Peopleing is exhausting.
The introverts reading this will know exactly what I mean by that. The others, who don’t, and are reading that like “huh?” – what is your secret??
I’m jealous of the people who are naturally social creatures, who can be surrounded by people all day and chitchat for hours and still feel great. I’m jealous of how easily the peopleing thing comes to them, and how they seem to have a never-ending supply of friendliness. I, on the other hand, feel like I have a limited supply, and as that drains, so does my mental energy. Peopleing is exhausting.
In saying that, I don’t mean that I don’t like people. Aside from a few ignorant arseholes, most people are pretty great. Some days do include more of those exceptions, and I catch myself groaning “ugh, I hate humans”, but overall? I do really like people. I’d have to, or else both of my jobs would be a struggle. As a bank teller, and as a yoga teacher, I spend the vast majority of my time talking and interacting with others. At the bank, I can serve upwards of a hundred customers on a busy day, carrying on a little bit of small talk with every one. Teaching yoga, I’m in the spotlight in front of a room full of students, all watching and listening to me. There’s no room for me to be the quiet, to-my-self, introvert that I naturally would be.
And I love it. More often than not, I leave work feeling a lot happier than I got there. That human interaction lifts my spirits so much more than I’d ever expect. But still, by five o’clock, or by the end of teaching a class, I. Am. Empty. I often go home and want to lie on the couch or hole up in my room and talk to no one for the rest of the night.
I think that feeling is pretty common among introverts. There’s only so much social energy in us, and we need that bit of alone time to recharge. But when we’re surrounded by extroverts who thrive on that social interaction, it’s easy to feel guilty about it.
When I attend a yoga class, that’s part of my me-time, and the last thing I want to do is engage in more small talk. I used to feel really bad about that. Everyone would be chatting away before class started, and I’d feel obliged to join in. God forbid anyone think I was unfriendly or didn’t want to talk! So I’d half-ass a conversation with whoever was next to me, all the while being slightly annoyed that they were interrupting my quiet time. Lately though, I’ve been trying to listen to my own needs a bit more; who cares about if I’m being judged! I’ll come into class, roll out my mat, and settle into child’s pose. Honestly, those few extra minutes of tuning out the world helps so much in calming me down and letting me enjoy my yoga practice. It’s my time to recharge.
For me, it’s yoga. For you, it might be music, or reading, or taking a nice long walk by yourself. Whatever it is that brings you that peace and restores your mental energy, do it. It’s self care. It’s important.
I guess I’m writing this as both an apology and explanation to the people who don’t get it (I’m not being rude, I promise!), and as a reminder to the people that do get it that it’s okay. You’re allowed to take a time out, and not feel guilty about it. You’re allowed to have a limit to how much socializing feels good, and you don’t need to feel like there’s something wrong with you for it.