I require a good bit of “me” time. That’s “by myself” time without needing to be nice to anyone. I’m not real good at being nice for a long time. Unless you are a cat…or a dog….or even a rabbit. I could do gerbils, hamsters and birds too for that matter. Just not people.
I have a dear friend who introduced me to her 90 minute rule. She’s also an introvert. When she gets an invitation, she thinks of it as short commitment. There is no stress. You can do anything for 90 minutes. Then she goes home.
She leaves them wanting more. Everyone thinks she is out-going – the wild and crazy kind – but she’s not. Keeping it brief keeps the illusion. She is a manufactured extrovert. We do that to be successful in life but it doesn’t change our innards.
I get energized when I’m around people but it’s exhausting. Depending on the level of connection it’s either intoxicating (that would be without alcohol) or downright work. Did you ever have to be nice to someone for hours on end? *whacks head on desk*
I need my down time to recover. Lots of it.
People go into two groups — my two-hour friends which includes a lot of people (most of them I like a lot) and people I could actually live with (very short list partly because no one would want to live with me).
We’ve recently done a lot of socializing. Most of it was fun. Only one event got truly tedious and it was one that I didn’t control. I was entertaining at my house for what I thought was a regular (read that to mean two hour) visit. We ran damn close to five hours.
It was painful revisiting the same topics. Could it be that I was the only one that noticed the conversation lagged and sagged and repeated itself? Do I have supernatural powers that others don’t? No, I just have less patience.
I did all the socially-accepted gestures to “wrap it up.” Nothing worked. When I was about to announce that I was going to bed (leaving the beloved husband to sort it all out), they went home.
It’s a casual friend I like but they fall in my two-hour group. Next time we meet, we are going out to dinner. It’s hard to make that last forever. (Hairy eyeballs from waiters losing tips, cranky coughs from people in the waiting line, lots of signals that it’s time to end it…)
How about you? What is too long for you?
PS: This doesn’t necessarily (although it could) include events with an activity like a concert or play or picnic. You don’t have to be nice during that! Picnics usually have enough people who you can rotate and seem interesting to all. (It’s a skill!)
PPS: For those that think this is cow pucky, I suggest you read Quiet by Susan Cain. It is eye-opening.
PPS: This is for Louise and Fred (especially Louise) who totally understand me (even when the beloved husband is perplexed). They have taught me ghosting but that’s another post.