Jul 5, 2020

So what you would like to do this weekend?

The part of the world I live in is inching back to pre-covid times. Now that inter household interaction is allowed and many public places are open, there is opportunity for meetings and social outings. 

I found myself enjoying these outings quite a lot a few weekends ago when they initially become a reality again. It was nice to go eat outside and have a bit of noise around. It was also nice to exchange insights with friends and hear their perspectives again, which had reduced to an extent despite phone interactions. 

However, a few weeks into the old normal, I find myself quite missing the times I could spend more time at home, with myself. Not that I am complaining about being able to see my friends and loved ones again, but I certainly feel more pressure to see people now that it's a possibility again.

It's interesting to think about the subtle societal pressure of socialising that especially comes with being a young person in a city. For myself, I could certainly choose not to go out and say no to every social outing that I'm asked on, but it would come at the cost of a smaller social circle and fewer friends, which can be a dangerous situation to put oneself in especially if you're an immigrant living without family. 

In a way, saying "I don't want to socialise this weekend" too often to too many people is a way to dig yourself a grave of loneliness which is very hard to come back out from. Friends who want more social activity than you can give them will naturally gravitate towards other people who can give them the level of social activity they need on a regular basis. 

In that sense, I think it's harder for introverts to form friendships given that they won't always desire a high level of social interaction that may be ultimately required for a strong friendship to emerge. Sustaining a strong friendship is more sustainable for introverts, but only if the friends they make are happy with the level of interaction they can regularly get from the said introvert. 

It makes me think that perhaps a solution is to always set low expectations with friends such that they don't ask or expect you to be around them too often. I personally love the concept of friends who you text a lot with (almost everyday) but see in person only once in a while (once a month). That way, you are constantly in touch with each other and surrounded by love, but at the same time, you get time to yourself when you have the chance for precious downtime. 

That practice is easier to put in place at the beginning of friendships, but I think it is worth trying even with existing friends to make existing friendships more durable and sustainable. 

So the next time someone asks me "So what do you want to do this weekend?", I think I'm going to tell them how excited I am to see them next month. 

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