For the past week or two I’ve been surprising both myself and my friends by being a social gamer. I’ve been doing dungeons in PUGs in Final Fantasy XIV, joined a Free Company (Guild) and have actually been interacting with other members, joined a link shell, added some random folks I’ve met to my friends list. On the console side I’ve been playing Diablo 3 with friends.
I will begrudgingly admit that hell isn’t always other people. Sometimes other people are really fun to hang around with, and playing in groups is a very different experience than playing solo.
But I’m still an introvert in the most technical sense of the word. Let me explain. The best definition of an introvert that I’ve found is that an introvert ‘recharges’ by being alone; s/he expends energy being around other people and gains it from solitude. An extrovert is the exact opposite. They get energized by being around other people and if they spend too much time alone their batteries start to run down.
Yesterday I was really tired. I have a lot of trouble sleeping and it’s often the case that by the end of the work week I feel like I’m running on fumes. After dinner I fired up the PS4 and was going to jump into Diablo 3. I checked my friends list to see who was playing and some friends were. And suddenly I found myself shutting the console off again. I went looking for friends to play with but when I found some I felt this weight settle around my shoulders and it seemed like playing with them would just be exhausting.
Then I went upstairs and logged into Final Fantasy XIV and for the first time, didn’t say hello to my Free Company. Nor did I queue for anything. I just quietly did some solo questing until it was time for bed. I ran into a few friends in the world but sorta pretended I didn’t notice them, which was pretty harsh, I’ll admit.
I felt pretty crappy about this when I was pondering my day waiting for sleep to come. I felt like I’d back-slid into my old ways.
But today I feel better about it. I am who I am and if I need alone time sometimes, well, that’s just the way it is. I think…. no, I KNOW my real friends will understand. I have this bad way of looking at everything in terms of black and white and the fact is I’m sure everyone is some shade of grey. I bet even the most extroverted people have times when they just feel like being alone, and as an introvert there’s just no way I’ll be happy if I put myself ‘out there’ all the time.
I just need to make sure I find a comfortable shade of grey where I am social some times and solo other. To make sure I don’t completely give up on being social and making (and keeping!) friends; it’s far too easy for me to completely tune out the rest of humanity. I work from home so I can easily go a week or more not speaking to anyone but Angela and the dog, and as much as I adore them both, that’s just not healthy. I do ‘talk’ to a lot of folks on social networks but that’s not real time and so it seems to stimulate a different part of my brain or something… The point being this is kind of ‘bigger’ than just games. Right now games are my primary vector for socializing, so I damned well better use them for that!