Reply To: NeFi's with Social Anxiety

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Shelley Lorraine
  • Type: NeFi
  • Development: ll--
  • Attitude: Seelie

So to give a behavioral example, cognitive introversion might seen in the act of reading a paragraph of a book and needing to sit there mulling over that paragraph for an hour to try to grasp how it fits into one’s existing framework or shapes it in subtle ways. Extroversion would be the act of breezing through the whole book in a few hours due to being “engaged with the object”.

And I begin with a derail from the get go XD Don’t worry, I’ll swing back around to topic. But I have to comment on this, because this example doesn’t apply to me. Eric, Si lead, breezes through books like no body’s business. He doesn’t stop to highlight, ponder, write in the margins, absorb the beautiful poetry of language in slow motion.

Then there’s me, ostensibly an Ne lead ;p and I am a very very slow reader. I am physically capable of reading 275+ wpm, but I spend a lot of time pondering, especially in texts that are emotionally heavy. I wallow in the weight of the words. I stop to write notes, to interact with the author, and to “grasp how it fits into [my] existing framework.”

Ok, now onto topic. Social anxiety:

Are any of you NeFi’s with social anxiety? What’s it like having a combination of natively proactive energy, but difficulties interfacing with people?

I have long considered myself a social introvert until very recently. After all my deep soul searching and the conversations inspired by my time with this CT group, I am reconsidering. I haven’t lost my social anxiety, but I am more aware of what triggers it. I can chat it up all night with people I “get” – my peers, hobby groups, etc. And afterwards, I don’t need the recoup period that Eric needs. I feel energized by the experience.

However, even among my “own people” I have a history of shy behavior. I try to be noticed, but struggle to make contact. I take full advantage of any bone thrown my way to get things rolling, but if I get no lead into participation, it can still be a struggle. I don’t feel anxiety in these cases though, just a lack of self-confidence.

The anxiety sets in when among the generic muggle masses or groups of people far removed from my peer groups. I love people. I wish I could interact with them all. It pains me when I play for a recital at a home for the elderly, and everyone else freely interacts with the residents while I creep around in dark corners after the performance, possible serving ice cream or making myself otherwise busy. I would love sooo much to be like my mother (tentatively popcorn typed as a NeFi – but she is textbook extrovert and can connect with people like no one else I know). I want to make those connections. The romantic ideal of hearing stories of old from people generations older than me…. but, I don’t know how. I don’t have the social toolset. And this is what causes the anxiety. When I feel alien, I freeze up. I will return home with a headache, a stomach ache, often both. I’ll need that rest and recoup period that introverts need.

Out in general plebeian space, the anxiety isn’t as much feeling alien (though I still do), it’s more the excessive input of stimuli from all directions that wears me down – a physical exhaustion caused by overworking my learned-but-not-natural social behaviors (nb. I have a diagnosed ASD). I have learned much of the social tools necessary to navigate a day at the mall. The smiles and waves, the courteous replies to three hundred fifty two sales people asking if I need assistance, the thanks but no thanks I must give all the kiosk traps along the way. But by the time I return home, all I can think is that I will never go to the mall again. It’s exhausting. It’s not the same kind of anxiety I have when obliged to strike up a conversation with an elder or someone I don’t otherwise relate to.

I feel obliged to comment on my typing video, for anyone who may remember it, wherein I said that in high school, I was happy so long as people noticed my ridiculous attempt at making a show of myself, but I didn’t need interpersonal connections. A lot of my attitude there is of a “well, fine, I didn’t want the tasty brownie with sprinkles anyway!!” sort. I mean, I wasn’t terribly broken up about it, I had my internal world and made the best of it, but I wouldn’t have minded more inclusion and interpersonal connection ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

ETA – lol, I just noticed I’m not the first to respond to the book example first XD


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