I've been trying to figure out why I've pulled in during the last few years. My version of introversion may look like no big deal to others: I still go out, have friends, hobbies, chat on the phone and over email. To me, though, I know the difference. I seek social interaction a lot less frequently and am less disappointed when plans are canceled. More than anything, I prize my time to myself.
Well, let's see: What's changed?
Four and a half years ago, I got into a serious relationship. That relationship turned into a live-in situation, which then turned into an engagement, which then became a marriage. I work every day at the damn thing, with great results, but a whole hell of a lot of effort.
It's easy to say I don't have a lot of effort left over for others, but that's not quite it. It's more that I've achieved that level of comfort that one achieves in an intimate relationship -- we can spend the majority of an entire meal tucked into our food, barely observing the social niceties you might with a friend or acquaintance. I can say whatever the hell I want to him. When he pisses me off, he knows it, stat.
That level of comfort makes me aware of the formalities -- necessary and not-so-much -- that we observe with others. I'm about as direct and opinionated as they get, but even I find myself frustrated with the notion that no, I can't tell you you're a douchebag, no matter how much I might want to.
So is that it? If I could be more honest with people, would I be more social? Or is it something more?
I think it's something more.
My standards, always high, are far more stringent. There are things I seek in people and if I don't see those qualities, forget it. And I'm a lot stricter now than I have been in the past.
I also have to ask myself if this is a bad thing -- this introversion. And my first answer is no, because I think part of it is a phase. However, I know there are other parts that are hurting me. It's those to which I need to give my attention.