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Sometimes I like explaining my introvertedness like this: I can’t handle people.  Well duh, you may think.  But what you don’t see is that there is a corollary to that theorem, which is: but I can handle persons, even a lot of persons.  And now you’re all like, huhh???

Yes, it’s true.  I can’t handle people, but I can be around a lot of persons.  But it’s for specific and rather nuanced definitions of “people” and “person.”

Here is a standard definition of “people” as given by Merriam-Webster.

plural :  humans making up a group or assembly or linked by a common interest

And now one for “person.”

humanindividual

A person is a human and people refers to a group of these humans.  So how is it that I can stand to be around persons but not people, which would basically be the same thing as persons?

Well, I call attention to the second part of the definition of “person,” being “individual.”  I can stand being around individuals in that they are a separate entities who mean something to me.  But when I refer to people, I don’t really see the group of humans as separate individuals who have significant meaning in my life.  They’re viewed more as a mass or just even as separate humans who don’t have significant meaning in my life.  And since I have so little energy to spend on being in social situations already, I cannot spare much to being around people.  What energy I have will be dedicated to persons in my life and these persons might even be gathered in a large group and you might see me socializing with them.  And it’s solely because I see myself in a gathering of persons and not around people.

That being said, there are still differing levels of personhood for me.  I’d roughly divide them into four different groups and I think I’ll only elaborate on the last one.

  • Honorary person status
  • Person-3 status
  • Person-2 status
  • Person-1 status: There are very few individuals who have this status as there are very few whom I’m willing to be around all the time, even on the worst days of not wanting to talk to anyone and wanting to be by myself.  Those with person-1 status would include my immediate family, the closest of friends, and…Yaris.  Yes, Yaris.  Who is not human.  But I can handle her being around me even on the most introverted of days, probably more so than any actual human person.  She probably helps be get through those days better than any human person.  Horse doesn’t have person-1 status, in case you’re wondering.  He might be…person-3 at best.

Um…I’m a jerk.  Haha.

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