As an introvert, I love the sanctuary of my room in my apartment, with all my entertainment needs of video games and computer systems. Going out usually involves either earning or spending money, and any other reason to go outside are not done in a routine basis.
But there are times when I have to experience new things, or be around (gasp!) many people. Yes those days when staying at home under a blanket and playing video games or blasting my Hi-Fi system sometimes needs to be put on hold.
The Reason for Going Outside
Yesterday, I went to the first stop of the MikuExpo concert series, and other than meeting a friend there, I was going alone. This would be my first concert in the Seattle area (but second Vocaloid-related concert), so I was not familiar with the venue area, and stood in line by myself (my friend came later and was in VIP line, while I was in the normal entry line).
To be surrounded by many strangers, my personal space felt intruded on, but I kept my calm putting up my headphones and enjoying the Seattle weather while I waited. I even struck up a conversation with a fellow concert-goer who also went by himself.
I won’t go into details about the concert itself, but overall I really enjoyed it, and will cover more about it in the next article.
A shot I took with my crappy smartphone camera
Stepping Out (or Bringing the Shields Down)
The main point for this article is that even though I didn’t want to go out and just stay home, I felt happier after going to the concert and hanging out with my friend. This feeling of not wanting to go to an event beforehand and afterwards rather enjoying it always happens; initial nervousness and anxiety that becomes satisfaction and pleasantness at the end of the day.
I spend a lot of time thinking in my head, and while waiting in line to get in, waiting for the concert, during the concert, and afterwards I tend to nitpick details that annoy me more than the ones that I enjoy. This kind of over-thinking is not something I will stop, and is not something that I believe should not be discarded. I can lessen the amount of negative thinking, but I cannot stop thinking!
As an introvert, I slowly get drained from being around large crowds, even when I want to be there or know a majority of people: that is who I am. Whenever I am at an event I am constantly thinking on efficiency: how to streamline the order of events or how people behave, even when I am not part of the organizers!
But even I get lost in the music or show when it happens, and that euphoric feeling usually wins over the hesitation I initially had beforehand.
After the concert and a round of drinks with my friend (who is an extroverted geek) at a nearby bar, walking back home I felt happy that I came out. The concert was enjoyable (they played a great selection of Vocaloid songs), had great casual conversations with fellow fans waiting in line, and left on my terms! (My friend wanted to bar-hop more, but I had a long day and was drained.)
Outside in Your Terms
So to my fellow introverts reading this: go out into the outside world sometimes, don’t be a hikikomori or shut-in, but know what your balance is. You don’t need to go out everyday and be around people all the time. Going outside to take solo walks in a park, or to watch a movie is perfectly fine!
Meeting up with a friend or two is a good idea, especially with common interests. Talk about which anime of the season is worth watching. Go see an art exhibit or eat at a highly-rated restaurant. Discuss which album in HiRes is worth buying and has great dynamic range!
Whatever it may be, slap your self-doubts to the side, say “Fuck it!” and go. (And please don’t try to look overdressed like Winter above)