that dread(e)d 3-letter word

Riddle me this: When is a "no" actually a "yes"? (And, before you start squirming in your seat... no - we are not discussing the issue of 'sexual consent', here.)

When can declining someone's request or invitation, really mean "I'd like to... but I'll pass"? 

When you're an introvert. That's when.

For introverts like myself, saying "YES" to many common social situations is often a challenge in and of itself, and the easiest way for us to avoid potential unpleasantness and awkward fall-outs is simply to: JUST. SAY. NO. 

GIF courtesy of reddit.com

GIF courtesy of reddit.com

By now, I'm pretty sure most of my readers get that I'm an introvert; and I recently got further confirmation of this when I decided to take an in depth Briggs Myers online personality quiz. The results revealed my strengths and weaknesses, as well as how my personality type relates to my choices in friendships, romantic relationships, career paths and parenting style, among other things. I've got to say - it was pretty surreal to read about myself on a screen. This particular assessment hit the nail right on the head in soooo many areas. It concluded that I'm 86% introverted, with an "INFJ-A" personality type:

To break it down, "INFJ-A" means that I'm 58% INtuitive, 83% in touch with or led by my Feelings, 60% Judgmental (side eye -_-), and 57% Assertive. When it comes to my overall role, I'm described as a "diplomat"; and with regard to how I approach everyday situations and achieve my goals, apparently I do so with "confident individualism". I definitely agree with these conclusions. When I read my entire personality assessment, I must say, most of it was spot on. If you've got some time, I'd encourage you to take the quiz yourself at www.16personalities.com. It might just blow your mind!

But... back to the topic at hand: that three letter word, called "YES". 

In reading my personality assessment, the one thing that rang true across all categories was an overarching theme of cautiousness. INFJ-A personalities are pretty private people, and they choose their surroundings and those with whom they interact, with extreme consideration and forethought. For me, that's where the problem of saying YES comes into play. Whenever I am given the opportunity to step outside of what and who I "know", I get some level of anxiety right off the bat. When invited out somewhere, instead of just being appreciative of the invitation/opportunity, my mind jumps right to questions like "who will be there?", "how many people?", "how much focus will be put on me?", "how will I mingle with strangers?", etc. The amount of thought I put into simple invitations and situations sometimes leaves me too drained to even consider accepting them. 

But no more, friends! I've decided - much like prime time TV queen, Shonda Rhimes, in her new book Year of Yes, that I will be open to more of the unknown. Just by reading the general description of Shonda's Year of Yes, I was relieved to know that even the most famous of the famous go through the same thing I do:

She’s the creator and producer of some of the most groundbreaking and audacious shows on television today: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder. Her iconic characters—Meredith Grey, Cristina Yang, Olivia Pope, Annalise Keating—live boldly and speak their minds. So who would suspect that Shonda Rhimes, the mega talent who owns Thursday night television (#TGIT), is an introvert? That she hired a publicist so she could avoid public appearances? That she hugged walls at splashy parties and suffered panic attacks before media interviews so severe she remembered nothing afterward?

Before her Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes was an expert at declining invitations others would leap to accept...
— Simon & Schuster Canada

That said - I've pretty much decided that I'm going to start shedding a layer or two of my naturally introverted skin and start saying "yasss" to certain things that would normally make me feel uncomfortable, or that I previously pre-determined to just "not be for me".   

OK - maybe not with quite as much gusto as Rih Rih... but you catch my gif.

OK - maybe not with quite as much gusto as Rih Rih... but you catch my gif.

In fact, I've already started my journey to "yes". Just a few weekends ago, a friend of mine whom I hadn't seen in a while, called me up on a Friday night to see if I wanted to go to a little get-together with her at her friend's place, out of the blue. As I sat there on my couch, in front of my TV, in all my bra-less glory and already resigned to my pj/sweatpants (standard attire for a Netflix & Sip night), her invite almost pained me. I thought to myself:

  • It's too cold out.
  • Who is this friend of yours? Do I know them? How far do they live?
  • Will I have to bring something (a dish? wine? a flask?)?
  • I have no clean clothes to wear.
  • Why are you doing this to me?
  • ... and about 12 other things, before I finally agreed that I would go.

Upon reluctantly caving in, I came to find out that this get together was also a "plus one" party, where invited guests of the host are supposed to bring a "single" friend who will get their mingle on. So, then of course, my mind started to race, yet again about who would be there, what I should wear, where I stashed the makeup I never use, what basic human talking points are these days... Just terrible. But - I persevered, and I followed through on my committment to attend this "plus one" social. And low and behold... I HAD A GOOD ASS TIME!

It was definitely not the type of party or crowd I was used to. No hard liquor. No half-naked chicks seeking attention. No guys lurking thirstily. No loud music driving the party. It was mainly just a few groups of people having different side conversations among themselves, some food, and then a cute party game to get everyone engaged. And, while the original intention of the party was for singles to mingle with each other, I didn't really feel the pressure to 'put myself out there'. Instead, I ended up spending most of my night laughing my face off with someone fun and with whom I had zero chance of taking home (let's just say that he and I both play for Team "D", ha!). I also made small talk with a couple of other strangers at the party. Very basic small talk - but since it's something that I know I am truly horrible at (and something I would generally rather avoid in life altogether), I left the party feeling pretty damn accomplished! (*dabs in the mirror*)

I know it's not much of a story, friends... But I'm starting to realize the importance of saying "YES" to situations that are out of my comfort zone. I realize that even though I think I'm protecting myself from something inevitably harmful or embarrassing, overthinking can also be the thing that stunts my fly and my growth. So going forward, I'm going to be a little less apprehensive about saying yes...

.. to things like red wine right after the gym.

I've now started saying yes to that.

L'chaim (a toast to life)!

 

Shaolin Says.

  

Shaolin "J" Style

Ontario

Creative writer. Professional ranter. Canadian-born. Caribbean blood. Probably the worst introvert you'll ever meet.