A common issue in my life is the tendency for others to try to cheer me up when I am upset. Not to sound like a grumpy and bitter person, but I wish they wouldn’t. It sounds bad, I know, and I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. It’s just that the most common remedies for sadness don’t work on me. In fact, they make it worse.
For example, it’s a common practice that when trying to cheer someone up, you attempt to make them laugh or engage in a light-hearted conversation. For most people this works well. However, being the introvert that I am, it merely interrupts my thought process. If I’m upset I tend to withdraw more than usual. I escape into my own mind and attempt to work out the issues. How can I possibly solve the problem if you are distracting me and being silly?
Now I have a new issue: you are annoying me. Now, I can completely ignore you or express my true feelings with a look of annoyance. This may seem like a brilliant idea. The person is no longer in the mood to engage with you leaving you free to contemplate your problems. Though, you do run the risk of endangering the relationship and causing a whole new set of problems. What I usually do, or at least attempt to, is mildly engage, put on a happy face so they feel like they succeed, and then subtly slip away to be alone.
Another issue I have is when people try to get me to talk about what’s wrong. Really, the problem arises when they are persistent. They keep asking me. Keep trying to pressure me into talking. Stop. Just stop. I truly appreciate the gesture, but I’m not ready. I haven’t had a chance to process it and I need to do that before I can even think of talking to anyone about it. In a previous post I talk about how introverts think a lot. Well this is one of those scenarios. Here’s what you do, let me know you’re there for me, then leave me alone about it. Maybe in a day or two ask about it. Maybe I’ll open up, maybe I won’t. But you have to give me time to deal with it first.