The Fast Food Analogy - Why Is It So Hard To Understand I Just Don't Need You!!

Periodically throughout my past I have had people tell me that my "isolating" was not healthy and I should make more of an effort to socialize. Now, for the first 3/4 of my life I tried to do just that and it made me sick in many ways (depression, anxiety, alcohol abuse...etc).

I finally realized over the last few years that what it came down to was that I was simply an extreme introvert and it was time to adjust my life accordingly.

But try telling that to the many people out there who just don't get it. Who don't use introspection to learn who they are. People who don't know about introversion/extroversion. I actually went to rehab and had counselors telling me I needed to stop isolating. At that point I hadn't quite figured out how to tell them I wasn't isolating - I was recharging (you try living with 20-some girls 24/7 and see how much you want to mingle as an introvert).

Anyway, I finally came up with a way to explain myself to people who JUST don't get it:

I like to refer to my need for social stimulation in terms of fast food. All I want is a hamburger while other people want a whole Big Mac meal. If I ate the whole meal, it would make me sick. It's the same with people: I can only handle a little bit of socializing, if I do too much, it makes me sick (anxious, overwhelmed, drained).

Take it a step further: There are very few people I feel comfortable with (I can count them on one hand)...everyone else just doesn't do it for me. So out of the whole McDonalds menu I only like hamburgers and apple pies. I don't WANT a Big Mac, Fillet o Fish, snack wrap....etc. I've tried them all and I DON'T LIKE THEM!

Same can be said for people. I have met, socialized, befriended many different types of people over the years and the majority of them left me exhausted! I finally learned that I needed to stick to hamburgers and apple pies because they're the only things that nourish and energize me.

In short, there is nothing wrong with only liking hamburgers and apple pies. There is also nothing wrong with the frequency in which you eat them. To each their own, right?
mainstreamrenegade mainstreamrenegade
36-40, F
5 Responses Nov 29, 2012

Well you sound like you have what you want / need these days .

I have not read your other posts.

Bob

Ya, pretty much :) It's kinda cool - I've chosen to look at my hard times, come to terms with them and realize they make me the person I am today - and I like who I am.

Were you raised in a family where addiction might have been present ?

No, but my mom was mentally ill and my dad was a bit absentee due to his work. I was a self-soothing baby and just never really developed that sense of security with anyone. I learned to be TOO independent...lol. But that's the past. I've already worked out my mommy/daddy issues.

Have you done any reading on "social anorexia" and / or "social anxiety" ?

I share these comments in the interest of offering insights only.

Take care. Be well.

Definitely not social anorexia - I don't deprive myself of socializing, I need little to be healthy. As for social anxiety - oh ya - have had it since I was a kid (though didn't self-identify until my late 20's).

Though since I have accepted myself as quite the introvert my social anxiety has decreased dramatically. I no longer go out into the world trying to be like other people (who mostly act extroverted whether they are or not). I am shaping my environment to suit my needs rather than trying to fit in to environments that I'm just not comfortable with. Perfect example, I used to work in customer care for years...wondered why I always had such a hard time mentally/emotionally. My current job requires about 5% human interaction - haven't felt worn down since...

have you done any reading on the Autism Spectrum Disorder ?

LOL...funny thing is I actually identify with a lot of the the Asperger traits...though I don't fall into the spectrum. My nephew is a high functioning autistic (he's 4) and I wish more people were like him!!

Absolutely nothing wrong with being an introvert. Being an introvert has its benefits I find. You don't seem to need people surrounding you all the time, in fact people tend to distract and exhaust you when all you want to do is chill.

It can be unhealthy sometimes, but sometimes it is just what we need. I totally understand what you mean by needing to recharge. You know what I'd like to do after a hard days work? I'd just like to be alone with my thoughts. No interruptions, no noise, just peace and quiet. That to me is a far better stress reliever than going out for a night in the town.

We are all different as human beings. Introverts are just as necessary in this world we live in. Without introverts we probably wouldn't have scientists and researchers who have to spend the majority of their time alone. We wouldn't have philosophers and deep thinkers who often need to be alone with their thoughts.

Nope, being an introvert is not bad at all. Once I found out what I was it was a lot easier for me to accept myself and my personality. To embrace all the wonderful things about introversion. Learning new skills etc. Ironically, as soon as I stopped trying to fit in I had no problem fitting in, because I didn't care whether I fitted in or not.

It is hard of course because I think more often than not introverts are misunderstood and sometimes not well liked because they do not seem warm or approachable. We might seem moody and what not, sometimes we are. But that's just who we are.

You hit the nail on the head - especially those last 2 paragraphs. We have succeeded in celebrating our introversion, now we need the rest to just PLEASE get it! LOL. Ya, we're not grumpy, negative people...we just live more inside our heads than our verbal counterparts.

You're right too about the fitting in thing - I think being comfortable with yourself, no matter what your personality/temperament, is the key to meshing with society. Not thinking of yourself as shameful cuz you're not like other people.