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Doctor Who on the phone.

“Hello Bruce? I have these ideas about the nature of the universe and advisability of vigilantism that I’d like to talk through with you.”

Hello Captain Awkward team!

Since I started college, my mother has been driving me crazy regarding calls home. Specifically, the frequency of my calls home. I am introverted and don’t express attachment and affection openly. In the beginning of college, if I didn’t call every single day to reassure her I was not dead in a ditch somewhere, she’d go crazy. If I don’t pick up the phone when she calls within the 3rd ring, she thinks I’m ignoring her. She once even called campus police to report me as missing, all because I took a prolonged sleep to recover from an allnighter and didn’t think it was that big of a deal to call her! She’s gotten a lot better now but calls every 2 to 3 days is still very demanding for me, especially during midterms when I barely even have time to eat.

If I don’t call her for a week, she’ll get angry and then refuse to pick up her phone when I do call. So then, I don’t bother to call her (it’s immature behavior in my opinion) until she caves in and calls me, all upset because “You don’t love me anymore and don’t call me!” Gee I wonder why. I told her to get texting (she doesn’t have it) or check her email since I like reading over talking but she says those mediums aren’t good because “They aren’t as human as talking on the phone. Also, if you were kidnapped, texts and emailed could be falsified by your kidnappers so I won’t call the police in time to save you!”

I’d rather be able to call her once a week, which is more reasonable for my schedule. She, however, sees this as me not appreciating and loving her anymore. She has a great fear of being a failure as a mother (I’m the eldest child) since she had a horrible relationship with her own mother. I’ve tried to reason with her but she just complains and whines about how I don’t love her enough to take the effort to call her. Her solutions are also ridiculous; she suggested I call her every time I use the bathroom, which is gross to me and a bad idea for a klutz who has dropped phones into the toilet multiple times.

It doesn’t help very much that I hardly see her since my school is far away. She also doesn’t understand I don’t run in crowds that would likely get me kidnapped. Since I am currently going through a bout of being ignored, do you have any suggestions for improving the situation once she gives in and calls me?

Hello, Tired Introvert:

First, being introverted and “preferring not to express attachment and affection openly” are two different things.

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A heart against a background of grass with the words "Hey Girl a date with you would make me 30-35% more human."

Adapted under a Creative Commons license from a photo by David Goehring on Flickr. A lovely photo that probably deserved better than this.

So. That happened. If you feel overwhelmed about diving in, Rachel Scotland made a tl;dr version here. But I hope people will dive in. The commenters gave, collectively, some of the greatest advice about dating, liking and being nice to yourself, meeting people, and pulling yourself out of bad patterns of thinking ever assembled on the internet. The last communication I received from our dear LW before hitting the block button was a hearty “go fuck yourself!” I was hoping for something more poetic from the man who gave us this:

The icy grip of loneliness is always one step behind me and if I stop for one second, I’ll be ensnared. We all have to sleep, and there is no worse a time than when I must lie down and let my mind wander as the loneliness that I spent a whole day running from sucks the very essence of my soul from my body leaving me shivering and alone.

…but we get what we get. And what we got was stuff like PomperaFirpa’s guide to finding your awesome, finding your venue for awesome, and a 5-step plan for having a casual conversation with a stranger about anything that even includes instructions for making a graceful exit! Designed BY introverts FOR introverts.

This community fucking rocks, is what I’m saying. I could spend the next three months taking comments from that thread and building them out into their own posts. Next time I apply for jobs I’m going to put “curator of best commentspace on the Internet” on my resume without irony.

Good job, us.

I’m not going to close comments over there, but I’m going to ask that people don’t go in just to beat up on the LW some more. He behaved pretty badly and needs to grow up a bit and learn that the world won’t issue him a girlfriend, but he’s obviously a sad, genuinely lonely dude and I’m hoping that he’ll come back in a couple weeks and read some of the comments again (and I was serious about the reading more books, etc. by women advice, if you’re still reading, and I think you are).

I’m going to leave this up today as a general open thread. Post recommendations for great books, movies, comics, music by women! Shamelessly self-promote (as I am doing, below the cut) your own work! Use quotes from the thread to make your own counter-intuitive valentine!

I need to step away from the internet for a few hours and unfuck my habitat. Thanks for being so awesome.

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Marlene Dietrich

So. You want to be alone.

I’m going to try to get through this week with no questions about inappropriate touching.  Ready, set, go.

Dear Captain Awkward,

All in all, it’s pretty simple: I really prefer to eat by myself at lunch. I love to read and write while I eat and not have to worry about making conversation. A little bit of time spent not working and not having to talk is heaven for me.

The problem is when I started work where I am now about six months ago, a friend from school started with me. We didn’t socialize a lot during school, but the whole thing was a huge trial by fire and we all bonded pretty firmly. So I’d consider him more than a mild acquaintance.

He hated eating alone, and so we ate together every day. I often wished I could tell him I’d rather eat alone, but I could never find a way. After he decided to switch to part time (I’m full time), I thought it would be nice to have lunch with him every other day or so, and I could occasionally have some time to myself.

But we had a new guy start. He’s a nice guy, and for the time I’ve known him I genuinely like him. I enjoy talking with him while we work in the office. But he started eating with my friend and I, and now that my friend isn’t here, I think he’s assumed we’re “lunch buddies” and that we’re always going to eat lunch with one another from now on. The fact that I don’t know him as well makes the idea of eating lunch just with him sound not-very-enjoyable, and frankly, I feel like I should be able to eat lunch by myself if I want. I’m a big introvert, but I like people, and I’ve learned to socialize and enjoy talking, but it’s EXHAUSTING, and I want a chance to be alone for an hour a day.

My family and other friends have suggested a few strategies:  Bringing my lunch (but I like to go out!), making up an elaborate excuse, sucking it up and using it as a “networking” opportunity, which is ridiculous because we all work in the same tiny room and we network plenty.

So here’s what I want: I want to let my friends know that, although I like them and enjoy their company and think they’re good dudes, I just prefer to eat alone so I can read and work on stuff on my own. Please help.

Sincerely, 
Kinda Hungry

Hello, Hungry:

BOY DO I FEEL YOU ABOUT EATING ALONE.

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