Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

The Happier You Are, The Less I Like You

Posted 12/07/2022 by Akaash Raghunath

I routinely find myself disgusted by the joyful nature of my peers. Why are you able to converse so fluently? That’s not fair. Stop it. photo by Shana Saint-Phard

A (not so) scientific analysis of why friendly people suck.

Modern society revolves around social interaction. Heck, ancient society did too: cavemen likely conversed with one another through a series of grunts, crude gestures and other primitive acts. Despite the inarguable importance of intraspecies communication, according to psychologist Ty Tashiro, about 15% of the 7.837 billion people on the planet experience at least relatively consistent social challenges. That’s about 1.176 billion people. I am one of those 1.176 billion people. 

“Only a fraction of humans on Earth are born with raw talent, but every person has the capability to better themselves.” That’s a line I’ve heard countless times from countless different people, generally after I start complaining about something inane. Raw talent is certainly a spectacle, but it’s also something that no one ever really takes for granted. “Oh darn,” you say. “I wasn’t born with an extra fold in my brain, so I guess I will never find a cure for cancer.” That’s correct. You won’t. Thinking you can through ‘hard work’ or ‘believing in yourself’ is a pipe dream and a waste of your time. It’s better for everyone if you instead focus on what you can accomplish, which, for most people, should be at least something, right?

Have you ever been in a restaurant, ordered something that sounds delicious, and waited for hours only for the waiter to show up with something entirely different? Most people would simply point out that they did not, in fact, order the meatball rigatoni. The waiter would apologize and whisk it away, returning shortly with the correct dish. That’s how that scenario would go down for most people. Most people. I am not ‘most people’ in this context. I am the guy that receives a plate of meatball rigatoni and says that yes, this is exactly what I ordered. I am the guy that eats that meatball rigatoni despite not actually wanting to eat it. I am the guy who picks the meatballs out of the rigatoni because I can’t eat them because I’m vegetarian. And then I’m the guy that leaves a five star review, because it wasn’t the restaurant’s fault that I had a miserable time there.

I feel like too many extroverted people just assume that anyone will be willing to maintain a conversation with them at any time, anywhere. That’s the wrong way of looking at things. Most extroverts will likely jump at the chance to talk to some random person they’ve never met before. Most socially neutral people will either endure it because they don’t particularly care or say no and leave, also because they don’t particularly care. Many introverts, including me, will almost always agree to have a conversation, not because I just love talking so very, very much, but because I’m terrified of looking like an antisocial half-wit and being ostracized and verbally harrassed for the rest of my pitiful existence. Does that sound completely overblown and unnecessarily panicked? That’s because it is. Constantly freaking out over minute, insignificant, borderline pointless details is called having social anxiety. To be perfectly honest, the reason there aren’t any quotes from TJ students in this article is because they’re technically not required, and if I don’t have to ask around for random peoples’ opinions, you better believe I’m not going to brave the horrors of conversation.

Want to get a job? You have to talk to somebody. Want to order a milkshake? You have to talk to somebody. Need directions because you’ve never been to central Iowa and don’t know how to navigate based on where various identical corn fields are? You have to talk to somebody. I’ve noticed that just about every extrovert on the planet constantly throws their ‘social juggernaut’ status around like free candy, and most of the time they’re not even aware of it. For example, someone says, “I picked up a couple of kebabs from that stand over there. Want one?” It sounds friendly enough, but to someone who’s too terrified of ordering a kebab for themselves, it’s a bit of a sucker punch. I can’t stand extroverts because they’re basically perfect people, at least in my eyes. I can’t stand enduring a meaningful conversation because I’m not capable of starting one myself. I despise watching friendly cliques get along because I’m too pathetic to waltz on over and casually join them. The reason extroverts suck is because they’re winning the game of life, and all I can do is try not to get left behind.