You know what’s funny? And not funny in the literally-laugh-out-loud or weird way, but funny in a huh-sometimes-we-have-really-different-ideas-on-certain-things sort. But do you know what’s funny in a huh-sometimes-we-have-really-different-ideas-on-certain-things way? The number of friends/acquaintances I’ve spent time with in the past couple months who expect me to have more than one plan in a single night.
Let me set the scene: It’s early summer evening–early enough where the sun is looking hazy, like it might go down soon, but still emits rays of heat on full blast, like it’s mid-afternoon. A friend and I are hunkered down in a favorite local eatery, chatting around bites of food, because food, always. Or maybe we’re strolling around a neighborhood or the downtown enjoying the scenery or general ambiance while talking about everything and nothing. Then about an hour into our quality time together, my friend will inquire, “So, what else do you have going on tonight?”
That’s when I pause. My mind comes to a halt.
WHAT?! Are you really asking me this? Does my introversion mean nothing? I mean, maybe they’re perfectly aware of my antisocial tendencies and simply have high hopes for my introvert self. But if that’s not the case. Then what about the time? Sure, we started hanging out in the early evening, but depending how early, it could be nearly or after 8 now. What in the world would I be doing after 8 on a school/work/week night? Oh yeah, after we get done here I’m just going to go over to my other friend’s house for a second dinner. Or go grocery shopping for this week’s supplies (actually, that’s not a bad idea–late night grocery shopping is significantly less people-y). In any regard, I’m really curious as to what my friend has in mind for a late work night plan. I can bet whatever unplanned thing I’d be doing after we part ways for the night would likely not match their ideal (think: reading a riveting novel, watching an old favorite movie with my brother, writing down my thoughts for the day, etc.).
Realizing the introversion and, perhaps, middle-aged person (for not making social plans after 8 pm) evident in my would-be response, I’m usually at a bit of a loss on what to say, despite being asked this more and more often. Aside from my inner-turmoil, I pause, taken off guard, and, hem and haw, amounting my plans of introvert relief to “not much”. And then my friend usually takes me out from under the microscope and steers the conversation to something else.
Perhaps it’s presumptuous of me to think whomever I’m hanging out with to know better than to ask this question. But I’d like to think if I consider us friends and we’re hanging out, that they’d know a few things about my social needs. I mean, I’m pretty vocal about them if you haven’t figured out already.
For one thing, I am an introvert, and a pretty extreme one at that despite my default jovial setting when placed in social situations with people I know/like. So when I do make plans, I am committed to those plans, and likely will have nothing else going on that night so as to recuperate afterwards. How many social plans do you really need in one night? Honestly. People can be great, but I can only take so much. I usually have to psyche myself up for one hang out session–do you really think I could really handle multiple engagements in one night? That I could maintain my Awesome Quinn persona for so long with so many different social situations? You do? Well, thanks for having so much faith in me. But no. No no. After we’re done here, I’m going to go home and recover from people by myself.
For another, my close friends–specifically my childhood best friend (Going on 15 years now! :D)–tend to hang out for longer periods of time. A few hours to an entire day (though not all the time) is pretty typical for us. If we have plans to hang out sometime in the afternoon, more than likely we won’t part ways until bedtime. Part of it’s just because we’re so fond of each other (I mean, being friends I’d hope so…), but I another part of it is we don’t get to see each other as often with school and work and other Grown Up Responsibilities. So when we spend time together, we make the most of it. But as I said/wrote, this is common of all my close friends. And my close friends (or at least those I consider close) are really my only friends. As in the only people with whom I spend copious amounts of time outside of my family. So, to me, hanging out for three or four or eight hours is totally normal (“normal”). It doesn’t occur to me anyone else’s reality could be different, until…
WHAT ELSE DO YOU HAVE GOING ON TONIGHT???
Until next time, Friends!