Finding Comfort In People

While I’m always reluctant to pigeon-hole people, most assuredly myself, it’s pretty safe to say that I’m an introvert. Less so, perhaps, than I was in my earlier years – it’s a spectrum, after all – but still an introvert.

The classic rule of thumb applies: extroverts get their energy from being around other people, introverts such as myself recharge on own own.

As I’ve written about earlier, a persistent level of anxiety has become the norm for me due to today’s political turmoil. This is new and unusual for me; I’m typically a pretty laid-back person.

It’s also lead to something else perhaps even more unusual for me.

I find myself wanting to be around other people.

The most value comes from not just any other people, of course, but people I love and trust. It doesn’t even have to be people that agree with me on everything, though birds of a feather do tend to flock together. What’s more important is that regardless of opinions on anything, I feel safe to be myself.

Naturally that’s a small crowd. (I am an introvert after all. 🙂 )  And, indeed, I’m seeking out ways to connect with them, in person, more frequently than in times past.

There’s a second tier, though, and it perhaps surprises me the most.

I’m finding it occasionally reassuring to be around people in general, even people I don’t know or know well.

This can be as simple as “hanging out” at a crowded Starbucks; I might recognize the baristas (and often vice versa), and some of the “regulars”, but these are mostly people that I couldn’t even call acquaintances. I find myself making more of an effort to engage. Idle chitchat while waiting for my quad-grande-Americano, perhaps.

It can be as complex as making that extra effort to attend an otherwise optional monthly meeting of one of the volunteer organizations to which I belong.

It can be as complex as resuming bi-weekly platelet donation in such a way that I “reward” myself at a local brewpub with beer, a snack, and some more friendly faces.

Left to my own introverted devices I’d be more anxious and more stressed here at home. Something, and I don’t know what, is pulling me to “get out more”, as the saying goes.

I think it’s a good thing for a variety of reasons. I just wish it didn’t take political catastrophe to make it happen.

Based on what I see, hear, and read, I suspect it’s something that more people might need as well.