Jammie Steps? No Thank You

Jammie Steps? No Thank You
Mariam Nash

It is now meridian and coffee-hogging students are set free from classes and tutorials for an hour. As an introvert, eager to start the new-year on my own terms, seeing the myriad of blossoming extroverts at UCT is intimidating. We introverts wouldn’t usually be found on the Jammie steps – home to the cool kids and social butterflies of UCT. When you do see us there, we are probably en route to study in Oppenheimer or hastily walking through the Plaza determined not to make eye contact with anyone. On the odd occasion when you do find us sitting on the famous stairs, approach with caution. Kidding. We are probably deep in thought and unprepared for any energetic bombardment. Being an introvert who thrives in her set ways, I have the survival guide for extroverts on befriending someone like me.

Places we frequent more often than the Jammie steps: we’re everywhere – but we may spend our free-time on the benches in Leslie Social, on the less frequented lawns, at the sofas in the library, or in places like Otto Beit which is quiet and allows for a peaceful lunch on the benches along the walls.

How to approach us: feel free to approach, but remember that our introverted personalities might shrivel up when you overwhelm us with your excitement over the out-of-body experiences you had at the psychedelic party last week. Calm down. We enjoy deep conversations that make us sit on the edge of our seat, eyes narrowed and lips shaped in a thoughtful half-pout while nodding our heads, delighted to become acquainted with an interesting stranger.

Having unexpected guests at our meeting: you’ve successfully befriended an introvert and you have met more than once for a coffee from Panda Land. Don’t be alarmed when we go quiet and become one with the bench when your friends join in on our coffee date. We prefer our personal space and meaningful one-on-one conversations.

Inviting us to social gatherings: we’re not anti-social -- we’re introverts. As many do, we enjoy the serene, natural aesthetics that Cape Town has to offer. That being said, we won’t typically be enthusiastic about partying in a cramped and clammy club where there is no room for our personal space. Loud music coupled with strangers floating around immersed in dance does not typically allow for conversation to flow.

Being an introvert may be misconstrued as being anti-social – we’re really not. We enjoy long-term friendships as well as our personal space. Friendship-flings are a no-no.

So now that you’re equipped with your extrovert’s guide on approaching introverts, be confident that we won’t shrivel up or become one with the bench the next time you meet us on campus.