Photo courtesy of Kamal
Photo courtesy of Kamal

I went out to breakfast with a friend this week. We hadn’t been to this particular restaurant before, so while we were being seated, my friend asked our server, “What’s good?” The server proceeded to tell us her top three choices. As she left, I gave my friend a hard time, asking “how does this stranger know what you like?” When she came back we ordered, and when I didn’t order from her top picks she told me I would be sorry. The reality is I know what I like and when my food came, it was delicious. When she came around to check in on us, she made an extra point to ask if mine was okay, as if she expected me to send it back. To me, this was funny. I have been around long enough to know what I like. But I won’t presume to tell you what you like, because, for some reason we all have different tastes—in foods and in many other things.

Sometimes it feels like this with social events. Just like the server who assumed that because she liked something I’d like it too, our friends and associates also assume that we will like what they like. We hear people tell us “You will have fun at this party” or “If you don’t go you are a loser.” Or “This networking event will be good for you.” Or “What do you mean you are staying home on your vacation?”

Dr. Laurie Helgoe says,

“Extroverts want us to have fun, because they assume we want what they want. And sometimes we do. But “fun” itself is a “bright” word, the kind of word that comes with flashing lights and an exclamation point! One of Merriam-Webster’s definitions of “fun” is “violent or excited activity or argument.” The very word makes me want to sit in a dimly lit room with lots of pillows — by myself.”

What is fun to you? You know what you think is fun and what you don’t. You don’t need someone else to define this for you. I am not saying that we should not try new things and change our comfort zone from time to time, but I am saying it is silly to let someone else define for us what is fun. And this is individual, as no two people are alike. As an introvert I may think something is fun and a fellow introvert may not. I may like going to parties, but not as often as my friend. I may have another friend that doesn’t like to go to parties at all. You know yourself, so don’t let others define you.

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