Introverts are Antisocial: Debunked

When I saw two friends at the end of the grocery aisle, my stomach clenched.  I hadn't seen them in months, so I should have been grateful for a chance to catch up.  But I was picking up supplies for the afternoon of cooking I had planned.  I find bulk cooking saves me effort during the week and builds up my introvert energy reserves.  I hadn't allocated energy for social time that day, and I feared the minutes spent in conversation would risk the energy reserves I was trying to accumulate.  I didn't want to make that trade.

It's easy to see how introverts might get accused of being antisocial.  I just revealed a time where running into friends caused minor anxiety.  It would be easy to assume I shun people and social time.  But that's not true.  I cherish quality time with friends.  I value meaningful activities.  I enjoy surprises, and most of the time adapting comes easily to me.  If I come across as antisocial, it's because my energy levels are threatened or low.

The feeling when my reserves are depleted is raw and desperate.  I avoid it at all costs.  When my energy levels are threatened, my brain jumps into a scarcity mentality.  I calculate the bare minimum actions I must do.  I drop pleasantries and ignore social cues.  My primary goal becomes protecting my reserves.

Running out of energy is a daily fear.  I know there are much larger concerns in the world, and I have no intent to diminish those.  But on the small-scale, personal level, running out of energy is my greatest fear.  To protect myself, there's a constant calculation in the back of my mind about how much energy remains.

So no, introverts are not antisocial.  But yes, next time I see you at the grocery store, you might find me behind the cereal boxes.