When we were growing up, the worst punishment my parents could think of for one of my sisters was to make her go to her room and close the door. She’d last five, maybe 10 minutes before they’d see the door stealthily drift open a hair’s width. To her, kiddie solitary confinement was pure torture; my other sister wasn’t a fan of it, either.
Even I managed to eventually do something that warranted punitive action—I know, unimaginable, right?—so Mom did what had worked so well in the past: marched a kid to his bedroom, closed the door, and …
“FOUR HOURS LATER, I finally came to see what you were doing,” she recalls. “I opened the door, and there you were just sitting there reading, happy as a clam. I don’t even think you remembered that you had been in trouble.”
I never outgrew that. A few weekends ago, I spoke to a total of five people. Two of them were baristas, one was the guy who runs my favorite Thai food place, and another was the woman who took my breakfast order at Phoenix Public Market. So my sole conversations were with Mr. Brooks, and they clocked in at about 15 minutes.
It was delightful.
There are tons of quizzes and funny posts about introverts, as well as reassurances to parents of quiet kids (and to the adults themselves). But not all introverts are hardcore solitudinarians—(I can’t believe that I just managed to pull that word out of my … I mean, out of the ether)—who would relish 60 straight hours of hermitage. Most just need a little time to recharge before venturing back out into the social world.
I happen to be particularly good at saying “no” if I’m invited to something that doesn’t sound as good as staying in.* Maybe a little too good at it. I had to make my New Year’s resolution that I would say “yes” to more things that I would normally say “no” to. It’s less about FOMO and more about knowing that if I’m not careful, I could turn into the next Huguette Clark. (Step 1: Inherit a few hundred million dollars …)
* I recently took a freelance assignment for some brief articles, and the topic of one of them was how to say no to people. “They found the perfect person,” my friend said when I told him about the gig. “Did they do that on purpose?”
|WHAT SAM WORE: 8-15-14|
|The shirt: Cotton button-down, from J. Crew.|
|The pants: Slim-fit cotton jeans, from Saks Off 5th.|
|The shoes: Chukka boots by RJ Colt, from Last Chance.|