Which Socialite Are You?


Are you an Intentional Socialite or an Incidental Socialite?*

A what or a what? I’ve never heard of those terms.

Of course not. I just made them up.

Well then how can I answer the question if I don’t know what they are? Maybe if you explained them first?

Oh. I guess you’re right. Okay.

An Intentional Socialite is one who actively pursues social interactions with others. They’re the ones who hold dinners, organise nights out or coffee catch ups or who are only interested in going to see a movie if it’s with a group of friends.

Makes sense. And an Incidental Socialite?

An Incidental Socialite experiences social contact in the context of another activity. A chat over coffee after church or community singing, catching up during a break in a theatre rehearsal or art class, the brief “How’s it going?” exchanges after a meeting or waiting to pick up kids in the school playground, even purely social events as long as they’re predictable like Friday night drinks after work or a weekly coffee date at the same cafe.

I think I understand.

Good. So which one are you?

I need to think about it. I’ll let you know in the Comments.


So which one are you, then?

Me? Oh, definitely an Incidental Socialite. Well, except for a brief period at the end of my 30s when I actively pursued social contact with the support of a psychologist in a challenging time of my life.

What made you stop?

Psychologists are expensive.

Ha ha. Couldn’t you do it without the psychologist?

As a shy introvert? No. Not for long, anyway.

Did it concern you?

Not really. That’s the beauty of Incidental Social Contact, you don’t notice that you don’t really have a social life.

So what made you come up with this concept?

Too much long distance running by myself. Nowhere to go but inside my own head.

Very funny. But there must have been some reason the thoughts were there.

Hm. Yeah, there was.


Well, you know how I said I wasn’t concerned about not having intentional social contact?


Lately I have been.

Been what? Concerned?



Well, that was the question, wasn’t it? Why? Why now after all these years?


And I realised I was noticing a lack of social contact with people because almost all of my incidental social opportunities have disappeared.

I see. How did that happen?

Hard to say. Life changes, you know? Some things ended by choice. Some not. Even with work, I’ve gone back to casual teaching and work offers have been thin on the ground so even brief staffroom chats over lunch aren’t happening.

So what are you going to do? As an Incidental Socialite?

Get used to my own company?

Not funny. Seriously, what are you going to do?

Well, I’ve got you, haven’t I? I do enjoy these little chats of ours in the Comments Bar & Grill. What are you drinking? My shout.

Thanks, I’m flattered and I’ll post my order in the Comments. But don’t you think flesh and blood socialising might also be a good idea?

Well, I have started going to group classes at the gym.

I guess that’s a start. Although, how do you hold a conversation while you’re bouncing around and sweating profusely?

It can be done. After all, I came up with this whole Intentional/Incidental social concept while I was running thirty kilometres, didn’t I?

Thirty kilometres?? You ran thirty kilometres? Okay, I think you may have more problems than I thought.

Very funny. I’ve finished my drink. It’s your shout.

Uh, right. What are you having?

Gin. And as you’re buying, make it a double.



*My fingers kept wanting to type “Socialist” but that’s a whole other discussion.

The Girl Who Wore Hats – From Introvert To Extrovert

The young girl stared at the book clutched in her hands on the desk in front of her. “Don’t pick me. Don’t pick me. Don’t pick me.” The litany went around and around in her head. “Don’t pick me. Don’t pick me. Don’t…”

She heard the teacher say her name. Hands shaking, a new litany began in her head. “Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Don’t cry.”

She stood, almost unsteadily, locking her knees stiff to stop them from shaking, staring down at the book. She risked a look and seeing the teacher staring at her, quickly looked away, embarrassed.

She began to read, her voice barely a whisper, conscious of the tremor but unable to prevent it. She reached the end of the assigned passage and sat down, relief and mortification intermingled. Even as the teacher thanked her and congratulated her on her expression, she continued to stare at the book on the desk before her, wishing she were somewhere else.

That was me, before my current incarnation. Those who know me personally but have only ever known the Current Me, would be surprised, perhaps even bewildered, to believe that public display was such torture to me once.

I am an introvert, with the added bonus of genetically inherited shyness. Ask anyone from my Earlier Life and this concept of Me will be confirmed. Ask anyone from my Latest Life and they will laugh and tell you, “She’s no introvert!”

People tend to think of introverts as shy and retiring, socially awkward, even anti-social. This is often not the case. My Fellow-Introverted-Friend recently shared an article listing the attributes of introverts (see Related Articles below). It is me to a T. Or an I, rather. (Thank you, Myers-Briggs.)

So, if I am a Tick All The Boxes Introvert, how is it that I am now mistaken for an extrovert?


I wear hats. Imaginary ones. If I am invited to a party, I put on my Party Hat before I leave the house. If I need to stand up in front of an audience and make a speech, I wear my Speaker’s Hat. Teacher Hat, Actor Hat, Traveller Hat, Protester Hat… I’ve got an invisible wardrobe full of them, for all occasions.

Party Hat

Party Hat

Wearing my hat, I can be whatever I need to be, do whatever I need to do, say whatever I need to say.

I actually have quite a collection of real hats too and sometimes they can serve the same purpose as my invisible ones, helping me believe I am someone else.

There are places I go hatless. Places where I feel safe, like home, or places where I know in my heart that to gain all I can from the experience, I need to be the Real Me. Going hatless in public places can be risky. As long as I am left to be the Real Me, in all my introverted glory, I can cope. However, throw me unexpectedly into another role – ask me to announce something without warning, for example – with no opportunity to find and put on the appropriate hat, and I am left tongue-tied and embarrassed.

So next time you’re at a party, take a look around. There may be introverts among you. Try looking for their Party Hats. No, not those ones. The invisible ones. (Did I just tell you to ignore the real party hats and look for the imaginary ones? Boy, we must be at soooome party.)



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