It’s been a long day. I like you – I really do! I enjoy talking to you, because I rarely get to talk to actual adults these days. I’m normally chasing after my children and dropping a line or two into your conversation, so it’s a nice change.
I feel like I have to tell you this though, in case you didn’t already notice. Peopling is really hard for me. I analyze every facial expression, the nuance of the words you use, and the body language you probably don’t even notice you’re making. You see, I have to. If I don’t try really hard, I miss something critical and misunderstand what you said. Or worse, I understand what you meant but don’t take your words at face value.
It’s a lot of work. It’s demanding, and it requires an insane amount of mental energy just to act “normal.” If you’re an introvert too, you might understand how draining it is. You might be thinking the same thing – “I need a break!”
So even though I like you a lot, I need some space. I need to rest, to let my brain veg out and mentally watch Netflix for a while. I need silence. Like that’s going to happen around 3 little kids! Silence is a precious commodity around here.
It’s hard being an introvert who struggles with peopling. It’s even harder as a homeschool mom, expected to foster social opportunities for my kids and model good social interactions. A good social interaction for me is one that doesn’t randomly offend someone, but I know that my kids need more than that. So I try. I try really hard.
I’m not going to apologize for skipping your event that you carefully planned. I never said I would go, of course, and when it came down to the wire I realized that we’re overbooked this week. I need time to recharge. I need time at home, or I cannot function outside of the house.
I had a class to teach today, and that’s even harder for me. I’m on display, trying to manage something that’s an impossible task for me. I do NOT like public speaking, even to a small class of children. The anxiety flows freely and my tongue manages to wrap itself around my teeth and trap the words.
So after my class, the only thing I can think of is “just leave me alone.” I tell the kids “mommy needs a minute.” I tell my husband “I need a break.” I’m perilously close to meltdown for no particular reason, because my body has taken all the sensory overload it can handle for now. The noise, the talking, the demands on my multiple personalities as mom, teacher, and artist: it’s overwhelming.
I’ve worked out how to manage this, but I can’t help feeling like a failure. I should be able to go out into the world and flourish. I might need time to myself to recharge, but I shouldn’t be so drained and worn down after just a few hours of being around people. So please, don’t take it personally. It’s me, not you.
I like you. I just don’t want to be around you. I hope you understand?