How Destiny Helped Me Understand My Introversion
Destiny is a funny game for me, it has been a huge part of my life on and off for eight years now. I have adored the game, and I've been so completely done with it.
As I write this, I've hardly touched it in months. Yet, if someone asked me if I play Destiny, the answer is always yes. I have a relationship with Destiny in a way that I really don't have a relationship with any other game. I suppose it's similar to the relationships many MMO fans have with their games.
In my case, Destiny only became an MMO about two-thirds of the way through our relationship. Destiny has been there for me in good times and bad. It has seen me through three jobs, one and a half moves, and much more of my life than I often realise.
The launch of Destiny 2 came just before the worst time of my life, but in a way, it couldn't have come at a better time. It was there for me and my friends when we lost one of our best. It was how we kept sane through grief and how we kept in touch when we were falling apart.
For me personally, it taught me something about myself that helped me understand a bit about who I am. I am an introvert through and through, I have known this about myself for a long time. I find social situations stressful and exhausting, my happy place is either alone at my computer or spending time with my girlfriend, our cat, and our dog - in our little house away from the rest of the world.
Something that confuses me is that, as much as socialising stresses me out, I am happier doing so in person than over a Discord server or game chat. Maybe I am just an ancient human of almost 30, but I find social situations easier when I can see the person I am talking to in front of me, rather than on the screen, or usually not at all.
As you might imagine, this makes being such a big fan of an MMO like Destiny a bit difficult. I do not play with random players, I can barely even stomach when I do a raid with my friends, and they bring in a friend of a friend to fill out the raid team.
I cannot express just how much I would prefer to attempt a raid with friends I know who are completely unprepared over a group of complete randoms who would waltz through it in no time. This is a theme throughout my time with Destiny.
I can't tell you how many times I have spent weeks, even months playing exclusively by myself, struggling to complete activities solo, only to jump in with friends and make more progress in one night than in the previous three weeks. In fact, this is a habit I have noticed about myself in my day-to-day life, I often choose to struggle alone instead of asking for help.
Giving specific examples might be getting a little too familiar with strangers on the internet, but I often prefer to do difficult things alone. I don't really know what that says about me as a person, but it is something I have come to realise has been a part of me my whole life. It was only when I started doing it in Destiny that I realised I was doing it at all.
Introversion And Introspection
The reason being, at least I think it is, is that Destiny made it much more obvious that I was doing it. It seemed perfectly reasonable to me that I often did things unnecessarily alone in my regular life.
I'm sure it made my life more difficult, but it meant I got to avoid interacting with someone, so it was a net positive. I never consciously made that justification, it just came naturally to me.
Then I would play Destiny and grind away by myself for weeks at a time. I would complete quests, unlock new gear, and level up my character very gradually. Then a message would go into the group chat, "who's up for a raid tonight?". If I managed to overcome the anxiety that the message caused, I might respond "I'm around if we have the numbers".
This was a big deal. That simple message was a social contract, a commitment that meant I might have to play with my friends, who I have known for over ten years, who I sincerely love and would do anything for. I would have to talk to them. Over Discord. Perish the thought.
Figuring It Out
Now, let me clear something up, I genuinely enjoy playing with my friends. I love chatting with them, I love catching up and hearing what's going on in their lives. Doesn't change the fact that I have to work myself up for several minutes just to join the Discord call, like a boxer before a fight.
I love spending time chatting with my friends, I just find it very difficult. Let's skip to the end of the night - we have completed a raid, maybe some Nightfalls or some quests that require more than one person. My character has jumped up several levels, and I have a bunch of new gear I couldn't possibly have gotten on my own.
I feel great, I can't wait to do it again. By the time the next group message comes around, I'm back to square one, terrified to hit send on the response saying I'd love to play. After this cycle had happened a couple of times, I began to see just how much my introversion holds me back.
I had literal, tangible (well, digital) proof of what I could accomplish if I worked with my friends. If I let people help me. That really opened my eyes, and while I still struggle with socialising, I have that little thing to hold onto.
It may seem silly, but remembering those times playing Destiny with my friends and getting things done that I couldn't do alone, inspires me to be more outgoing. There's nothing wrong with being introverted, but I love my friends and I hate that my nature prevents me from spending more time with them.
Destiny helped me to understand it properly, it gave me something I could latch onto and say, "This is what my introversion is doing to me", and that helps me overcome it.