I’m not great at small talk. I never remember birthdays. I’m horrible with names. I’m overwhelmed in crowds, and I’m pretty sure I enjoy the company of cats more than people. I’ve never been in a relationship, I’m not naturally trusting, and I’ve got some serious commitment issues. I’m introverted. I have trouble making friends.
When I tell people these things, they don’t believe me. I think, for some reason, people have created a false correlation between extroversion and social media followings, and because I have a large following online the expectation is that I’m an outgoing guy’s guy who is always camera-ready and surrounded by glamorous friends. Everyone is marketing themselves (myself included,) but what makes it to the social feed is just a glimpse. There’s more to everyone.
Let me be clear about this though, I’m not upset about it. This isn’t something I want to change, nor something that I consider a hindrance. I recently had a chat with my friend Trevor about my views on relationships, and felt I should write about it. It felt worth making public. I think it’s important that I share the parts of me that aren’t as Instagram-friendly. I think we all should.
The amazing thing about this city is that you can live pretty much any lifestyle your little heart desires. If meeting 100 people every weekend is your thing, go for it. If you’re all about being the drifter that floats between groups and varies up your friend circles constantly, live your life. If you want to literally never leave your apartment or interact with a human ever again, it’s possible here. For me, I’m a quality over quantity kind of guy.
Over the past few years I’ve built a few friendships in the city that run deep to my core. When I need to talk something out, I have a small handful of people that I would trust with anything. The ones I’d take a bullet for. I prefer things stay that way. I’m very comfortable in my own company, and I like to think things through on my own before I like to reach out to others. I enjoy my solitude, most of the time. I don’t like burdening others with my problems or stress, nor do I do well when others attempt to unload theirs on me.
Okay, cool Rustin, but what’s the point?
I work in a relationship business. If I were the type of guy to remember names on the first try and to go out every single night and soak in the energy from the people around me, I’m sure my sales would skyrocket. Do more things. Meet more people. Become the life of the party. Build more connections, get more sales. Everything about this seems perfect… on paper.
If I were to try to be that guy, my business would probably flat line. And if my business didn’t, my soul would. Stay true to who you are and work with what you have. When you try to be someone you aren’t, you only do yourself and those in your life a disservice.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to expand your comfort zones. For example, this year I decided to join a gay sports league in lieu of going to nightlife events. I wanted to meet more people, but knew I wasn’t great at going to a club and starting up conversation on my own. I needed organization around something other than alcohol. I was put on a small team with people that I grew close to over the season. I built those friendships, because I stayed true to myself. I didn’t worry about creating relationships with everyone I came across, I worried about building the ones that I had and the ones that felt natural.
A very wise lady once said, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love anyone else?” Can I get an amen?