Friday, August 16, 2013

The Introverted Gamer



There has been a lot of stuff buzzing around my webisphere lately about how to deal with introverts. Honestly, it seems to be popping up enough that I'm starting to feel like introversion is becoming a new trend, like twerking, or fake gluten intolerance.

I am both an introvert, and a gamer, which can make for an odd mix. Tabletop gaming is an inherently social activity, and for someone like me who relies on alone time to recharge, this can be problematic. My introvert self and gamer self have been butting up against each other a lot since the wedding. The wife and I registered for and received several board games as gifts that we've had our eye on for some time. We also came to realize that we have many people in our lives that we don't see often enough. In order to make use of our new games, and to spend more time with friends, we've started organizing regular game nights.

And that's when my brain started overloading.

See, as an introvert, I can only take a certain amount of scheduled social time. Even knowing that I have upcoming events on my calendar is enough to cause some degree of anxiety. If I find myself facing a weekend with three or more social obligations, there is a strong chance that I will short circuit before attending anything and just curl up on the couch. I don't even need to encounter the crowds to feel overloaded, just the thought is enough.

This is problematic, because the gamer in me is really excited to have a lot of free time and new games. I've started planning my next D&D campaign. I really want to have my players over to discuss some basic character advancement and game maintenance stuff. I want to go to friends' game nights. I want to get back to running Spirit of the Century. But as my schedule fills with other end of summer social events, my gaming self is forced to go into energy save mode just to maintain a sense of sanity.

On a certain level, it's funny, but it is also challenging, especially because the wife is both very extroverted and very much a planner. She likes to go to karaoke every Friday, and has started penciling in game nights for friends we haven't seen. When summer weddings, reunions and barbecues get added to the mix, I find myself wondering, on the edge of complete shutdown, when am I going to get a chance to just sit? Maybe paint some minis, or play some Skyrim?

The Wife is very aware of and understanding of my introversion, but it does mean that I need to actively bow out of jointly booked events from time to time. One of the wonderful things about our relationship is that we are okay doing our own separate things when one of us needs to socialize or rest. Unfortunately, sometimes its hard to tell when I am going to reach my lock-down point, and there have been a couple occasions lately where I've found myself in an otherwise "fun" situation feeling suddenly miserable and on the verge of panic? crying? screaming? running out the door? jumping through the window? curling up fetal? Don't get me wrong, I am doing something I like to do in these situations, but the surrounding stress and volume of events have turned fun into a chore.

So, if you are someone I hang out with IRL, and you have noticed me in a seemingly grumpy, borderline catatonic mood lately, I'm probably just suffering from social overload. I'm not trying to be a jerk, or the enemy of fun. I really just need some quiet, a snack, and maybe a book.

3 comments:

  1. Geoff. I had mistakenly believed I was looking at my own blog for a second there. I can relate whole-heartedly with your plight. I suffer from Asperger's so socializing for me is very difficult. Luckilly like you I have an amazing fiance (soon to be wife) to help me too.

    Glad to see your still getting out there. Your an inspiration.

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  2. Sounds like you have it under control by at least acknowledging the issue. And when you feel the need to green up and "Hulk...SMASH!" there's nothing quite like face-macing/mace-facing someone in Skyrim and then stealing their shoes.

    We creative types need our "away time" to keep the good stuff coming for our 'on' moments. Then quietly go the !@#$ away so we don't have the sudden urge to karate chop your larynx.

    Carry on.

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