Alone again, naturally

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!

6 thoughts on “Alone again, naturally

  1. I know I am an introvert IRL. I just have not thought of myself so in game, until I read this. This is the reason I find it hard to stick with guilds, I always end up feeling that it is a hassle to be in one, the commitment and forcing to log on and do stuff annoys me. And often just leave and go to another server and play by myself. Until the moment I don’t want to be alone, and I go through the same process of finding a guild, staying for a little while and then leave again.

    Guess I should just do as you and take my alone times, and just play totally by myself. I can even turn of guildchat or something, this would probably help me stick it out in the long run instead of leaving every time I wanna play solo.

    Hope you find a balance 🙂 I hope I will too!

  2. @Missy’s Mojo — Angela always teases me (in a good-natured way) when I say I’m going to join a guild in an MMO, because she knows the pattern. I get excited about a game then often spend a TON of time trying to find the ‘right’ guild. Then I finally join, maybe going through an application process to get in, and I’m happy for about 2 days, then I either create a new character on another server or just stop playing because I feel this weird obligation to ‘be social’ every time I log in.

    I’m slowly, slowly getting better. I don’t think most people really mind when we log in and just stick to ourselves, and maybe it’s worth just explaining ourselves on the guild’s forum or something, that sometimes we just like to go off by ourselves.

    Thanks for the comment. It’s always nice to know there are other people who’re in a similar situation to the one I’m in! Good luck to you!

    1. Yeah I think I need to explain this to my two guilds and I will be in a way more happier state, and then they will understand as well 🙂 Going to link to this post on my weekly roundup tomorrow, and link that to guilds so they can read 🙂

  3. It’s perfectly natural for anyone to not feel like being social. Even the most social people in the world need some time to themselves to recharge.

    I don’t know if I’d consider you “anti-social” Pete. You just need more time to recharge is all.

  4. Often when I’ve taken personality tests they always make out that the further down the introversion scale you are the more aloof you appear to other people; I really disagree and I’ve met many introverts who are friendly and fun to talk to. I think introverts just like to socialize in their own way. I don’t think of myself as anti-social just because I’m an introvert. I actually enjoy being out with like minded people, even to the point that I look forward to it. I generally prefer to have fewer friends that I get to know really well rather than to be really popular and hang out in large groups. I tend to prefer deeper meaningful conversations to making small talk. I also tire quickly so sometimes I have to leave early to recharge my batteries. I think I get overwhelmed really easily so sometimes I just have to shut out the outside world all of it. I think with social networking and phones its become even harder to get that much needed alone time than it use to be, but good friends should hopefully always understand. I find it really difficult in MMOs when I just want to play alone for a while and I can’t find a way to politely get people to go away.

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