A guy I play golf with took it upon himself to share his thoughts about my personality.
He said I seemed intelligent and independent, but I was aloof and didn’t show enough interest in other people. I need to ask more questions, he said, if I want people to like me. I just nodded.
Hmmm, so not interested in your thoughts on this subject.
For the record, I’ve never been a social animal, just a few close friends, but people seem to like me well enough … as in not universally despised. That’s a distinction I’m rather proud of.
My buddy is extroverted, randomly chats up people on the golf course and asks a million questions, some kind of personal, and although I find it annoying, it’s not a deal-breaker. As an introvert, I try to avoid the talkers, but somehow we started playing together regularly. He’s a decent fellow, and I don’t want to work all that hard to find someone new.
I actually did play with someone new this week and thought, what the hell? Ask a question. The problem is questions lead to answers, and if you get a talker, sometimes those answers are more than you bargained for. Then there’s always the possibility of sliding down that slippery slope to conversation.
Seems like I prefer exercise without conversation. I suppose that’s why I’m drawn to swimming and long walks alone.
Anyway, my buddy and I are supposed to play again next week, and I’m hoping he’ll have moved onto the next person to fix. I’m not going to apologize for being an introvert. As always, I try to be a pleasant and encouraging partner. No temper tantrums. A laugh, a smile, a thumbs up. Great putt! Wow, you smoked that drive!
Don’t get me wrong. I do enjoy people. Let’s get a beer afterward, and you can talk all you want.
I don’t know why he felt compelled to share all that, but in the end, I’m glad he did. In a strange way, it was validating. As I reflected on his comments, I’d say he wasn’t far off on my personality assessment. The part he got wrong was thinking I should do something to change it.
Feeling comfortable in your old flawed skin is one of the great pleasures of aging.
Donna Pekar is an aging badass (for real) who lives in California and writes Retirement Confidential.