A newly single friend just asked me to help her fill out her dating profiles despite the fact that I’ve never made one for myself. I happily live alone, an hour and a half away from my partner of seven years, and it suits me well. I am the last person anyone should ask about dating profiles. Nevertheless, I tried to help.
“Describe your typical Friday night,” she read. “Ugh, I don’t have a typical Friday night. What do you do on Friday nights?”
“Try to get out of the plans I made on Wednesday afternoon!” I joked.
She paused. “That’s true. That is what you do.”
I guess it’s not a joke.
There is nothing I love more than canceled plans. If I am supposed to go out with a friend and they text to tell me that they’re coming down with something, I feel bad for them. But mostly I feel elated that my time is once again entirely my own.
This is the kind of antisocial behavior that, combined with my lack of offspring, will probably land me alone in a subpar nursing home at the end of my life. Good. At last there will be zero expectations. I’ll lie on my tiny institutional cot, reread my sleazy true crime books on my retro iPad and while I finish out my days in blessed solitude.
It’s trendy to talk about being an introvert, but I have very little pride in it. I don’t like the fact that after a simple day of commuting and working, I often need a quiet evening at home just to recover.
It starts when I get on the bus outside my apartment. I am immediately hyper-aware of the number of people on the bus, the tenseness with which many of them are approaching their own commutes and the ways in which they are not efficiently using the space allotted to passengers. Within a block, my shoulders are clenched up to my ears, my mouth is pressed into a tight, hard line, and the premature wrinkle that has been between my eyebrows since about 10th grade is a deep, furious cavern. This is all within five minutes of leaving my home, and I have at least 8 hours 55 minutes to go before I am home again. Is it any wonder that once I get there, I’m ready to sink into the comfort of my couch, my cats and Netflix and never leave again?
Somehow I have managed to cultivate friendships with other antisocial people. I recently met five friends for dinner; none of us had seen each other in several months. Despite liking these people very much, I dreaded the dinner and just wanted to go home and be alone, perhaps occasionally sending funny texts to these same friends. Instead I steeled myself to put on pants, leave the house and physically join other people in a crowded, noisy restaurant. We settled in to our drinks and appetizers and started talking; conversation and laughter came easily. I was actually having a good time.
One of them exclaimed, “It’s so funny how we can go for so long without seeing each other and pick right up again.”
“I know, it really is,” I concurred. “I just have such a hard time getting out of the house. Once I’m there, I never want to leave.”
I looked around; all five of my companions were nodding in earnest. Somehow, we had all managed to get out of the house to find five other antisocial friends. What luck! Our more gregarious acquaintances, having given up on us long ago, were somewhere else, seeing each other for the third time that week. I shuddered, thankful that once this lovely evening was over, I could go home and know that I would not have to interact with these brilliant, hilarious people again for a long time.
Maybe next time we should just text from the comfort of our couches instead.