As an introvert masquerading as an extrovert I have a strong need to just be by myself sometimes. It might be in the middle of a big conference (or maybe especially in the middle of a big conference), it might be a Friday or Saturday and I just don’t want to follow the crowd to the newest nightspot or it might be a whole weekend just being me.
I just want to be by myself a little bit. Take some time off. Maybe a glass of wine, a good book or a brain numbing TV show. Maybe with a good friend. Maybe not. Maybe there’s a big party on and I might just be sitting on the balcony all by myself. Maybe I’m checking out a restaurant with a friend while everyone else are off to a night club. Maybe I’m just sleeping. I’m for sure not doing anything particularly cool or exciting. That’s the last thing I need when I need to retreat to my own space. You know what I’m saying.
Its not just that these breaks from the public me helps me recoup energy, focus on what I think is important and wind down, I also noticed that these breaks from the spotlight had another and rather surprising effect on how people perceive me…
I was quite surprised the first time I realised that instead of people thinking “oh I’m sure she’s just sitting in her room watching TV by herself while we’re out here partying” (which was what I was doing), instead people were thinking “oh I wonder what cool stuff Solveig is doing so that she can’t be here with us”.
People were simply thinking that since I wasn’t with them and what they were doing were really cool, I must be off doing something even cooler.
I’m never secret about what I do. I’m open about having days where I don’t want to see another living being, I don’t want to be social and I don’t want to nod and smile. I’m open about having evenings at home not doing anything. I’m open about not being particularly cool. So I was surprised. People were attributing me with a whole level of coolness I’ve never aspired to.
So since then I’ve been intentionally skipping all the good parties, making sure everyone thinks I’m off to something even cooler while I’m just really sitting by myself in my hotel room.
I’m still doing my introvert stuff. I’m still open about that’s what I’m doing. But perceptions deceive. How are perceptions helping or working against you?