Expat Life

My inner introvert and the fear of missing out

It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed in a city like Paris. City lights buzzing, cars honking, people hurrying – there’s always an event to go to or a new place to see. Because there’s just so much going on in this city, it’s easy to feel like you’re missing out on something. You have to convince yourself that you can’t go to every event, because it’s technically impossible. But no matter how many events there are, I still have this tendency to stay at home, because it’s comfortable, reassuring and it makes me feel safe. At the same time though, I always fear missing out on an amazing opportunity. And it’s a struggle especially when you have an inner introvert.

I’m always tempted to stay indoors. Since coming to Paris, I’ve thought to myself that staying in my flat protects me from the dangers of everyday life. Especially from the creepy men that try to talk to me in the street. I find French guys to be really direct, so when they see something they like, nothing will stop them trying to chat you up. The difference in age doesn’t seem to bother them either.

Spending money is something that prevents me from going out. Paris is extremely expensive and like any metropolitan place, it’s always a pain spending more money on a night out than expected. This is why staying at home can save you loads of money. The thought of going out by myself also puts me off. My friends aren’t always free, so when they turn out to be busy, I’m more inclined to lock myself in. Going out on my own makes me feel anxious and worried, especially when I don’t know where to go or if I get lost or end up doing something completely embarrassing, which all make want to stay indoors. It’s always reassuring to have friends by your side who know where to go. This is why I’m always reluctant to be exploring this beautiful city alone.

Some days I just prefer staying in bed where I let my inner introvert take over. I love lounging on my sofa in my PJs, out of the dangers of everyday life, blocking out the hectic Parisian life outside the door. At home, you know yourself best, alone with your thoughts, feelings, insecurities, and you know that you can trust yourself. I think to myself that it is a lot safer hiding under the bed sheets, watching your favourite series, having a hot bath or dipping into my favourite book.

However too much time at home can be isolating, and leads me to think that I’m missing out on something truly worthwhile. It’s hard to have a buzzing social life once you come home from work. Sometimes you just want to shut yourself out from everything and hide under the bedsheets. But the fear of missing out is still pervading my thoughts like wildfire. There’s already so much I’ve missed since coming here: Afropunk, Lollapalooza, one of the most famous music festivals in the world, jazz concerts, night outs etc.

But in the end I realize that it’s perfectly normal to feel that way. I think the best thing is to have a balance between your social life and your personal needs, as it’s important to listen to your body. It doesn’t help either to look on social media to see what other people are up to, because comparing yourself to them won’t help the situation. It’s not always easy moving to a big city, or jumping at every opportunity you get to go out. You know what your own limits are and what you are capable of. Sometimes it’s better to be pumped before going out, head and heart ready, and other times you just need to say ‘fuck it’ because that’s how the best memories are made.