It’s a Saturday night and I’m so nervous I’m tempted to start biting my nails, something I now only do under completely dire circumstances.

Biting my lip, anxiety threatening to make my heart explode, I quickly text my friend that I can’t go out tonight because I have too much homework. It’s like ripping off a band-aid, the pain is there, but fleeting, leaving an almost shameful sense of relief in its absence.

Immediately, I exhale a breath of relief, dropping my phone back on my bed, feeling my heart rate slow down with each passing second. No more worrying about my makeup, what I’m going to wear or how I should do my hair.

All thoughts of awkwardly standing next to my friends as I fruitlessly scan the room for any possible escape routes vanish, because now instead of having plans, I had none.

Instead, I change into my favorite sweats, curl up in my fuzzy blanket and binge-watch Netflix until my eyes lost the battle with sleep. To me, it was a good night.

Probably to others, I’m a pathetic wimp for not going out.

I’m a college student, which automatically means I am a complete party animal, drinking until I puke, staying out way too late and hooking up with some guy. I’ll do anything I can to forget the next morning, right?

Well, it’s not like I haven’t done that before. It’s just not something I’m completely comfortable with. I’d rather be in a baggy sweatshirt, baking cookies and reading a book on my iPhone. After hanging out all day with friends, I will spend the next two days after that by myself, content to re-watch TV shows and stay inside all day.

A small mass of introverts suffer from clinical social anxiety, according to the New York Times. I’m not sure if that includes me, because while I am uncomfortable with crowds and fumble over words when making small talk, I still do it.

Despite my mind running through all of the various scenarios of where I’d rather be and wondering if what I said sounded weird, I’ll still force myself out there.

Yes, sometimes I even enjoy it. However, that doesn’t mean I’m ready to abandon my fears and go with the flow. I’m still that same girl who hid behind the cash register at her job to avoid a customer coming up to talk to me.

The less human interaction, the better.

This doesn’t make me rude, or means that I’m missing out on my life. Just because I’m not taking center stage, doesn’t mean I’m not in my own spotlight. I’m just a little off to the side and content with that.

Being an introvert doesn’t hold you back from your life. It’s just simply who you are. You aren’t being rude when you cancel plans, because maybe you need that night to relax after a long day. It’s only when you continually blow your friends and family off that you need to take a step back.

It’s not bad to be the center of your own universe, but you have to remember the people orbiting around you, as well.

Email Shania Savastio at cp@cardinalpointsonline.com

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