Monday, August 26, 2013

Conversations Tire Me

Conversations tire me.

There are the interesting, intense work conversations: where I talk to a business-owner about their marketing and exchange ideas. The ones where I explain to someone about what we’re doing with Markitty (and maybe they offer ideas.) Nice, exhilarating even, when they happen, but once I've disconnected the phone or walked away from the meeting I want to take a nap because I’m drained.

There are the fun conversations I have with a friend, opening up our thoughts, our worries, our histories. The kind that forge a deeper connection. So life-affirming. But still tiring.

There are the necessary conversations I have with people who care for me and want to hear from me, even when I suspect we have little in common otherwise. People who have been there for me consistently, who love me even if they don't understand me. Like my mom, a cousin, a sister-in-law. Difficult conversations, sometimes when I'm busy but not in the mood... But these are people I don't want to hurt, because they try to be there for me. So though I call far less often than I should, I call. And try to call more often when they might need it. It's not their fault that I’m such an introvert that every conversation drains me.
Susan Cain’s Quiet describes introverts as sensitive to stimuli, which makes perfect sense to me.

One way my introversion manifests itself is in my preference for making phone calls than receiving them. (Nilesh found this weird, even though he’s an introvert, but of course (being a separate person) his introversion manifests itself somewhat differently from mine.) For a while, I wondered if I was a control-freak. After reading Quiet, I realized it’s my attempt to control one aspect of the situation so I can deal with it better: choosing the time for the conversation. I am horrible at multi-tasking; I hate having something else on my mind while I'm working on something else; interruptions make it difficult for me to work. So leaving an unscheduled call unanswered and calling back when I have the mental space is easier for me.

Of course, if everyone else also did the same thing I’d never talk to anyone. I appreciate people who accept my quirk, and even my mother who freaks out when I don't answer but never guilt-trips me for it, and continues to call me without taking offence. I am grateful. I appreciate the calls. (And it’s not like I never answer, I just don't if I'm busy or sometimes just tired.)

And these are the nicer conversations. Not the ones that are difficult or scary, the ones where I don't know how they will go, whether the other person will once again trample all over my feelings. These are the ones I try to avoid.

There are of course difficult conversations that are necessary, like firing someone, or telling a friend you are scared for her, or telling your spouse you don't like something they do. Thankfully, these are few and far between for me.

Conversations are tiring. I love them, I crave them, I can't do without them, but they drain me. That's why I write: it gives me the illusion of a conversation without having to spend nearly as much the energy.

No comments: