Introversion is not a problem; it’s a personality trait

How To Handle the Strange, Antisocial, Rude Behaviors of an Introvert

First of all, there needs to be a change in mindset. 90% of the time an introvert does something that seems rude or weird(e.g., saying they don’t want to hang out with you tonight), it’s not meant to be so. Rather, they’re doing what will bring them the most comfort/fun. Introverts work differently than extroverts (hence the different titles). They find energy in being alone, or with only a small amount of people that they are extremely close to (I can count the number of people like this on one hand, for example). While you might unwind after a tough week with some cocktails at your favorite bar, or dancing, or bowling, or playing a game of flag football, an introvert would unwind by sitting on the couch alone and reading or watching tv.

That’s not to say introverts don’t enjoy time with others. It’s the same way as extroverts enjoy some time to themselves. The difference is in what the people get out of it. An introvert who spends the evening with friends will surely enjoy herself, but it’s not something she would classify as relaxing. Balance is key, here.

Below are four steps to handle those lovely introverts in your life.

  1. Give an introverted person plenty of notice for upcoming plans.
    Let them weigh their options and mentally prepare. I don’t mean they (we? should I just go ahead and say we?) sit in a dark room and meditate in order to prepare to see our friends. But waking up knowing you have plans later is a lot less stressful than having ten minutes to decide whether or not you want to give up a night solo for a bar with friends.
  2. Don’t make them feel lame for declining.
    I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve thought about doing something, decided I’ll have more fun at home, said I’ll pass, and then been pressured into going anyway. That’s essentially taking away my right to choose. And yeah, sometimes I end up having fun, maybe even more fun than I would’ve at home (though sometimes not). But the fact is, I had to choose between something I was uncomfortable with over being what they thought of as lame. And don’t try and tell me I should just put my foot down because A) I shouldn’t have to and B) who wants to sound like a huge asshat when their friends go “Oh COME ON. It’ll be so much better than just sitting here by yourself,”?
  3. Understand that they honestly can enjoy time alone more than time out/with you.
    I’ve already touched on this some, but it’s important enough to repeat. It doesn’t mean that they don’t like you. It’s just how the brain functions. Fundamentally, what is the purpose of socializing, going out, drinking, playing football, etc? To have fun. It is widely recognized that people have fun doing different things. One man’s tennis is another man’s beer pong tournament. And similarly, one man’s going out is another man’s staying in. As long as a person keeps their balance and is healthy there is absolutely NO reason they can’t be alone if they want. And they shouldn’t feel like they’re doing something wrong.
  4. Remember that new people or places can be really uncomfortable.
    If your shy buddy decides to come with you, don’t abandon them. I’m sure you’re familiar with your comfort zone. Well, they are now outside of theirs. That’s okay, as long as they wanted to come. But don’t expect them to just naturally flourish in this new environment. Of course, you’re not their babysitter. But nothing screams regret to me like going somewhere new and potentially uncomfortable and having to fend for myself socially. This easily happens at weddings, clubs, and house parties in my experience. If you bring a friend there and they’re having trouble being social, it’s nice to take a few minutes and try to help the situation. Don’t mistake them not following you around as them enjoying themselves. I usually do this when I don’t want to seem annoying, and has nothing to do with my comfort level.

You may be thinking that I am taking this a little too far. Come on, how many people do I really know that are like this? The truth is, of course, that there’s a huge spectrum that goes from introvert to extrovert and most people tend to fall somewhere around the middle. But whether you naturally fall in one spot or another, there are a million different reasons why someone might become more or less introverted for periods of time.

While I feel the older I get the more introverted I become, I still maintain a fairly active social life. However, my time in Germany has changed me. While my time here has been overwhelmingly positive, my life has basically been one big step out of my comfort zone. Everything gives me some level of anxiety. That means I’ve learned to push myself harder, which is great. But I’ve also become remarkably more introverted, shy, and nervous. Anxiety is just as much a part of my day as happiness and sadness are. (Not to say my days are filled with sorrow, but you can’t have happiness without sadness; it’s always a balance.) I wrote this post in my notebook while on vacation at the beach with my host family. They were out doing fun vacation things and I just couldn’t do it. I had to stay home alone. I was giving myself a stomach ache when contemplating whether I should just suck it up and go with them or not. Let me repeat: they weren’t at the dentist. They were doing fun beach vacation things, things I enjoy!

The four tips I listed are not exaggerated. They’re four things that I encounter almost daily and wish I could tell people. I don’t because A) I’m too non-confrontational and B) I feel it comes off as rude which is sad because telling someone you’re uncomfortable shouldn’t be rude.

Accept that you are your own person and you fall somewhere on the spectrum. Don’t let labels stop you from pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. You might be surprised by what you can accomplish and experience. But also accept yourself. Learn who you are and live happily with that knowledge. Don’t allow people to tell you you’re living your life wrong just because it’s different than their life.

Things I’ve Been Doing Lately

Whoooooooooops. It’s been over a month since I shared my life on here. I’ve sat down and told myself to write several times, yet no words came that I wanted to share. Things have happened, life has progressed, but it seems my muse has left me for a little while.

Since I feel that my poor blog deserves better than my neglegence, I’ll give you a list of what I’ve been doing for the past week or so.

In the past nine days I have:

  • Spent time in Bonn (I learned that Beethoven was born in Bonn AND it’s the city where Haribo was created…who knew?)
  • Stayed at a dairy farm for a few days (Cows, cats, and more cats!)
  • Went to Berlin for two days/one night (Saw a ton and left with the feeling that I must go back and see MORE.)
  • Read a lot (Merry and Pippin just got reunited with their Company in The Two Towers and Saruman has lost control of Isenguard. Exciting time for the Company.)
  • Thought A LOT abut writing a blog post
  • Didn’t actually write a blog post until right now
  • Thought how fun it is to be PMSing (It had to be said because…wow.)

This isn’t really the blog post I wanted to create but at this point I just want to write something new. I was trying to think of a funny story that’s happened in the past month but my mind is failing me and as I said before, I’ve misplaced my muse and can’t seem to find her anywhere. Hopefully she’ll come back soon and I can get a real blog post up.

So France Was A Thing That Happened

Over Easter weekend, a friend and I strolled the cobbled lanes, perused the finer things, basked in the sun of a warm spring day, and nibbled on buttered croissants. Where did we do this? What kind of stupid question is that. Paris, obviously! My friend Lauren and I spent a few days in the City of Love, taking in the sites and experiencing as much as possible without wearing ourselves out too much.

I was trying to think of a way to recap all of the highlights and not write 2500 words so I decided to do one of my favorite things ever and make a list.

So behold, my list of things that happened in Paris:

  1. Took a bike tour around the city. The best gelato I’ve ever had was consumed and I saw where Kanye lives when he visits. (Right above the gelato place. Respect.)
  2. Took a boat ride along the Seine River. Wine was had.
  3. Took a walking tour through the city. Learned about kings who loved to party and how really kind of pathetic/sad Marie Antoinette’s life was. Give a girl a break.
  4. Saw two guys ask for money on the subway and then strip off their clothes and do a poll dance. Their briefs were subway maps.
  5. Went to Shakespeare and Co. bookstore which is where Ernest Hemingway (and many, many) others have lived and written some of their best work.
  6. Laid on the lawn at the Eiffell Tower and took a siesta.
  7. Ate Chipotle. It was delicious as always.
  8. Went to the Louvre. Only spent a couple hours in there which is terrible because there’s just so much to see. Loved every second of it even though it was about 700 degrees inside.
  9. Looked out the window from the Louvre at all the chumps who were waiting in line to get in because they didn’t know you could spend three extra euros and skip the line. heh heh heh
  10. Strolled the length of the Champs-Élysées. Looked at all the things we couldn’t afford to buy.
  11. Climbed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
  12. Visited the Père Lachaise Cemetery. There are hundreds of graves and most of them are intricate and beautiful. I found Oscar Wilde and Chopin’s graves.
  13. Walked around in Notre Dame. It’s beautiful…shocker. I lit a candle inside.
  14. Learned how to navigate via Paris’ subway system. Shout out to Lauren for being better at it than me. Shout out to me for not totally sucking.
  15. Saw Divergent. Now this one may fall under “You were in PARIS and you chose to go to a movie???” BUT we were both really tired from the day. Lauren was a little sick so trying to keep going after a long day of walking isn’t really the best idea anyway. We both wanted to see the movie really badly and we found it in English in a theatre five minutes from our hostel. I call that nothing but a win. P.S. We got student discounts so it was even a little better.
  16. Walked the Latin Quarter after I visited Shakespeare and Co. (Yeah…these are in no particular order. I’m just writing them as I think of them.) The Latin Quarter used to be known as where all the artists and intellectuals lived. Now it’s more of a tourist hub, but it’s still cool. Very lively, people everywhere. Music, shops, restaurants, more shops, MORE RESTAURANTS.
  17. Tried to speak French here and there. Failed miserably, but the locals seemed to appreciate the effort.

I know we did more but these are the biggies (read: everything I can think of at this particular moment). Paris was truly an amazing and beautiful city and I’d love to visit again someday.

Since coming home, my days have been a rather precarious mixture of radiant sun and homogeneous grey. I’ve now been in Germany just over six months and this feels like a major turning point in more ways than one. I’m trying to figure out just what my place is here and for the time being I’m not entirely sure. Plenty to look forward to of course. My sister, brother in law, and nephew will be here in 59 days and I just found out I’ll hopefully be seeing an Orlando friend even sooner than that!

So there you have it. My life at the moment. I’ll leave you with some Paris pictures:

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Please, try not to be TOO impressed with my picture taking capabilities.

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Springtime in Deutschland

Spring is here and better than ever. Last week the flowers started to pop up in unexpected places. They seemingly came overnight and it was enough to put a very broad smile on my face. Now the trees are starting their shy comeback to the world of the living. The birds are singing sweet hymns and everything is just awake.

This weather is so conducive to my feelings about footwear which is nice. I like to be barefoot as much as possible and wearing TOMS the rest of the time. That doesn’t really jive with cold temps. My naked feet are quite happy that winter has said its last goodbyes. Socks=get out of my life.

I got to spend last week with my mom and uncle which really put the cherry on top of my springtime sundae. (Dear sweet Jesus, I just said springtime sundae.) Of course, they didn’t get to enjoy much of the high-of-65 weather that we’re having this week (that started on their last day) but it was sunny for the duration of their visit and just having them here with me was really surreal and exciting and AHH MY LIFE IS GREAT.

Though of course the real world is ever present and I still have dumb things to do like taxes and homework and other such nonsense, I’m feeling very light these days. I’m in love with a lot of things right now that I would happily list for you but won’t because this post would quickly become novel length.

Next week my cousin will be here to finish up her latest whirlwind European adventure, then I’ll have a week of normalcy, and then I’m off to Paris for four days with a good au pair friend of mine. My semester at UCF is also ending in the next few weeks and my semester at Uni Bayreuth is starting on the 14th soooooo this month is going to be a crazy mixture of amazing and stressful and MORE AMAZING and lots of other stuff too, probably.

Sorry for the lack in posting. Life has been beautifully hectic and I don’t see that changing until maybe sometime next month. But hopefully I’ll take better care to update my blog/online journal of random thoughts more often. Note the naked feet in the picture below.

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Carnival in Cologne

From Saturday-Monday I was Carnival-ing in Bonn and Cologne. In case you’re like me and Carnival is all new to you, it’s a few days of parties, parades, and general merriment before Ash Wednesday kicking off Lent. Cologne hosts the biggest Carnival celebration in Germany. And I was all up in it.

On Saturday, we hit up a small, local parade. It lasted about 20 minutes and was great fun. Sunday we went to a bigger Bonn parade. For any of my Bradentonians, it was quite similar in size to the Desoto Parade, around 1.5 hours. Monday we went to the mother of all Carnivals in Cologne. It was a five hour parade and wow…

Below are some facts and observations I made throughout my Carnival celebrations:

  1. EVERYONE dresses up. Not just kids and college students.
  2. No beads. Candy, little toys, and flowers (if you’re lucky) are where it’s at.
  3. Showing some cleavage makes getting flowers easier. Red lip stick doesn’t hurt either. Don’t ask me how I know that.
  4. Beer is always appropriate. 3:00 PM, 10:00 PM, 9:30 AM, every time is a good time for a brewski.
  5. If you’re a real pro, you’ll have a cup hanging from your neck so you can go hands free with your beer.
  6. You should be learning the songs that go along with Carnival from a young age. I missed the memo. They’re still fun, though.
  7. Be prepared at any moment to lock arms with the people on either side of you (stranger or no) and dance.
  8. Also be prepared at any moment to yell “Alaaf!” three times in a row. *Note: This changes depending on the region you’re in. DON’T screw it up.
  9. Clowns are always in style. Pirates too. (I was a pirate. I like to conform.)
  10. Riding the train into Cologne on the day of the big parade is really a fun sight to see.
  11. Getting back to the train at the end of the day is almost an equally fun sight to see. Much less excitement. Many more looks of exhaustion and drunkenness with a smidgen of regret thrown in here and there.
  12. Even when not actually at a parade, Carnival time is party time. Be prepared to socialize. A lot. Social anxiety be damned.
  13. Different parts of Germany celebrate Carnival differently and some don’t celebrate it at all. It’s actually really crazy how strikingly different the cultures are in different regions here.
  14. You can get really pretty painted hard boiled eggs and they are delicious.
  15. Standing for five hours is not nearly as tiring as you would think when you’re having fun, eating candy (gotta keep that blood sugar up!), and drinking a moderate amount of beer. Have I mentioned beer enough in this post? I sure hope so.

So that is what I experienced condensed into a very small nutshell. There are of course about 3,000 other things that happened but I think for those 3,000 things you kind of just had to be there.

Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure:

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My good friend, the Cologne Cathedral.

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Saw this BEUT at the second parade. It had multiple Confederate flags and was surrounded by cowboys and Native Americans. I fear that flag will follow me wherever I go in life.

Looking back at old blog posts

From time to time I like to go to my old blog that I started back in 2010 when I made my move to New York. It’s interesting to read because A) it serves as a time capsule for what was happening in my life back then and B) it shows me how much I’ve changed in the last three years.

Three years isn’t such a long time and in a lot of ways, I’m virtually the same as I was then. But reading about the way I saw the world around me, how I handled certain situations, even how I wrote about my life in general… it makes me smile because I think it’s all perfectly appropriate for when you’re 18/19 but I would never write some of that stuff now, or at least not in the same way.

I’ve always known I have a flare for the dramatic. That’s not something that’s going to be changing any time soon but it makes me giggle a little when I see 19 year old representations of said dramatic flare. Take, for example, the poem that I wrote shortly after moving back home in the summer of 2011. It is an ode to making the one that wronged me feel wronged himself. I still smile when I read it because though it is no great piece of art, it’s fun to say out loud and it made me feel slightly better at the time of writing it.

Now, I’m all about people writing to feel empowered and such. BUT, when I see people writing long poems about someone that they supposedly don’t feel bad about whatsoever my first thought is always, “If you really don’t care, I wonder why you took the time to write this.” Clearly, I was not as awesome feeling as the poem would have you believe. I think I may have actually been crying at the time of writing. Yeah…

In the end, I’m really glad I have my old blog to look back on. There are a lot of things I don’t ever want to forget but as I have the memory about equivalent to that of a mouse, I’ll take help wherever I can get it.

That One Time I Pissed Skiers Off in the Alps

Guess what, people! I went to the Alps after New Years. Yeah…the Alps. We stayed in the town called Garmisch. Here are some majestic mountain pictures to start you off:

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Daaayyyyuuummmmm that’s majestic

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I’ve never done more than drive past mountains on road trips in years past so being on a mountain was pretty amazing. On the first day I decided to go on a hike.

There are some paths on the mountains for people to walk, such as myself. The hike I did took about 45 minutes. It didn’t lead where I thought it led but that was fine because it was well marked and while I was hiking alone, there were other hikers all around so it wasn’t dangerous or anything (except I swear there were places were I SO EASILY could’ve fallen over the edge…not exaggerating). I only fell once so let’s take a second to virtually pat me on the back. That shit was slippery.

At the end of the path there was a short walk up a hill to the lifts that would take you back down the mountain. Here’s my crude drawing of the situation:

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Now I COULD have walked up the down way to the right but since there was a thing to scan your badge to get into the up lane to the left, I felt like I was supposed to go that route. The chord that was pulling up the skiers was way too fast to hold onto and I couldn’t walk up on my own because it was kind of steep and very slippery. Thankfully, there was a nice, unmoving chord to the right that I latched onto for dear life.

The problem was I was still walking too slow. There were skiers coming up behind me and I was majorly in the way. To fix this, I ducked under the right chord and waiting a second to let some people by. Here would’ve been a great time to just stay on the other side and walk up but DAMN IT, I was determined to follow the rules.

After a few people went by and there was a break, I grabbed onto my trusty, stationary chord and ducked back over into the lane. Then the moving chord halted. The girl in front of me that looked to be around my age turned to me and said (in an icy tone), “That’s the emergency brake. You’re not supposed to pull it.”

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

I profusely apologized to which she responded by looking at me like I had just insulted her mother. All the skiers in the lane were looking around to see why they had stopped and as I was the only doofus not on skis, they figured it out well enough.

Oops

At this point it would have been really easy to duck back over to the other side and walk the rest of the way up (which I had finally come to the conclusion was the simplest and best way to have gone about the whole thing), but since the skiers were stuck there, I figured I deserved to be stuck there too. Thankfully, it started up about two minutes later. 

I couldn’t hold onto what I now knew to be the HOLY AND UNTOUCHABLE EMERGENCY BRAKE but I still couldn’t walk up without holding onto something so I grabbed the briskly paced chord and had to run to keep up with it. Imagine someone looking really, really stupid (doing anything) and that’s pretty much where I was at.

I got to make eye contact with a guy as I was FINALLY leaving that godforsaken hill/lane thing and could tell that as stupid as I felt, I looked much worse. I proceeded to the lifts without further incident.

And that, my friends, is how I pissed off skiers in the Alps.

The 23 1/2 Books I Read in 2013

For the first time, I decided to keep a tally of the books I read throughout all of 2013. Half for the potential for this blog post to exist and half to have some kind of record of the reading that I did over the course of the year.

  1. The Time Keeper by Mitch Album
  2. Passion (Fallen series) by Lauren Kate
  3. Regeneration  (Regeneration series) by Pat Barker
  4. Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut
    My first Vonnegut book. Loved it. Need to read more by him.
  5. My War: Killing Time in Iraq by Colby Buzzell
  6. Rapture (Fallen series) by Lauren Kate
  7. Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog From Iraq by Riverbend
    Reading this after reading #5 was extremely eye opening. Basically you get two completely different sides of the same story which is something of a miracle when it comes to the war in Iraq. Very powerful when read as a pair.
  8. 1984 by George Orwell
    I’ve been meaning to read this for years and finally did. Did not disappoint in the slightest. I love me some dystopian fiction.
  9. Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
    Read this with my French class. Other than having the ending ruined by a classmate, it was good. Definitely not just for kids.
  10. Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters Series) by Juliet Marillier
    This was given to me by one of my best friends EVAR. It’s got magic. It’s got romance. It’s set in medieval times. WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE?
  11. Son of the Shadows (Sevenwaters series) by Juliet Marillier
  12. Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire series) by George R.R. Martin
  13. White Noise by Don DeLillo
  14. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
    Along with #13, these were for a class I was taking. Both have a lot of heavy philosophical themes. Philosophy is not my thing. If it is your thing, you’ll probably enjoy these two books.
  15. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
    Reading how Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy fall in love will never get old.
  16. A Clash of Kings (ASOIAF series) by George R.R. Martin
  17. The Double Helix, A Personal Account of he Discovery of the Structure of DNA by James D. Watson
  18. Mockingjay (Hunger Games series) by Suzanne Collins
  19. Catching Fire (Hunger Games series) by Suzanne Collins
    Why did I read them out of order, you ask? I watched Catching Fire when it came out and needed MORE so I read Mockingjay. Then I finished it and still needed MORE so I went back and read Catching Fire. I was in a bit of a Hunger Games frenzy. We’ve all been there, right?
  20. Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse by Alida Nugent
    Given to me by my wonderful friend, this book is a hilarious, honest, and insightful look into what it is to be freshly out of college and in the big, scary adult world.
  21. Divergent (Divergent series) by Veronica Roth
  22. Insurgent (Divergent series) by Veronica Roth
  23. Allegiant (Divergent series) by Veronica Roth
    Overall, a fantastic series. Disappointed by the ending for sure but since I’m not the author, I guess I don’t really have much say, do I?

23.5 The Fault in Our Stars by John Green *Finished on New Years Day*
Wow this was a sad book. Beautiful and insightful. But sad as shit. I cried a lot. Like choking, dripping, leaking-from-every-orafice-in-my-face crying.

So here you are. Though I’ve never counted before, I feel comfortable saying this is the most books I’ve ever read in a year. It is also most definitely my most diverse year of reading. It took a long time for me to realize my love of reading but it truly has become pretty much my favorite thing to do. Unfortunately, I don’t get to read much while classes are in session which leads to marathon book reading weeks over break. (I read books 18-23.5 in the last two-ish weeks.)

Here’s to a great year of reading in 2014!

Reasons Why Charlie Brown Christmas Wins at Everything

Charlie Brown Christmas has been a part of my Christmas time as long as I can remember. It holds a certain magic to it. It what reminds me to be happy and jolly and sentimental in a season that begs for those feelings but also pushes me to feel stressed, lonely, and depressed at times as well. While most, if not all, Christmas movies usually leave me feeling jolly, Charlie Brown is unique in that it produces those feelings by completely justifying the presence of the crappy ones. Charlie Brown is one depressed little dude.

So here’s my list of the reasons that Charlie Brown Christmas is the best Christmas movie of all:

1. As already mentioned, Charlie Brown doesn’t make you cheery by being cheery. Quite the contrary, he spends most of the special being depressed and more than a little pathetic. He’s on the outside of the group, desperately looking in.

2. He’s sassy.

3. One of the major themes is one we could never hear enough about: the commercialization of Christmas. Every year I find myself worrying about finding the right present for someone and being able to pay for it all. Hello, not quite what the holiday is supposed to be about, amiright?

All I want is what I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share
All I want is what I have coming. All I want is my fair share.

First prize?!

4. Even though all of the characters except for Charlie Brown (and usually Linus) are obsessed with the presents, tin trees, and big holiday productions, the only time any of the characters seem happy are when they are either singing or sharing in the true Christmas spirit.

5. It shows that with a little love anything and anybody (cough cough Charlie Brown) can be seen as beautiful.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all. Join me in trying to not stress too much, this year. Take a chapter out of Charlie Brown’s book. Be kind to others and be so thankful for all that you have.