I'm an introvert. I readily admit this. It's not that I don't like talking to people or that I have any problems with social interaction. I don't. I just prefer to be alone, and when I do spend time with other people, I rarely talk. Most of the time when I'm "alone", I'm fine with my husband being there, but sometimes I need breathing space even from him.
It's a very interesting sensation when my Social meter is full (to use terminology from The Sims - it is surprisingly accurate): I get jittery and tense, and things become annoying, even things that otherwise wouldn't bother me or would make me laugh. This feeling will often build for days, during which all I can think is, "I wish everyone would just go away."
Most of the time, my husband is very respectful of this and tries to find me time to be alone. Sometimes, he just doesn't get it. This morning, for example, I was very grumpy and said that all I wanted to do was go lock myself in my room, and he started joking and horseplaying, to try to cheer me up. I'm feeling a lot better right now, but oh man, this morning, I wanted to punch him.
It's tough, though. I'm not an emotional person, so it's a little disconcerting that I can't break myself out of this when it happens. The only thing I can do is lock myself away from the world and recharge.
Which brings me to my main whine here. At my job, I work in a group of four people: the Boss, the Lead (my husband), and the Co-worker, who, with me, makes up the team that the Lead directs. I am having huge problems with the Co-worker. His work is not the best (he jumps into projects without learning about them, which leads to having to re-do large portions of his work because his assumptions were wrong; he leaves things unfinished while claiming they're finished; and more...), and if the thing he's working on isn't interesting, he starts trying to abandon it and get onto other projects. On a personal level, he always has to talk and it's always about himself. If he decides he needs to tell you some story, he'll start talking without finding out if you're busy; if you are busy and miss half of his story or if you tell him that you can't listen to him right now, he actually starts pouting. If you're telling a story and it reminds him of something, he'll interrupt you to tell his story. If you're having a conversation with someone else, he'll jump in and take over. One time, a friend of my husband's visited and they were talking, and during their conversation, the Co-worker started mumbling just loud enough to hear, "Well, I guess I'm invisible. I'll just sit here." Yes, he was complaining that he wasn't being introduced and included in the conversation.
We've been trying to deal with him without being confrontational. For example, to signal that I'm busy and don't want to be interrupted, I put on my headphones, which are designed to be very noticeable (they are bright yellow against my black hair). My husband does the same thing (his headphones are hot pink). Not only has that not stopped him from talking to us, but he's complained to my husband, "I guess you don't want to talk to me," as well as complained to the Boss that we wear headphones while we work.
And now, the Boss has told my husband that the Co-worker has complained that he feels left out, that we don't talk to him. He especially pointed at me, saying that I don't talk to him, and luckily the Boss immediately told him, "She doesn't talk to me, too." I don't know if the Boss knows how introverted I am, but at least he recognizes that I'm not prone to interact with other people.
(Every so often, usually in the afternoons, the three of them start talking and joking with each other, and invariably they'll say something that's meant to attract my attention, and I'll look up from my work and go, "What?" Then they have to explain and I respond, and return to work, then ten minutes later, it'll happen again, and I'll go, "What?" etc. If that isn't an indication that I just simply don't participate, I don't know what is.)
I simply don't know what to do about this guy. Half of it is that I don't care to be forced to be sociable. The other half is that there are definitely boundaries. When we have work conversations, we include him even if the topic only marginally relates to him. However, when we have non-work conversations, we don't include people who have no interest in the topic. (I think this bugs him because he can always come up with something to talk about to derail the topic into something he wants to talk about.) He has also complained that my husband and I talk about work when we're not at work, which sometimes spawns decisions that affect the team, saying that he's being left out of the decision-making. (I can understand his concern here, but on the other hand, he is not part of the decision-making process. Neither am I - my husband bounces ideas off me, but he and the Boss make the decisions.) But I digress. I feel that he doesn't respect boundaries, and this, along with our attempts to convince him to do so, is going to cause some serious problems soon.
Anyway, that's my whine for day. I'm stuck going to band rehearsal tonight, so I won't be able to get my alone time and I cannot imagine that the rest of this week is going to go well.