I am animated and spirited! My smile is set on repeat, I'm talking "cheese", not just a smirk. I not only speak to strangers but also engage in full scale conversations with everyone from the Food 4 Less cashier to elderly ladies shopping at the second hand stores I frequent. You'll find me dragging my husband to the center of the dance floor at every celebratory event. Some "may" even categorize my voice as loud. I attract men and women alike (in platonic manner). I'm warm, approachable, and sincerely enjoy people. So naturally when I don't return an aspiring friend's call for a week, or when I begin my closing remarks 20 minutes into what was obviously intended to be a 2 hour dialogue, people become confused.

 

Allow me to first blame my family unit. I have a husband and 3 daughters (2 toddlers and a teenager), and they have a standing appointment with my evenings and my weekends. And because I work remotely, to avoid childcare cost, my toddlers have my days as well (I squeeze my writing in between their needs). I barely have time to call my mother and sister (who I actually do want to talk to). So when someone wants to hold me captive to my cell for an hour, or ask me to sacrifice my full tank of gas... just to "hang" or chat...I find it near impossible to accommodate them.  And then when I do have a moment to myself, I like to spend it by myself.

 

I have had the same best friend since 8th grade (16 years), and I thank God that her attitude (in this regard) is a replica of my own. She enjoys her family time and alone time. We haven't been together everyday since college, we haven't spoken daily since we became wives. A call may be placed twice a week (3 tops) and it's usually not just to say hello. One of us is ticked off, looking for advice, or telling a humorous tale.

 

I think it's also vital to note,  average lady chatter (which I have partaken in, witnessed, or experienced) often bores me, lbs. I have tried many times, but I'm simply not into it. I recently realized I had passed this trait down to my 13 year old daughter upon receiving complaints from grandparents,  as to the lack of calls received from her.  She said to me, "Mom, I want to call...but I'm just not a phone person". She is not spewing excuses (she never talks on the phone) not even with her friends. In person, she is funny, articulate, and a favorite in most group settings. But when she says good-bye, she means it. She is an artist, a fellow writer-- as well as a painter-- and she prefers to spend her time honing her skills, and watching animated series from Japan.

 

So what do I do with the irritation directed at both she and I? Do we need to explain who we are and why we are that way? Are we required to apologize every time we encounter a, "you never call" comment? Will  friends, family, and associates ever understand? If so, will the understanding be coupled with a negative connotation? Is compromise possible?

 

I believe compromise is possible as long as it doesn't require constant sacrifice on our end. Yes, we want to spend time with those who would like to spend time with us, but we must not be pressured into becoming someone we are not, in order to people please. I can call my dad and listen to him talk for an hour tomorrow. But when he calls back the next three days in a row to continue, I may not be available. I will gladly attend on occasional girl's night out. But no, I won't commit to attending anything weekly. And my daughter will navigate this issue and others as she sees fit (with my guidance of course).

 

If I had to identify a lesson is all this I would say...

 

To the person seeking a more involved relationship: If you are fond of someone, let them be themselves. If they trust you, share with you, care about your opinion, and respect you- you are significant in their life;  even if these occasions are not occurring as often as you would like or in the manner you prefer.

 

To the person that wants to fly solo-- consider the feelings of those reaching out. However, don't transform your life or scrap YOUR priorities to simply be more available (ESPECIALLY if you have an immediate family in need of your attention). As with all things, balance is crucial.

 

Are you an extroverted introvert? Are you the life of the party while out? But quickly begin the countdown to going back in?

 

Alright I’m done :-)


K Gordon