So An Introvert Walks Into a Bar
“Being an introvert essentially means you can do anything you want—avoid people, ignore phone calls, cut short small talk—and blame your introversion.”
By Anne Ertle, John Carroll
The Myers-Briggs test is the best thing in the world.
It takes a long time, but at the end of it your entire being is summed up in four letters. Your work life, personal life, relationships: All of it can be determined by your personality type.
When I’m bored, I google my personality type and read all about myself, nodding and saying to myself “They’re so right! I do have an uncanny insight into people and their situations!” (I’m an INFJ, by the way. You might recognize it as the rarest personality type—it’s whatever).
Besides fulfilling my narcissistic needs, the Myers-Briggs is also great because it popularized the term “introvert.” They define it as someone who would agree with the following statements:
“I like getting my energy from dealing with the ideas, pictures, memories and reactions that are inside my head, in my inner world. I often prefer doing things alone or with one or two people I feel comfortable with. I take time to reflect so that I have a clear idea of what I’ll be doing when I decide to act. Ideas are almost solid things for me. Sometimes I like the idea of something better than the real thing.”
The mainstream media (BuzzFeed), however, has taken this term and redefined “introvert” as “Someone who doesn’t want to talk to anyone ever and would prefer to remain in bed watching Netflix until the end of time.” This is fine by me. I embrace it.
Being an introvert essentially means you can do anything—avoid people, ignore phone calls, cut short small talk—and blame your introversion. Introversion is the new “temporary insanity.”
Of course, this is all good and well until you actually do have to participate in a social situation, in which case I believe my life experiences have well-equipped me to advise you on how to handle the worst of the worst. That’s right. I’m talking the bar scene.
Scan the Scene
The key to successfully navigating a night at the bar is to view it as an exercise in anthropology, instead of an obligation to those friends you’ve cancelled on the last six times.
That being said, one of the most important aspects of learning, just like the classroom, is where you sit. I tend to wedge myself in the corner of a booth. This is perfect for scanning the room, but you should be warned—it’s awful for mobility. If you choose the inside of the booth, you better be prepared to spend the whole night there.
Now you can proceed in taking notes. Again, like in academia, there are many ways to go about this. I tend to make it a game.
I look around and try to decide who in the bar has cried the most recently. Also I’ll pick out a random person and think of what their worst fear is or how they feel about their moms (I’m a really fun girl—is that coming across?). Another cool function of the bar is to try to use your peers to brainstorm a new article idea for Study Breaks Magazine.
Powder Your Nose
Another brilliant idea is to go to the bathroom.
More friends are made in bar bathrooms than in any extracurricular club on campus (probably). If you’ve ever doubted that we’re in the fourth wave of feminism, check out a women’s restroom on a Thursday night at a place that has drink specials for college students (unless you’re a guy, then I’m legally obligated to tell you that this is not a good idea).
It is truly a life-affirming experience. The bond of waiting in line with someone for a stall to open up cannot be replicated. Everyone is complimenting each other, encouraging the sending of questionable texts and helping to wipe away the smudges of mascara that have congealed below bleary eyes. It’s great!
Make Some Art
Your local “watering hole” (what an annoying expression) can also be a wonderful place to expand your artistic horizons. In the vein of making treasure from trash, you can stack sugar packets. Alternately, you can rip up your plastic cup and make it into a former plastic cup.
If you’re really desperate, you can always just peel the labels off of beer bottles. That’s what it’s there for.
What, do you think people are really reading the surgeon general’s warning that pregnant women aren’t supposed to drink? It’s like, tell us something we don’t know!
Be a Jock
Do bars still have darts? I always thought that seemed like a bad idea.
Anyways, maybe your favorite haunt has a billiards table à la Cheers, your parents’ favorite sitcom (although Ted Danson is so charming, can you blame them?). Again, I’m not sure what it is that drives barkeeps to put sports and alcohol under the same roof, but if you’re lucky enough that this is the case, then you should take advantage of it.
Hang around the pool table, continuously chalking a cue. People will see you doing this and think “Wow, here is a cool person who is comfortable in his/her skin and who also seems to know a lot about the game of billiards, better known as pool. How cool!” That’s a great reputation to have.
Be a Cool Kid
If you’ve ever stayed home sick, the odds are that you’ve tuned into TV Land, if only because The Price is Right is already over and Ellen isn’t on until four.
My point is, you’ve probably caught an episode of Happy Days and you know that Fonzie is a cool guy because he wears a leather jacket and is always messing with the jukebox. Do you see where I’m going with this?
Wear a leather jacket and hang near the jukebox. Congratulate people on their selections. Dance in your little contained space. Do not pay any mind to the fact that all of my TV references heretofore have been at least twenty years old.
If all else fails, drink. Take a swig of that personality juice and make it a night to remember, because you’ll be staying in the next couple of weeks to recover from this.
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