When you are born to a natural extrovert couple, the inherent expectation from the progeny is that they will show similar social character.
I was a 7-year-old kid who loved playing cricket with the neighbour kids and watching cartoons. I was dressed and taken to a gathering which had almost every close relatives present. I could sense some of the middle-aged aunts judging me nine ways to Sunday with a 0.05 seconds glance from my head to toe. The dominant feeling was repulsion rather than an interest to socialize.
The “social norm”, as per my parents, was that I needed to interact with every soul out there, half of whom were creeping me out with their mere presence. I went all defensive and kept quiet for the whole function.
Back home, I got my fair share of the blame from my home dwellers for my anti-social behaviour. At that age, I felt as if something was wrong with me. “Why am I not as sociable as my parents?” is something that bugged me. Self-doubts lingered through my teenage.
But in my 20s, the life situations, education, friend circle, and personal outlook transformed the way I perceived myself from a social angle:
- Acceptance: I was selectively social (Ambivert). There is nothing wrong with choosing to remain silent when you feel peace in solitude. I always compensated for the silence when I was with the right company.
- Nobody apart from you gets to decide your levels of socializing with any crowd. Be it personal or professional. Choose to talk or zip it as per your discretion.
- No one is superior or inferior to you just because they talk more, equal, or less than you do in general.
- At the end of the day, it’s your life, your conscience, and your words. You have complete authority to use them as you will!
Humankind’s gifted ability to convey thoughts, emotions, ideas, and whatnot is something I consider divine. It is not a rubber band that can be expanded and contracted with external force.
Personality and Socialisation aren’t the same thing. — Steven Pinker