Book Review : Sorry I’m Late…I Didn’t Want To Come : An Introvert’s Year of Living Dangerously

Sorry

One of the things I’ve noticed that people love to list on their dating profiles is where they fall on the Myer’s Briggs Personality Index. I’m not convinced its that easy to divide the world’s population into 16 broad personality types…the same way you can’t really box people using 12-star signs either. I’ve never been able to quite figure out if I’m an introvert or an extrovert. I was certainly more shy as a kid – and I still probably prefer books to people but I learned quite early on that hiding in the corner with my only friend being a book wasn’t going to get me very far in life…so begrudgingly I started to make friends. Last year, post-breakup, I think I was quite the opposite of an introvert. Basically, I was actively looking for ways to be around people and not stuck in my thoughts. I was a YES (wo)man to everything. But part of me did wonder whether I’d ever be OK just sitting at home with a book. Eventually, though people and drinking became exhausting and thanks to Netflix, my newfound love of jigsaw puzzles and lots of good books (oh, and winter) I found I could actually hibernate pretty successfully. And be alone in with my thoughts without having a complete meltdown.

Part of why I picked up this book titled Sorry I’m Late…I Didn’t Want To Come : An Introvert’s Year of Living Dangerously  was because the author basically carried out an experiment on herself which was kind of the opposite of what I did. Let me explain. Jessica Pan identifies as a shy introvert (as in she not only prefers being alone but when she is a crowd she tends to stay quiet too). She’d much rather stay home and netflix than go out to a party or meet new people. However, from the outset, you can tell she isn’t a complete loser as you might imagine of someone who didn’t do much socialising beyond the mandatory work stuff. For a start, she is married. Not to shabby – for someone who doesn’t like meeting new people (although from the sounds of it she got lucky by meeting a fellow introvert at work and communicating via email to get things started). Secondly, she has been an expat in a bunch of places. I think anyone who can build a life for themselves in a foreign land needs to have basic social skills.

Anyway, having recently moved to my hometown of London, Jessica hits rock bottom. She realises that being an introvert isn’t serving her well. Sure, she has her husband. But beyond that she just feels isolated and lonely. (I think lots of people who’ve moved abroad for love will be able to identify here). So after some strange incident in a sauna, she takes the brave step of coming out of her comfort zone by committing to spending a year outside her comfort zone living like an extrovert. Her approach to ‘living dangerously’ involves a whole range of activities that force her to push the boundaries including using Bumble BFF to organise ‘friend dates’, public speaking,  travelling solo, taking magic mushrooms and trying her hand (more than once) at stand up comedy.

While I found the whole concept behind this book intriguing (and props to the author for challenging herself and risking social humiliation on so many levels) I was a little disappointed. Even though, theoretically there was a lot that should have resonated with me – .e.g. the frustration associated with dating/friendships apps (Jessica, be glad you were only looking for friends, not the elusive ONE!), the expat thing, and a general fear of public speaking, the book failed to really draw me in. I think the fact that she spent a lot of time referencing interesting scientific research papers and philosophies about introverts sort of took the attention away from her personal story, which is kinda what the reader came for and what I think could have potentially made it a better read.

Alright Rinsers, have you read the book? Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert? Or a bit of both? Do you think introverts have it harder when it comes to making friends/dating? Or do you think it is better to have a few deep and meaningful friendships than lots of superficial ones? Would you be willing to use a ‘dating’ app to make new friends? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

Advertisements

5 comments

  1. I took the Meyers Briggs recently because of another post I read and got a completely different result than I got a few years ago. Apparently I’m extroverted and love confrontation. That’s truly news to me because I don’t leave my house most days!

    The book interested me when I saw it on scribd but I didn’t check it out yet. The premise is interesting like you said. I’ve often fantasized about doing something similar (I’ve even tried Bumble BFF but it was 100% gay men trying to sleep with me) but I don’t know where to start.

    Definitely will read it, I think the scientific stuff appeals to me. I’m reading 12 Rules for Life right now and it’s a stats dream.

    Like

  2. It’s not terrible. I just found the chapters very long. The factual parts were interesting but I just didn’t find it worked well with her stories. Maybe it was just her writing style.

    Some of the research was pretty interesting. Like the stats on loneliness. It is apparently a legit thing…and not just for golden oldies. The UK have appointed a minister to deal with it. Maybe they’ll have more success with that than they will with Brexit!

    Bumble BFF…. I still don’t feel ready to stoop that low in order in make friends. I feel bad enough using technology to find men….but surely I should be going to enough of the right places to meet friends organically. But it does look like this is the way of the world right now.

    Let me know your thoughts once you’ve read it.

    Like

  3. Myer’s Briggs Personality Index test defined me as an introvert who everyone thinks is an extrovert. I actually found the test useful for introspection but I’m pretty sure as people change during their lifetime, they would get slightly different results when retaking the test. Of course, I would defend this test, though. It told me I have the same personality type as Oprah!,
    Someone told me once that introvertism and extrovertism are about energy levels. In other words, the question isn’t whether you prefer books to people but which one of the two you find more restorative and you draw your energy from. I think it was a brilliant definition. As much as I like quality socialising, it drains me. If I’m sad or low I can go for days without people.
    I haven’t read the book and I commend the author for trying to get out of her comfort zone. I think people should do it on regular basis. I had an introvert friend once who would rage repetitively about the fact that people think “being shy” is a negative characteristic. Well, duh, because as you said – hiding behind the book won’t get you anywhere in life.
    Now, I’m not sure how fascinating it is to read that someone has tried Bumble BFF… Your review reminds me of the lame Shonda Rhymes book “Year of Yes”, which I think most people find completely unrelatable (she was SO brave that year that she went to a dinner or a ball with guests like the Obamas, which as an introvert she wouldn’t have accepted before. I mean come on, even introverts dream to have problems like this!).

    Like

    • Haha! Dinner with the Obamas would be nerve wrecking for sure but anyone would go.

      I think perhaps Bumble BFF is more of a legit thing in the UK than it is here in SA. Apparently, loneliness is a big problem over there and they’ve even appointed a government minister to deal with it (fuck brexit, lets deal with loneliness instead!). I guess I’ll probably have to resort to such things from next year.

      But as you said, the author also differentiates between deep and shallow conversations/friendships. Brits are famous for talking about the weather but really I’d rather have a handful of friends I could actually talk about real things with rather than superficial surface conversations…and I think with a lot of these things that’s the issue. Like with dating, after a while having the same old conversation 1000 times gets old, its not that often that you find someone you hit it off with and have a super fun time with.

      Sometimes i feel like staying home (and living what she called an introverts dream life) is a bit like being ‘happily single’…. its a comfortable safe place. But when you start interacting with people, both on a platonic or romantic level, you run the risk of either having a super magical time or having a really rubbish experience. But, I doubt its really good for you to spend too much time by yourself or just with your husband….no man is an island and all. On the flipside, I’ve had my times when I’ve just been hanging out with people because I either didn’t want to be in my own headspace or dealing with a bad relationship…and I guess that extrovert life also has its downsides.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t know, so many people are leaving SA that finding new friends here is a constant necessity 😀

        Yes, I think especially for an expat telling everyone where you’re from and how things are done in your country gets old.

        Lots of introverts shy away from socializing and they form intense relationships with people who are in their lives and are their comfort zone along with books. That’s not good because you should challenge yourself and unless you get some new people in your life here and then you’ll never grow.
        When you’re in a bad space you sometimes don’t want to be on your own as an introvert. I’ve been there too. After one of my break-ups I managed to be out for 14 evenings straight and only then I was ready to deal with life. This is very different to the problem some extroverts have, which is never being on your own as a rule. Someone whose name I will not mention who I know literally never does anything on their own. Ever. They hate it. Maybe they went grocery shopping on their own once or twice but even that is ideally done with someone. They literally can’t be on their own and are scared of it. Now THAT is another thing and is as unhealthy as an introvert always staying in.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.