Like many introverts, my circle of friends pretty close-knit – and I mean overlapping-stitches-tight-knit. It’s often hard for me to truly open up, and when I do, it’s really only to a select few.
There’s one friend in particular who’s really been there for me through thick and thin. She’s my other half, my “ride-or-die” (although I’m getting a bit too old to use that phrase). I don’t think I can fully put into words how much I appreciate her always lending a sensitive ear to my quirky, introverted ways.
You might be wondering – What’s she like? Well, for starters…she’s very pretty. And she can sing in perfect key. And…did I mention she also has six strings and a fretboard?
That’s right – one of my best friends isn’t technically a “friend” at all. She’s a guitar.
I’m an introverted empath, aka I’m super sentimental not only with humans, but also with inanimate objects (I practically say “excuse me, sir” when I bump into tables). So much, in fact, that I even gave my guitar a name – Libby. She’s not even super fancy, expensive guitar – my friend found her at a yard sale. But her miniature frame is perfectly tailored to fit my still child-sized hands, like we were somehow destined to find each other. Nowadays, she has sand under her fretboard as evidence of all of the beachside adventures we’ve gone on together (with many more to come).
I get it – I know that I sound (more than) a little nuts talking about my guitar as if it were a living, breathing human. But trust me that there are a million good reasons why I’m not totally off-my-rocker for thinking this. For the sake of not turning this into a small novel, I’ve picked the top five reasons why having an inanimate best friends is one of the healthiest things I’ve done for myself as an introvert.
5 Reasons Why Introverts Can Benefit from an Inanimate Object BFF
1. It helps me express myself when I can’t quite find the words.
More often than not, ideas that sound polished and elaborate inside my own mind end up sounding more like a garbled mess once they escape my lips.
Even something as simple as answering a question can sometimes feel like I’m in the hot-seat of a high-stakes spelling bee, my mind going tabula rasa blank.
I’m not alone here – science suggests that we introverts simply may need more time to think and respond than our extroverted counterparts. When I’m alone with my guitar, I can toss societal pressures out the window and express myself in a way that flows naturally. Phew.
2. It allows me to grow and evolve – at my own pace.
I remember the days when I would get so frustrated playing the guitar, my fingers slip-‘n-sliding every time I tried to play even the most basic chords. It took me about two-and-a-half years (i.e., a very long time in guitar terms) to nail barre chords…and you know what? That’s perfectly okay!
Like a lot of introverts, I’ve never been a highly-competitive person – let’s just say that over the years, I’ve spent more time staring up at animal-shaped clouds than attempting to catch a lacrosse ball. Individual-based activities that I can dedicate my time to at my own pace, without any outside pressure, are what make me feel most like…well, me.
Since I’m my only competition, my sole goal (as cliché as it may be) is to improve bit by bit each day
3. It helps me cultivate confidence.
Not only am I introverted, but I’m also a bit shy (which are actually two different things entirely). I sometimes struggle with my self-image, ruminating self-doubt better than a free-range cow. When I was in school, I remember I would have practically rather gnawed off my left arm than introduce myself to the class.
When I spend time with my inanimate (and therefore non-judgmental) bestie, I do my best to channel my über-confident idols, like Joss Stone and Norah Jones, and to build a sense of self-love that I can take with me even when I put Libby aside. I’ve learned to fake my confidence until I make it – and trust me – eventually, I do make it.
4. It connects me with other people.
Since I also have my bouts of social anxiety, I’m a self-proclaimed fiddler (musical pun fully-intended). I often have a lot of nervous energy that I have to somehow burn off in social situations, and Libby helps me do just that.
I like to think of my guitar as some sort of a coffee-table book, a conversation starter that opens up doors that my socially-anxious self would otherwise slam shut.
I can’t engage in small talk for the life of me (a common theme amongst us introverts), but when it comes to talking about music – something that I’m over-the-moon passionate about? You better grab a blanket and make yourself comfortable, because I’ll talk your ear off for the next foreseeable future.
A lot of my close friendships (with introverts and extroverts alike) started with a strum of the guitar, and for that I couldn’t be more grateful.
5. It leaves me feeling rejuvenated to actually socialize with humans.
I sometimes (conveniently) forget to prioritize my own needs, making socializing more exhausting than working two double shifts of overtime (with no coffee).
When I’m alone in my room playing the guitar, it’s truly my “me” time to be unapologetically myself and escape into another world – even if it’s just for a bit. It’s basically my version of taking a much-needed mental nap, recharging myself to the point of feeling excited to spend time with the people I care about – instead of dreading it. Even on my most anti-people of days, I’ve found that a little guitar-playing can go a long way when it comes to respecting my personal boundaries.
So, am I the next Jimmy Hendrix? Will I be playing onstage with Shakira anytime soon? I’ll be the first to tell you – unless I happen to stumble upon some sort of magic genie, the answer is most likely a resounding “NO.”
But does my introverted heart love playing the guitar more than I could ever possibly put into words?