Something I have thought a lot about is our social value, because it feels as if it is a bit skewed sometimes. People who are horrible still have a lot of friends, and people who are really nice sometimes don’t have any friends at all. Why?
Being the odd one out a lot of the time, I have noticed that much of our value is defined through our ability to be social. Everything is taken into consideration; I even read somewhere that your social value increases if you have attractive friends. And your overall value increases when your social value does. Obviously I don’t have any proof really, this is rather what I have observed in the people around me. If you don’t have a lot of social activities going on, your value as a person is perceived as being lower. For me this is very frustrating because I don’t have a lot of social things going on which I obviously want to change, but I will never have as many going on as most people because I don’t have that big a need. In fact, too much socializing exhausts me so I cannot do it every day. I think perhaps two or three times a month would be ideal for social outings, for me personally. Also, most of my interests aren’t social. Knitting, reading, writing…
Anyway, to illustrate what I mean with this perceived value I will give you an example which happened to me during the autumn last year. I had gone to an afterwork (since I actually am trying) and the subject of being social arose. I put in that I don’t have the same need as most other people, and that this is perceived as a negative thing. In fact, I don’t even do social things every week, I said. One girl looked at me and replied:
‘What’s wrong with you? At your age I was out all the time. You’ll be like a grandmother when you’re 30.’
It really got to me. Because I cannot bear to be out on social events every other night in the week, I’m perceived as faulty. And this obviously lowers my social value, generating a lesser general value and making me less desirable to hang out with – thus making it even harder to be social with other people. What a vicious circle!
And that, dear readers, is exactly a great part of the problem. If you are a slightly (or majorly) introverted person your social value is lower, if this means you don’t attend as many things as other people. This makes introversion less desirable than extroversion, and thus introversion is perceived as having a lower status. Then people avoid inviting you and you end up on your own more than you’d like. Obviously one cannot expect to be invited if one doesn’t make an effort to stay in touch and sometimes attend but I still feel more social people are valued more. This is really messed up, because often once an introverted person decides to make an input it’s both heartfelt and sincere. It’s not about not wanting to talk, it’s about not wanting to talk unless you have a valuable input. Quality, not quantity.
I have tried to ignore my own personality in this, and attended social things even though I have been so tired from people or just not wanted to. The result is that I find a quiet corner and sit silent, which makes a really bad impression too! It’s unfair that less social people get a lower social value, but we have to work with what we have. If you don’t feel social, don’t go. However, if you never go then you obviously cannot expect people will keep inviting you. We need to be allowed, and able, to be social according to our own abilities.
I believe this has played a part in my own situation. Most of my hobbies are such that I carry them out alone and for long periods I have been happy on my own. Now that I want more friends I find myself a bit isolated. As I’ve said before I do have friends, I just need a few more to do social things with.
I suppose that when I start doing more social things, that I can put up on Facebook, my social value and then general value will increase and this will mean more social invitations. It’s a science.