Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Safe Zones

So I never expected to say this... but I just related very deeply to the emotional desires and wants... of a cat.

Let me back up. I love people. I love talking to people, I love spending time with people, I love being around people. Especially when they're people I love, I love just having people around. I enjoy having people over to my home, hosting gatherings, having long and involved conversations. I try to be outgoing and welcoming, making sure no one feels left out.

Because of this, several of my friends have tagged me as an extrovert. I've always found this funny, because growing up, I was actually painfully shy. It was due to a good friend that I was able to finally break out of that shyness, but that's a different story.

Anyway, so today, I was reading a post on Sandra Tayler's blog, where she talks about her cat. The cat enjoys having people around, and generally, things work out well for it. However, because of the changes that Summer (and vacation time) brings, the cat becomes distressed by the presence of new people who don't understand the meanings of personal space, of moderation, etc. It's at these times that the cat retreats to certain designated "safe zones."

I've realized over the past few weeks and months that I have similar "safe zones" for myself in my own home. A good friend recently pointed out to me that while I'm a social person, I'm a "homebody." She mentioned that while I love hanging out with people, I'm always offering my own home as a place for people to gather. It's interesting, because I always thought to myself that I was offering my place because, well, I had a place to offer, and it works as a gathering point. And while that may be true, I also realized that she's right. I enjoy offering my place as a gathering point because it's my place, and especially because it's full of places to retreat when necessary.

For example, a couple weeks ago, my friend Peter got married, and a few days before, I hosted his "bachelor party" at my house. (Don't worry, nothing sketchy happened. It was a bunch of guys playing board/card games and video games.) I hung out with the group and had a good time talking, but there were a few times I retreated to my own "safe zones." My office downstairs is the main one (it has a door I can close), but even in the public rooms, I have certain spots where I feel comfortable. There's a particular spot on the couch upstairs. There's a recliner in the game room downstairs. I have my own safe zones where I can retreat if things get, well... overly social.

But when I retreat to these safe zones, like Sandra's cat, I still like having people around. When I sit at my computer in my office, it's nice to hear the sounds of people talking and laughing in the game room or living room. When I'm sitting in my spot on the couch, I like hearing people clanking around in the kitchen or hearing my roommate talking to people over the voice chat as he plays Team Fortress 2. I'm not antisocial, just introverted.

Just something interesting to learn about myself. There's always something more to learn.