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09 January, 2009

The price of being an extravert

There is really only so much time in a day. In a week. In a month. In a year. In a lifetime.

Being an extravert, I tend to fill much of this time in social engagements. Perhaps to a fault, at times. I would rather hang out with people than do just about anything personal. The only time I seem to want to be alone is when I have things I am supposed to be doing, but do not want to do. I'll refrain from providing examples of such things.

But sometimes, I have this tendency, in my quest to "fill time" of starting to spend time engaging in social interactions that are not all that rewarding, with people with whom I do not have very much similarity or compatibility. To clarify here, I am not referring to any recent relationships that I have had. In fact, the connections I have had in my relationships have almost always been very satisfying socially. The ending of these relationships was more related to incompatibilities in the relationship, not due to the absence of much closeness, friendship, and great conversation.

It's just that every so often, I feel like I start getting into social situations that are leading me nowhere, and centering around discussions, behaviors, practices that are contrary to my own best interests. On one hand, I think it's due to the extreme extraversion. If you want to watch TV all the time, you need to watch some bad programs, so to speak. But I also think it is an avoidance of engaging in deep, meaningful connections with people in my life. In that sense, the analogy would be that hanging out with a close friend is like reading a good book, whereas some of these social engagements are like watching reality TV. It fills the time, but you're left with not much other than a slightly decreased sense of self-respect.

But...

Isn't there something to be said for just having fun? Yes, of course. But I guess I would like to think that special times and bonding is occurring with people with whom I share more than just space on this planet. For example, people who want to talk about serious issues, or debate ideas, or care about each other in more than a transient way. And I do not even impose the constraint that these need to be like-minded individuals. I have one or two friends who are fundamentally in opposition to me on many major issues. But there is still a seriousness, and intent, and concern in our relationships that make the time well invested for me. People who are different can teach us more than those who are the same.

Not sure where I am going with this. I guess I was just thinking about choices that I make.

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