How To Avoid People

It’s a fact, I am avoidant. The kind of person who’s always eager to choose his own company over anyone else’s.

Even when I enjoy being around people (thank heaven for these ones), the whole thing is on a clock. And ‘other people time’ runs out pretty quickly.

This has been me, most days, for years.

The signs are all over the place:

1. Avoiding conversations that go deeper than greetings and generic subjects. Thank you, small talk.

2. Not picking up calls (or picking up to say I’ll call back at some point in the future). Um, ‘the future’ usually never comes.

3. Declining invitations without considering them or giving a proper reason.

4. Replying messages at a painfully slow pace. And sometimes, not replying at all. Aren’t ghosts people too?

5. Cancelling plans. (Because better to cancel than just not show up, right?)

6. Staying on the surface. (Going deep means engaging, and engaging means stress.)

7. Being warm and friendly, then disappearing.

I have told myself that this is how I stay sane, that I’m just an extreme introvert who needs his space, that deep down, I’m a good person.

Self-centered crap. Maybe these are also facts, but I’m really just icing a crap cake.

The voice of reason says I’m making excuses for bad behaviour, acting immature and hurting people.

I believe that voice.

So instead of being selfish, I should:

1. Say I’m unavailable when I’m unavailable. Not “I’ll try to be there” three layers under my duvet.

2. Turn things down with a genuine reason. “Sorry, I won’t be at your party because I’d rather sleep.”

3. Reply messages (even if it’s to end the conversation). Not leave them on ‘read’ and *crickets*.

4. Never make plans with other people when I’ve already made plans with myself. (I choose me.)

5. Pick up calls. It’s simple, easier than remembering to call back, and most of the time, I don’t even have to stay on the phone for longer than I want to.

6. Stop getting people excited with the tiny extroverted part of me only to slap them with introversion when they reach out. It’s better to be socially tepid than to blow hot and cold.

7. Be clear about everything. Even when it makes me look strange, antisocial or difficult.

At the end of this work-in-progress, I’ll still be comfortably avoidant, just much more graceful about it. (This is the best part.)