I saw my therapist today... and the main topic that came up was me coming to terms with being an introvert.
"But you chose theater... which is an interesting challenge for an introvert" she said.
I do have a combination of social anxiety and introversion. I learned that YES there is a difference.
Social Anxiety: I get antsy and lock up in large groups of people, particularly if I don't know any of them.
Introvert: I can only take being with large groups of people for so long before I feel drained.
I came across a few articles online about introversion, and the notion about being DRAINED around people, and wanting to be alone to recharge really hit me.
I can be around people I adore and know well... but I still need to escape after an hour or so... I literally get fatigued around people. Unfortunately, this has marked me as a snob, or a "freak"... and therefore, no one wants to hang out with me anymore. I can deal with people one on one... perhaps two on one, but that's pushing it a bit. However, college, and theater are both very SOCIAL and GROUP ORIENTED places. Therefore, my therapist's comment on my introversion being a challenge given my career choices are totally founded.
However, when I'm working... (like right now, with a cast of 20!) I'm fine. For some odd reason, I just dont' mind it. I love it, in fact. I mean, there is a huge difference between a rehearsal and a social gathering. Plus I have a JOB, a specific TASK at hand in rehearsal... in a social/group setting... I don't have a place... I tend to wander... try to slip in a word here and there... try to be witty and funny... most times I don't do too well, but I'll be content sitting and watching and listening. But even still, I have to escape and be alone for a while.
What's up with THAT noise?
None-the-less, my therapist and I have decided to WORK on my introversion. That isn't to say we're working on turning me to an EXTROVERT... but rather, dealing with my introversion and not putting myself down, but still be able to make meaningful connections with people in spite of not wanting to hang out in large groups.
It's funny though. Now that I realize that it has a name... and that I'm not the only one... and that it isn't "wrong"... I feel better about it. I just wish that there wasn't such a stigma against it. Right now, I would love to go hang out with the people at the bar (even if I don't drink) and just talk and have fun... but the fact is, I can't STAND it. I want to find connections and friendships... but with huge groups of people like that, I'd go NUTS...
How is it possible to go make friends and connect with people when you can't stand being in large groups?!
I look around and see people who have only been here for two weeks or so, and already they're making these connections and friendships with others... I sit and watch them hug and talk... and I'm envious. It's just another day of being on the outside looking in, and I'm so frustrated about it, I want to tear my hair out.
Granted, I'm not here in Grad School to make friends... however, 90% of the jobs out there are given to people by their FRIENDS... therefore, I have no chance of getting a job outside of college, because truth be told, I have no friends.
It's a vicious circle. I have no friends, and therefore am filled with anxiety to hang out with anyone new... and so I make no friends... and so on....
Sometimes making a meaninful connection with another human being feels impossible.