Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come blurb:
An introvert spends a year trying to live like an extrovert with hilarious results and advice for readers along the way.
What would happen if a shy introvert lived like a gregarious extrovert for one year? If she knowingly and willingly put herself in perilous social situations that she’d normally avoid at all costs? Writer Jessica Pan intends to find out. With the help of various extrovert mentors, Jessica sets up a series of personal challenges (talk to strangers, perform stand-up comedy, host a dinner party, travel alone, make friends on the road, and much, much worse) to explore whether living like an extrovert can teach her lessons that might improve the quality of her life. Chronicling the author’s hilarious and painful year of misadventures, this book explores what happens when one introvert fights her natural tendencies, takes the plunge, and tries (and sometimes fails) to be a little bit braver.
From the moment that I started reading the introduction to this book, I was HOOKED. Pan has a uniquely readable voice that is calming, understanding and enjoyably funny. The stories she tells are funny, yet poignant – without feeling even a little bit preachy.
The book tells the story of Jess, the author. She’s a shy introvert (also known as a shintrovert). This is the story of how she hit rock bottom, had depression, and how, because she was absolutely terrified of talking to new people, had almost no one in her life that she could hang out with – as friends. Jess had lost her connections to society. So, she decided to do something about it, and what she decided was that she needed to be a little more extroverted in her life. You know, as a science experiment. (PS: I love Jess.)
To be honest, I was crying by page 22 (look, it was an emotional week, I’d just seen Avengers Endgame – I still can’t talk about that). I guess I didn’t expect to connect with this book so much, but I did. I saw a lot of me in Jess’ story.
This book has helped me to verbalise something that I have been realising about myself recently. I am a very good listener. If you talk, I will listen. I will learn your children’s (or pet’s) names, I will discover where you went for holiday last, and I know either the last movie you watched at the cinema or the book you read. And if you ask me small talk questions, I will answer. But what I am bad at, is that two way exchange. If you come to me for small talk, you need to be prepared to keep the conversation going, because I have forgotten how to ask questions in response.
You see, I’ve noticed that when my colleagues come up to me on a Monday and ask “How was your weekend?” I’ll tell them it was fine. I might have been to the cinema, or finished a book. Maybe I didn’t do much at all “A nice, quiet weekend at home.” But then it’s like my brain goes blank and I forget to ask how their weekend was. I just jump straight into work topics. “How are you going with that report / spreadsheet / presentation? Don’t forget it’s due on Wednesday. Do you want me to look over an early version?” It’s not that I don’t care about their weekend – I’m just distracted because I’m in a work setting and I can have work conversations. Personal conversations and small talk elude me more often than not.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve gotten used to speaking into the void, as one does when they spend a lot of time blogging. I’ve lost that ability to ask questions that I expect to get a response from. Asking questions at the end of my blog posts has always felt a bit weird to me. What if no one reads them? Well, no one will respond. So, instead of putting myself out there, I end my blog posts with a generic “Until next time, happy reading!” where it doesn’t matter if people don’t write comments. I’ve stopped putting myself out there in the social media void, and now I can’t remember how to do it in real life either.
Despite all this recently discovered self-awareness, this book has some amazing stories in it. I was scared for Jess more often than not (although I was cheering her on as well). I wish I had read this book 5 years ago when we moved 800km away from friends and family. But I’m going to try and apply my newfound knowledge when we move back home in a couple of months. Because maybe I won’t click with my old friends any more. Or maybe I’m just ready to try some new experiences – put myself out there, so to speak.
If you’re an introvert, or even an extrovert wondering what it’s like on the other side, I highly recommend this book. It’s funny, well written, considered, and most importantly, brave.
Until next time, happy reading ??
I am not going to ruin this for anyone, but please know that when you get to the part on page 202, I LAUGHED MY ASS OFF. Actual hysterics were had. (In case you didn’t get the same edition as me, it’s like a page from the end of chapter 13. You’ll know it when you get there.)
* I received an early copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.