The social food chain: life cycle of the common introvert

Words by Rhianna Malas

In the urban jungle of the adult world, human beings attempt to build connections with others, to socialise, to court and eventually, to mate. For some this is easy – the more fortunate can float through life, seamlessly creating bonds with friends and lovers. Some, however, are not so lucky. Today on The Social Food Chain, we will be looking at the social behaviours and life cycle of Awkwardis Secludim: The Common Introvert.

Phase One: Isolation
Ah, here we see the introvert in their natural habitat, the bedroom. See, the introvert has a unique defense mechanism. When they have fully depleted their energy and no longer have the desire to intermingle with other species, they hide themselves in a metaphorical cocoon, like a sea anemone or the mucus fortress of the parrotfish. It allows them to keep themselves sheltered and provided for, at least for the time being. Here, we see the introvert’s diverse natural behaviours. This one is on their fifth episode of Stranger Things. The Binge Watch is a strength for the introvert, a move they’ll often use within their habitat.

Phase Two: First Contact
After a short while, the introvert becomes restless with its surroundings, desiring connection. Thus, the hunt begins. First, the introvert scouts for their prey. Who will they choose? How much embarrassment are they willing to gamble? The introvert begins with more familiar territory, close friends, but they all have work or prior plans. With primary sources cut off, the introvert must seek alternatives. They aim for the semi-friend from high school, the classmate they did a group project with that one time, the one coworker who they don’t work with a whole lot but hey, they get along alright. They hesitate, they don’t want to choose anyone too far away from them in the social food chain.

Too high above will make them feel unwanted, blocking their drive to go hunting again, surely making them starve. Too far below, and spending time with someone unlikable will not give the introvert the proper nutrients required for a satisfying social interaction. The introvert decides to take a drastic measure, and scout for events. One nearby, with no extortionate prices but also isn’t a hole. One with friends going, so they don’t have to spend the night with complete strangers.

At last! A breakthrough!

Phase Three: Social Achievement
The introvert has found a source of social interaction, a party! At a club! What a rare event for us to see the introvert in such unnatural territory. They leave their habitat feeling confident, ready to interact with other species. What a feat for the introvert! They feel on top of the world. Like the mighty chameleon, they can melt into their surroundings, allowing them to be anyone they want to be. They truly feel a part of the social food chain… For the first two hours.

Phase Four: Anxiety

What’s this? The introvert is feeling anxious, they hesitate to talk to anyone, it’s loud and clammy and it smells weird in this room. Why did they come here? They’re prey, surrounded by predators, with nowhere to hide and no one to talk to. They hate clubs, they just remembered. They hate clubs! Why. Did. They. Come. Here?!

Maybe it’s time for the introvert to return to their natural habitat. Episode six is waiting, after all.

Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!

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