Structural Me in an Unstructured Environment with Unstructured People (Introvert In Unknown Territories)

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Traveling to My Friends

I flew back after my trip to Africa to visit some friends. My older sister and I traveled together until we reached London and then the next two flights I was by myself. This was scary but not as terrible as my worries had made it. 

I got bumped up a class because of a bad experience on the previous flight. This was very helpful. However, I still did not get much sleep. This was coupled with a jet lag of eight hours. Needless to say, I showed up at my friend’s house and slept for a while. It took nearly a week to switch back. Jet lag made me wake up at 3 or 4 am and my friends stayed up quite late. So, I ended up losing sleep on both ends. This caused me to take naps around the time when I would have gone to sleep in Africa and not switch back easily. 

Who are my Friends?

I do not enjoy traveling by myself. So, why did I choose to visit these friends? I met them at a camp I have been going to since I was born. This August was the first time that I met all seven of the guys. I became friends with the younger ones and they invited me to visit. Normally, I wouldn’t take them up on it. However, these guys are intriguing and for some reason I really like them. They are all good and decent men who are not always easy to find and I enjoy their company. 

Structure vs No Structure and How it Pushed Me

Now, one thing that drives me crazy is their lack of structure as a group and some individuals. I am a very structured individual. I schedule things well in advance and there is rarely a time when I do not have a plan. This was one of those times. In my month of living outside of my bubble, I knew that I would not be able to plan and schedule my time with my friends. They got with the immediate, they choose what they are going to do at the moment that it is presented to them. This can be very frustrating to me when I am trying to plan. So, in order to deal with this issue I foresaw, I decided not to fight it and try things their way. 

What I learned

One of the big reasons that I need structure is for efficiency. Would I have liked to do more things and see people more? Yes, I actually did. (which is part of the reason I like hanging out with them: they don’t exhaust me like everyone else) I was able to “go with the flow” for a week and do whatever because I had no deadlines or need for efficiency. That is why I was able to live unstructured for a week. 

Group Dynamic and Lack of Structure

When there is a group of unstructured individuals. It can be very difficult to gauge what will happen. I always want to know what to expect. This is something that I struggle with. I tend to put myself in situations where there are fewer variables to contend with so that I am able to know all of the various possible outcomes. 

The guys make decisions like a group of boys do. It takes forever and then it just happens. I was unable to control the situations. So, instead of frustrating myself and trying to get some control, I took the opposite approach. I gave up complete control and became a part of the group. This was odd for me because I have always been the one who goes against the group and hates the hive mentality. The reason that I was able to do this is that I trust and appreciate this group. 

Why Structure?

Structure helps me to succeed and accomplish. I am all about efficiency, even in relationships. It is calming and it helps me to learn and control my environment. I am a driven individual and I can also procrastinate quite a lot. I build structure into my life in order to achieve my, many, lofty goals. Even as a child, I was analytical and liked the structure. If there was a plan and my parents deviated from it. I would get upset because it had already been solidified in my mind. So, with this trip, I planned to be unplanned. Therefore my expectations were still met. This has taught me how to form a workaround to deal with my analytical structured nature when I have to interact in an unstructured environment and people who are “go with the flow.” 

Do you need structure? What does control mean to you? How do you deal with an unstructured environment? How do you relate to efficiency? 

Please feel free to email me any questions, stories, themes, or ideas I am grateful for all your contributions.

Email me at evilholmess@gmail.com

Give me a follow on Instagram @evi.l.holmes 

Follow me on twitter @RealEvilHolmes

-Evi. L. Holmes

New Friends…..Oh, No! (An Introvert in Unknown Territories)

Authors note: “This is the first post in a series about introversion and how that is affected by different things. Over the last month and a half, I have intentionally put myself outside of my comfort zone. So, this series will focus on what happened and my experience. I’ll do it so you don’t have to. But I am hoping that my experiences will encourage you to take the first step outside of your comfort zone because that is how you grow.” #outsidemybubble

At the beginning of this school year I, accidentally, made a new friend. He is an extrovert. I grew up with five extroverts, I’ll be fine. With extroverts, it is all about doses. If you can getaway. 

This extrovert is one of the ones that really does know everyone on campus. So, hanging out with him means I started to actually get to know people and even worse they started to know me. I had lost some of my invisible nature. 

I now have a group of “friends” and it is a rather interesting experience. I can honestly say that I have never really been a part of a group. It is exhausting. This past weekend, I spent way too much time with people. I was with people almost 100% of the time that I was awake. 

Now, as an introvert, spending this much time with people (especially groups of them) for any amount of time is taxing. They were interesting but I am paying for the interactions now.

I am normally a morning person (this is a little bit off because of college but I tend to go to sleep by 11 pm). However, I stayed up to 2:30 am on Friday and got up at 1:30 pm on Saturday. This is highly abnormal and I know exactly why I needed the extra sleep. 

I feel like every drop of energy has been drained from my body and all I want to do is sleep for 24 hours and stay away from humans for as long as possible. 

So, are friends worth it? Are groups even an option, for an introvert?

I have found that there are people that do not drain me, they do exist (and I have found some lovely ones). These are the people that I gravitate towards. There are some who I deem “blood-sucking energy vampires.” I try to avoid them at all costs. This semester I made friends with an extrovert like that and I had to push her away because it was too much. 

It is great to have non-draining extroverts but not in groups. Unfortunately, they like to be in groups. Groups are an option but in moderation. You must be aware that you will feel drained after any interaction, and I am sure you are already aware of this. Do not overdo it. Even if you find people that are not super draining, take care of yourself and do not overdo it. You will pay and be completely wiped out like I am right now. It will take weeks for me to be myself again. 

Boundaries are necessary and usually something that I am good at. However, I have been in a mode and mindset of growth. This means I am letting people into my life and although this is a healthy and good thing, it can be draining so awareness is key.

Not every group of people is completely exhausting but the time spent with any group needs to be offset with alone time, or you will sleep for ages. 

Do you feel drained by people? Are there people that you feel like you can talk to forever without feeling drained?

Please feel free to email me any questions, stories, themes, or ideas I am grateful for all your contributions.

My email is evilholmess@gmail.com

My Instagram is @evi.l.holmes 

My Twitter is @RealEvilHolmes

-Evi. L. Holmes