You know that friend you have that you can call up at a moment’s notice with an offer to catch a movie, and be guaranteed to get a ”yes”? That friend who’s always up for something? That friend who loves to while away minutes, or even hours, e-mailing and texting and chatting about life’s oddities? That friend you can’t do without?
I am not that friend.
No, I’m the friend who turns down spontaneous offers of celebration because I’m pretty sure I have something important to do tomorrow and I need my rest. I’m the friend who, while standing with you in the middle of a crowded bar, is thinking about the book I’d rather be reading right now. I’m the friend who is not always guaranteed to be thrilled by a surprise visit at home.
I’m that type of friend not because I’m malicious or misanthropic. I actually like my friends, all three or four of them. I enjoy spending time with them, and I even occasionally enjoy meeting new friends. It’s just that I like to do so under fairly controlled circumstances.
I’m that friend because I’m an introvert and a bit of a loner. One of the gifts of growing a bit older has been the realization that it’s okay if I don’t want to spend my life living in the middle of a social whirlwind, that there’s nothing wrong with my desire to stay at home on the couch. Or in front of the computer, where I can play a massively multiplayer online game like World of Warcraft.
Solo, of course.
I have decided as of late to be a bit more proactive in my socializing and less of a loner. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, I don’t want to end up living in a cave — unless, of course, it has a good high-speed Internet connection. But allowing my loner tendencies to grow unabated may, I fear, turn me into a cranky old guy who snaps irritably at television news shows and writes angry responses to political opinion columns.
Okay, fine, I’ve already turned into that person. But if I increase my actual human interaction, there could be hope for me to return to normal. Or to at least stop watching Keith Olbermann.
Second, and more importantly, I’ve realized that I’m a loner with a husband. I assume that all couples, after a few years of living together, find themselves migrating into patterns of time together and time apart. Unfortunately, I’ve begun to realize that I’ve migrated into mostly time apart.
When Cavin and I moved into our house, he half-jokingly said he liked it because it had enough room to get away from me. Hey, I’ve lived with myself for years, I can understand the sentiment. But it turns out I’m the one with the little loner nest in the house, from which I emerge to watch Battlestar Galactica, but not much else.
So, my spring resolution — it’s as good as New Year’s to me — is to get out of the house more often, to engage my fellow man, and to embrace the idea that change begins at home. I will respond to e-mails and voice mails and Twitters alike. I will make lunch plans which I will keep. I will gladly join you for a festive happy hour to celebrate my new-found sociability.
Just be sure to give me a few days warning. You know how I am about surprises.
Sean Bugg is the co-publisher of Metro Weekly and blogs from the isolated comfort of his home at Buggblog.