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.