— Ivan W. Lam (@IvanWLam) April 12, 2015
Relationships Are Valuable.
Relationships are hard work, especially for introverts like me. By relationships, I mean the ones with friends, family, co-workers, strangers, and significant others, so pretty much everybody. I can get by in most relationships; I follow social norms, I can read enough nonverbal cues and subtexts to understand what other people want to say, and I can ask for help or make plans with others when I need to. But there is definitely room for improvement.
My natural introvert preference is to do as many things by myself as possible. It’s quite satisfying to be self-sufficient, especially when I accomplish major goals by myself. I also prefer this because it reduces risks and dependencies to just one person: me, and I can usually count on myself to make things happen and in the way that I want. From there, the only other thing I need is good internet access.
Benefits of Having Relationships
Still, there are many cases when I need other people to accomplish goals. In professional (and personal) settings, for example, the more people I meet and get to know, the more opportunities there are to advance the careers and lives of both the people I meet and me. Another benefit for having people in our lives is to be able to experience something together, whether it is working under intense pressure at work, traveling in a foreign place, fighting on the battlefield, or even just being stuck in an elevator for a short period of time. One can do these things by themselves, but having others with them can make the experience less stressful, less overwhelming, less painful, and less scary.
Personally, I must admit that even after long periods of staying in, being self-sufficient, taking care of my own stuff, and being in my own head, I inevitably need to take a break and socialize with other human beings. Being exposed to other people’s thoughts after hearing only my own for a long time can be refreshing and even inspiring. Even for introverts, there has to be a balance between internal and external stimuli.
Another benefit to having good relationships is the satisfaction of bringing joy to others through giving and being kind. I remember the warm and fuzzy feeling I got during the holiday season when I gave my friends presents without expecting anything in return; it just felt good to give and to make others happy. It sort of validates my subconscious desire to become a better person.
Much to Learn
I am far from having the perfect, most successful relationships. There is still so much for me to learn about communication and managing my connections, both professionally and personally. I still need to find a balance between having enough “me time” and being social. And I need to muster more energy in me to be kind to more people and more often. It’s a lot of work, but I believe it’s worth it.
5, 9, 23, 25, 29.