Fighting the hermit mode tendencies

Before I moved to Maine I was for all intents and purposes a hermit. I would go out occasionally, but it had to be for something good with ample notice. It would take me so long to psyche myself up for an evening out that I basically had to force myself to go in spite of really, really, REALLY not wanting to. Afterwards I would feel like it wasn’t the worst way to spend an evening, but it certainly wasn’t the best.

Hermit
THIS is the best way to spend an evening

Later I realized that it wasn’t so much about me being a hermit as it was the events I was attending. I hated going to parties of high school friends forced to socialize with people with whom I had no common ground. I hated going to noisy, crowded bars with a large group of people, and never getting to talk to someone without yelling in their ear. Some people like this kind of social atmosphere, but I am not one of them.

I much prefer to talk to people one-on-one or in a small group. I like to actually sit down, speak at a normal volume, and discuss real things. It took me a while to figure out that I am a social person, just a different kind.

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As the summer winds down I was looking forward to getting back into my hermit mode under the excuse of the cold, crappy weather coming. And now that I’m in New England? Forget it! Bring on the fleece blankets, fuzzy socks, and hot chocolate! I’m not going anywhere!

However this Maine experience is about so much more than just living in Maine. It’s about putting myself out there, doing the things that scare me, and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. With that in mind I started looking at activities that I would actually like to do—something that is social, but my definition of social.

So I signed up for a few things:

  • Volunteering at the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland. There’s no better way to go out, do some good, and deal with my favorite kind of living beings—animals!
  • Joining the social committee at work. I figured I should probably socialize with humans as well. My company recently put together a Social Committee to organize after-hour social events. It’s not usually my kind of thing, but I couldn’t ignore the timing.
  • Joining a book club. Small groups of people who love to read and get together to discuss books? I’m so there!
  • Taking an art class. This has been in the back of my mind for a while. There’s a local gallery that offers oil painting classes taught by one of their artists so of course I had to sign up. Yes, it’s the costliest social thing I’ve signed up for, but I believe it will be well worth it.

My hermit mode tendencies are still there. I still prefer an evening in with my dog over a night out any day, but if the event is actually something that interests me it makes it a lot easier to say ‘yes’ to.

Is it difficult for you to resist the hermit mode tendencies? What social events are worth it to you?

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6 Comments

  1. Steph! It sounds like you have come such a long way since arriving in Maine, and your personal growth seems so rich. Awesome! I love that you have a plan for socializing and particularly like the idea of volunteering at a pet shelter. Curious to see how that turns out.

    This is rings such a bell of familiarity with me. I definitely have hermit tendencies. Balance is the key it seems in my world, and I sometimes just need some time to recharge. Nothing wrong with a night with a good book and tea, and it can even make you feel LESS hermit- like, as you are practicing self care.

    I so appreciate your posts, and am wishing you a fabulous fall season in New England!

    • Thanks, Melissa! I really feel like I’ve grown a lot, too. I’ve wanted to volunteer at a pet shelter for a long time, but always worry that I’m going to end up taking all the puppies home with me! It’s still a risk, but I feel like I can handle it now. We’ll see…
      You’re absolutely right–balance IS key. It also help us appreciate those nights in if we don’t do it every night.
      I gotta say I really enjoy reading your blog, and your illustrations are lovely! They’re so whimsy and fun. They instantly bring a smile to face whenever I see them. 🙂

  2. Haha, a lot of what you typed describes or has described me during my life. I don’t strive to be the center of attention in anything and although i’m much better at it than I was when I was younger, I still don’t enjoy large group settings. I’ve basically lost interest in going to bars a long time ago, but when I would go, the only time I actually enjoyed it was when it was closer to closing time and the place had thinned out or if it was a small bar that wasn’t overly noisy. I definitely prefer a small, core group of friends and talking in small groups or one on one.

    Going to the writing workshops that I have after moving here has been good and I think necessary for me, but the certain level of nerves can still creep up. The first one I went to was only three people and the instructor and the topic was screenplays, which I have a good background with and knowledge of so that was good. The first one I went regarding general fiction writing, there were about 15 people and I was the only guy. So add that to the mix, but it went well. Most of the women were older, 50’s and 60’s, but there were a few in their 20s and 30s. They got a kick out of me telling them about having 80 first cousins in my big italian family.

    I think I mentioned it to you before, but checkout the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, they offer some good writing workshops, i’m still want to see whats coming this fall cause I haven’t done one in a while.

    It’s cool your jumping into things, and finding things that peak your interest more.

    • I’m with you on the bar scene thing. I typically like to go early in the evening before the crowds hit. 🙂

      As soon as I read the part about you going to the writing workshops I remembered you mentioning that to me earlier. I will definitely check it out! It sounds like a fun–small groups of people talking about writing. What could be better? 🙂

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