Sunday, April 23, 2017

How I Became Anti-Social or Asocial To Be Grammatically Correct

Disclaimer: I’m mainly talking about my school friends. Some of these statements don’t apply to Vietnamese friends I had, whose parents my parents knew.

It’s innate (I am an introvert) and learned.

My mom never invited anyone over besides family. As a result, I’ve rarely had friends come over to my apartments, and the ones that have come over kind of invited themselves—which is how you’ll ever see my place because my best friends from college haven’t even seen my apartment. It’s not that they’re not invited. I just don’t invite people over. It’s just a thing I never picked up. I was never socialized to invite people over, and it’s never been an issue. I’ve never changed because I’ve never needed it: I was fine growing up without having friends over.

In contrast, my roommate invites people over because that’s what her parents did.

In addition to never having people over growing up, I also never went to a friend’s house unless I was invited over for a birthday party or group project—never could I invite myself over.

As a result, growing up and even now, all of my friends have solely existed at school.

My daily schedule was wake up, go to school, come home, do homework, sleep, rinse, and repeat on weekdays and hang out with my parents and family on weekends.

In high school, I had a friend who tried to help me become less shy. I asked her to help me talk to people. She said all you have to do is say, “’Hi!’ It’s not that hard,” but now as an adult, I realize the reason I didn't talk to people is because I didn’t want to!

In college, all that changed. I was forced to become social. There were planned social events called icebreakers where you were forced to talk to get to know people. These were great for shy people. I actually loved icebreakers because I love talking when it’s about myself. I also realized that Asians can either be really cold or really warm. If you put a bunch of Asian strangers in a room, no one will approach each other, but if you put a bunch of Asian strangers in a room and call it an icebreaker, people will talk. As an upperclassmen in the Vietnamese Student Association, it was my duty to welcome new students in, so I was forced to be warm and sociable and extroverted. My friends were always around me because there were always events where everybody was invited. I also lived with them, so that helped a lot. Having a meal plan first year really helped too because it was easy to invite people to eat with you. Everyone had a meal plan. Having a meal plan was social in nature. My social circle shrunk when I deactivated my meal plan, but I guess I made more meaningful connections with the people I did hang out from that moment on.

After college, all that changed. I reverted back to my old anti-social self. I realized that I actually like enjoy spending time by myself. I don’t mind it, but when I miss people, I don’t know what to do.

For example, after graduation, one of my best friends from college and I thought distance would be the only thing that would separate us! Wrong! When I moved to Richmond, we were only ~two hours away as opposed to five hours apart in SOVA and NOVA. Yet, I didn’t see her once. Then, when I moved to NOVA, we were only 30 minutes apart, but we’ve only seen each other three times in NOVA in a year and a half. The only other times we’ve seen each other is back at UVA AKA BACK AT SCHOOL. Time has made us grown apart, and I want to reconnect but because of my innate and learned asocialness, I haven’t initiated anything because I’m afraid we won’t have anything to talk about anymore because that’s what it was like when we did meet up—albeit it was in a group situation and not one-on-one where I excel.

My mom also yells at my dad whenever he seeks out social interaction. This was and still is a form of positive punishment for me! She always yells at sister, dad, and me whenever we want to be social! (Although, she has good reason to yell at him).

As a result, socializing is a lot of work for me, and I can’t multitask. I was only able to make plans with friends after I quit my job. All my time and effort before were also put into a boy, who unfortunately invested no time and effort into me, but that’s beside the point.

Thankfully, instant messaging apps have allowed me to stay in touch with friends outside of school. I can socialize in the comforts of my own home without having to invite anyone over.

I also reconnected with my friend. All I had to do was finally get over said boy, quit my job, and tell her over Facebook Messenger everything I’ve been hiding from her in the past year LOL