I have a complex relationship with socialization. I’m not the kind of introvert for whom socialization is like sunlight to a vampire. The best way I can think to describe it is like a kid from an uptight, conservative family going to college and trying alcohol for the first time. Only with less puking.
I don’t shy away from socializing. I like it. Heck, I love it. It gets me all giddy and keyed up. People are paying attention to me! Laughing at my jokes even! Look at me ma, I’m acting like a normal human! YOU ARE ALL MY NEW FRIENDS! OMG THIS IS THE BEST!
But just like a drug, while it might get my heart racing in the short term, socialization isn’t filling my tanks. It’s emptying them.
I know this. I can see the come-down on the horizon. And I don’t want it. So I start to crave more, to keep the buzz going. Sometimes I come home from conferences and want to go right back out, meet up with friends, go out on the town, go to a users group, do SOMETHING to stave off the inevitable.
But eventually I have to face the music, and usually that means a period of depression. I curl up in a ball and nurse my social withdrawal while also dealing with the emotional exhaustion brought on by all that interaction.
And then I’m back to my usual largely self-sufficient self, and I forget all about why I thought hanging out with other humans was so important.
Until the next conference.