own, social apps that connect local moms, Facebook groups, church, even random meetings at the park. And can I be honest? That is exhausting for someone who prefers to stay home in her sweatpants.
I’ve met some cool moms through some of the various channels mentioned above and we’ve gotten together for play dates with our kids. But after the first couple of times we get together, I find myself overwhelmed with the idea of reaching out. I am worried that I will get rejected or that too much time has elapsed and they will no longer want to be my friend.
Connection with women is something that I long for.
I long to have a group of mom friends that I can sit and chat about all the things I swore I never would pre-kid. So why is there such a disconnect between wanting friendships and actually having them? I think, for me, the answer is that it takes time and a lot of effort. Those are two things that are difficult to invest in when you do not get energized from being around others.
So I crawl back into the introverted part of myself and accept that I might only ever have the three close friends I’ve had since high school. And I love them and I’m thankful I have them. They get me. These friends understand that sometimes I just want to be alone. They get that sometimes I want to have company just to go to Target. But it’s difficult, because none of them have children at this point. So I start to worry about my son. Is he getting enough enrichment? Is he getting enough interaction with other kids his age? If he doesn’t, how will he act when he goes to kindergarten?
I struggle to find connection with fellow moms. I struggle to maintain relationships once they get started.
The anxiety of it all is exhausting and overwhelming to me. I finally put my son in a preschool one day a week so that I could have more time to work and for him to have weekly interactions with other kids his age. It’s hard to find people who understand what it’s like to want friendship but who don’t always want to get together.
I guess what I’m saying is, as an introverted extrovert, I’m open to applications for friends who just want to stay in and share a glass of wine and talk…but not for too long!