There’s an overwhelming pressure from society to be social. To be connected to everyone all the time. Social media connects us to our friends, family, and acquaintances 24/7. Being alone is seen as negative. If you aren’t part of the crowd, there’s something wrong with you.
Society’s extrovert ideal (as mentioned in Susan Cain’s book, Quiet) glorifies the social. The big parties, the huge crowds, the loud experiences. When you don’t embrace the social events, you tend to stick out. You get comments like, “but it’ll be fun” and “what’s wrong with you” and “you’ll be missing out”. Trust me, I won’t be missing out on anything. If I go, I’ll become an angry ball of frustration by the end of the night, and nobody wants that.
Introverts don’t find fulfilment the same way extroverts do. Introverts aren’t typically drawn to the same kinds of activities that extroverts are. I prefer a quiet activity with friends. Going for a walk along the river, stopping by a coffee shop, or window shopping along a quaint street. I crave a more personal activity that allows me to connect with my friends. I enjoy seeing them in a relaxed environment and discovering what’s important to them.
But here’s the paradox. Although my preferred environment is quiet and controlled, it doesn’t mean its the only thing I enjoy. I love concerts, conventions, and other people-filled events. I love summer festivals and go to as many as I can. But here’s the difference: I can’t enjoy festivals like an extrovert. I have to do it my own way.
There are a few preparations I need to make before attending a loud/noisy/crowded event. I need to store up energy the day before so I won’t be instantly overwhelmed once I arrive. This usually means hours of alone time and quiet the day before. I need a good night’s sleep and I need to eat a large breakfast/lunch. I’ll plan out breaks if I need to take them and bring snacks and water so I don’t get over-stimulated and hungry (worst combination ever). I also take public transit or my own vehicle to the event. This means I can leave when I need to, rather than waiting on someone else. I’ll usually spend a few hours at the event, then once I’ve filled my “crowd quota”, I’ll head back home to recharge and reflect.
What are your favourite summertime things to do? How do you prepare?