I’m probably a bit behind the curve with these, but I’ve just found out about social interaction/mood badges today. If you don’t know what they are, read on.
What are they?
The idea with these pins/badges is that you can adjust them to demonstrate your ‘mood’ and availability for social interaction at the time. There are many other models, but this is one I found. Now, on the face of it, I want one. Most of you know that I’m happiest with my animals and my people! I really enjoy interactions with others on a one-one basis or small groups. If I have to attend large functions, I can do it very well. However, it’s exhausting and I need time to recharge afterwards.
So, what’s the catch?
Well, maybe there isn’t. However, the adverts all describe these as ‘fun’. Hmm – I get that, but there is a part of me that feels that’s a bit insensitive really. I believe there are many (myself included) who would love a way to demonstrate to the outside world that, whilst I’m happy to be with people, I don’t want to be the life and soul of the party. Finding a way to do this without offending might be good. I enjoy being part of things, but don’t need to be loud (or drunk) to enjoy time with my friends.
I prefer to keep myself to myself; I’m not a gossip; I get my energy from inside, not external factors. I’m someone who would be described as having a preference for introversion according to Carl Jung. And, it’s not funny! I’ve definitely lost people from my life who couldn’t understand why staying in is my going out! And, I remember being called a snob in some management training in my younger days, as I held back from the group a little bit.
What about illness?
In addition, how about if you’ve been unwell and might not have the energy to ‘perform’. This might have been a mild illness, or something more fundamental such as ME or long covid. I can see that it would be helpful to flag up that it’s not moodiness or a superiority, but that the mental and physical energy just is not available to interact.
And what about those neurochemicals? If you’re experiencing a slump in your feel good brain chemicals such as serotonin or dopamine, your capacity for being with people might be very low. Maybe just getting on with work is your job for the day and you’ll be ‘back’ tomorrow for social interaction.
Finally, how about considering neurodiversity. If you struggle with social interaction sometimes – maybe you feel anxious around unknown people or strange environments. Being able to demonstrate that you’re not up for social rough and tumble (metaphorically speaking!) but have much to contribute if people can just tune in a bit would be really helpful.
What do you think?
Humans are basically social animals and we really couldn’t get on without other people. Co-operation is what makes the world go round and there are many scientific studies to prove it. I guess if we lived in a world where it was acceptable and easy to be able to state when we’re not up for social interaction, (or even show any other feelings) and that our preference would be respected, not mocked, scoffed or generally scorned, then maybe these badges might not be required. I do hope you have your social group, family, friends, colleagues etc who will understand when you need time out or can’t join in as you’d like to. In the meantime, I’m ordering a badge – if I have to make fun of it to start with, so be it!
Would love to know your thoughts – maybe you already have one or some other suggestions as to how you can communicate your feelings. And, if you really enjoy social interaction all of the time, would you find it useful too?