If I were to live for 200 years, there would still be a number of things that I would never do. I would probably never have enough courage to go skydiving, enough money to stay in a penthouse suite in Monte Carlo, or enough time to read all the “great works of literature.” On a more mundane note, I’m also pretty positive I would also never have the balls to invite three people to dinner who have never met each other before.
There must be something fundamentally different about introverts and extroverts. While the extrovert is revitalized in the company of others, the introvert is drained of lifeforces. If the sun were social interactions then the extrovert would soak up the vitamin D and bronze under its rays, while the introvert would redden, blister, and scab. In short, extroverts and introverts are different beasts.
Not too long ago, a friend of mine, let’s call him Connor, invited me to join him for dinner. Connor, much more social than I, was already weighing a few different commitments for the weekend in question. Ultimately, we decided that I would join him on a Friday evening for dinner with his other friend. When I arrived at the restaurant, I saw Connor walk up with not one, but two others, let’s call them Leah and Parker. This was a surprise. Who are they all — old friends? Did I unwittingly become the intruder?
After making brief introductions outside the restaurant, we were quickly seated by the window and handed glossy paper menus. It was a Thai place, which for me, required more concentration than usual, as most of the dishes had unfamiliar names. After a few minutes, Connor, blurted out something along the lines of “none of you know each other.” I looked at my fellow companions confused because I now knew that any bonds I had conjured in my mind between Leah and Parker were non-existent. I could not help but find the whole situation hilarious. Connor invited three of his friends (who are total strangers to each other) to a casual dinner without preamble. The situation was like that meme that goes — “you are probably wondering why I gathered you all here.”
With this piece of information the ice was broken, and I laughed out loud. For some people – the more really is the merrier, I suppose! Being the only common denominator for a social outing seems to be a lot of work to my skittish, introverted brain. I would probably fret over whether people would get along, find common bonds, or feel comfortable with the whole scenario. Concerning myself too much with how others think is probably one reason I feel most at home when I am A-L-O-N-E.
I suspect that Connor’s friend Leah is an extrovert as well, while Parker may be an introvert. With Connor as our social glue, we had a very nice evening with conversation ranging from the practical (what do you do for work?), to the pseudo-meta practical (why do people feel compelled to ask, “what do you do for work?”), to the utterly inane (if you had two mouths and one ear, where would your uvula be?).
As a lowly introvert, the night was somewhat extraordinary for me. I had dinner with a friend and had significant interactions with two new people — gasp! For Connor, this night was probably just “nice.” He even expressed to us that this was not the first time that he gathered a group of friend-strangers for a social event. If I were to live for 200 years, I’m sure it still would not be enough time to convert me into an extrovert. But, hey, I’m glad you extroverts are out there making the world a more social place!