If overthinking things burned calories, I’d be dead.

I used to think that being extrovert is a prerequisite to being successful. That unless you thrive in crowds of people and love being the centre of attention, chitchatting here and socializing there, you’re bound to fail. That in the highly unfortunate case that you’re an introvert there’s no hope for you, you’re doomed. I mean, who would like to be with someone who, at times, dislike being with pretty much anyone?

It’s been almost four weeks since I moved to this hostel. (Update: having found myself a new job now I’ve finally started looking for a shared flat, cheers to that!) The first week in my new home flew by trying to find a job, so I put all socializing aside and stuck to myself.

Is it the fact that I feel that I get so easily ‘stuck’ when talking to people that I end up losing track of time and being even more late than usual from wherever I’m going, I don’t know, but sometimes I just feel like talking to no one. When in the kitchen, I cook. When in the (shared) bathroom, I brush my teeth. When passing through the common room, my eyes are glued to the other end of the room where I’m headed… There’s no time for socializing, I need to get things done.

I came here alone, but Isabel and the two British girls from our 6-bed shared dorm in Billabong joined me in a week. Having finally come to terms with the fact that I’m not the über social party girl who’s up for going out every night (surely there must be other people like me?!), I had only just started to feel more comfortable in the hostel and was slowly starting to get to know people. Having been more of that previously mentioned person at Billabong as that was where I spent the first couple of weeks after everyone had left mid-January and the working part of my holiday came to a start, I could feel that the girls’ presence brought back some of the pressure that I’d started feeling towards the end of my stay at Billabong: that socializing from dusk ’til dawn and going out most nights is the only way to be if I want to make the most out of my time in Sydney and Australia.

...nope.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s not like I haven’t talked to anyone and gotten to know no one; I do. I’ve met some super nice people here and there and everywhere, most recently in the 8-bed dorm where I’ve stayed for the past couple of weeks, and kind of found my place among the people. The difference to Isabel, Queen of Socializing, is that I let it happen at its own pace, naturally (for me). While cooking I don’t feel the need to ask everyone in the kitchen how they’re doing, nor do I hang out in the common room just for the sake of hanging out because I’m always up to something: going to events (so many free events in the past couple of weeks, phew!), writing, doing yoga, hanging out in cafés, working, sleeping, reading… things that I enjoy and, to be honest, prefer doing rather than simply hanging. (I think the old Anna’s back… *hmm-emoji*)

Yesterday got my head spinning, though. Isabel had had a talk the other day with a girl staying in the hostel about appearance and aura, how you come across to people. She’d told the girl that she thinks that she can come across as not so easily approachable, pissed off, almost.

– I have a friend who can come across like that, too. Have you met Anna?
– Yes! I think she thinks I stole her food box.

Whaaat?!

So this is hilarious. I bought myself a pink food box from K-Mart about a month ago, and a few days later forgot it next to the sink in the kitchen where I’d left it to dry after having washed it, so the following day it was gone. This was at the very beginning of my time at Big Hostel when my bikini was still missing and I’d lost my bra (wth!) and generally felt like my belongings were all over the place.

Now, the box was nowhere to be found until one day when I walked into the kitchen and the girl was there, just about to pull out a pink food box from her cool bag… Whaaat!

Having spent the previous couple of days hunting for my lost belongings, going back to Newtown and all, I did not think twice before I opened my mouth: Is that yours? Obviously, if you ask me, I was using a friendly tone and what I meant to do was check if she’d perhaps found it in the drying rack and thought she’d borrow it thinking it was everyone’s to use. How it came across to her was a whole other story, though.

– DID YOU STEAL MY FOOD BOX?!
– No, this is mine.
– Oh, okay, because I had a similar one and I lost it (blablabla…).
– Ehm, no, this is mine.

That was pretty much the conversation we had, and for my part it came out totally wrong. I was not trying to accuse her for having stolen my food box, so when Isabel told me that the girl now thinks that I think that she stole my food box, I could not help but laugh. In addition to that she’d realized a few days ago that hers is now missing, too, so she’s thinking I stole it back, which I obviously didn’t. What must she think of me?

What do people actually think of me? 

Personally I consider myself pretty open-minded and easily approachable. Isabel, however, thinks that the girl and I are kind of similar in a sense that we can come across as cold (highlighting the word ‘can’, there!) and uninterested. As if we couldn’t care less about getting to know new people even though in fact we do, we might just not throw ourselves out there like some.

Isabel & I. Honest people are the best people, they help you grow.

After a small-scale experiment with an all-but-random sample of hostel friends the other day, I discovered that while one thinks I’m anti-social (with love, obviously), another thinks I’m super social and a third says that if I’m unsocial then he’s what, dead!?

It is funny how people’s perception of you can differ so much depending on how well they know you and where they know you from. Having always considered myself social and easy-going, maybe it’s time to take a step back and state the fact that I’m an introvert (awareness, acceptance, actionright?) and that maybe, maybe, for an introvert a hostel setting isn’t the most natural place to be at all times of day. Or maybe I’m just quite Finnish after all…?

Oh, the things that traveling teaches you…

xx
Anna