Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come, by Jessica Pan
Judging by the title, I thought two things: this was all me, and this was going to be hilarious. Well, it absolutely was all me, the introvert who painfully puts herself in extroverted situations to try to make life a little better.
Oh, how I related so much to the struggle of stepping outside of a wonderful introversion to actually talk to strangers.
The author took us on her year-long adventure of forced extroversion, ranging from making small talk in public and forging connections on a solo travel trip to taking an improv class and networking. I saw so much of myself in the author at different stages in my life. I haven’t dedicated a year to extroversion, but I certainly have grown out of a hermit shell as my life evolved.
I can remember the days of panic before having to give a speech at work—or even speak up at a meeting. But now, I can work a room like I own it, and I in fact, love the stage. I love presentations, running meetings, giving inspirational speeches, and even acting. So, that previous fear of public speaking has been squashed. It wasn’t easy, but I did it.
I was also reminded of the pain of loneliness when embarking on brave solo travel trips.
I remember one in particular to the Bahamas, thinking I was so badass travelling on my own and going to have an amazing time. That was, until I broke down with severe depression and loneliness. It was then (and after a call with my mom) that I found the courage to walk up to two random strangers and ask them if I could eat dinner with them, and an instant friendship was forged (and still remains 12 years later!)
I also could relate to that fear of improv—but unlike the author, I have not combatted that fear, though through an acting class, I was forced to face it. I failed, and I cower still at the thought of improv because I like my neat little plans, so I don’t look “stupid.” But I think that’s something I want to work on. In fact, there is a lot the book talked about that made me want to try.
I felt the author’s vulnerability in her truth so strongly. I was wrong about it being “hilarious,” though—while there was an occasional chuckle and the running theme of humor throughout for certain, what I loved even more about the book was that it was more inspirational than funny.
It wasn’t a running joke; it was real, authentic, relatable, and naturally funny when it needed to be.
I took away so much from this, wanting my own year of purposeful extroversion, using her shared conversational wisdom, ideas for making new friends, and hosting a dinner party. (Who wants to come?) In all seriousness, I have the Meetup and Bumble BFF apps sitting idly on my phone, and all it would take it a little bravery to step into trying to make new connections.
If I am being honest with myself, the best times of my life have been when I made bold moves of extroversion—meeting a friend out at a gay bar where I knew absolutely no one else; finally performing in a parent musical theater show; meeting those new friends in the Bahamas. All of these experiences changed me for the better.
For any introvert out there who really would love to make a change in their life (or just admire someone who took a bold step), this book can be a game-changer.
To learn more about this week’s author and her book, you can find her here:
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