As anyone who's ever visited or lived in the Middle East will know, Arab societies are very social and community-oriented, societies in which, as Egyptians would say, there's nothing better than "el-lama el 7elwa," which means to have wonderful company in Arabic.
While this climate is certainly wonderful for extroverts, it can be overwhelming for introverts who are considered aliens by society for wanting to spend some time alone instead of being around people every step of the way. These are 12 annoying situations Arab introverts experience all the time.
1. Being forced to attend huge family gatherings every Ramadan and Eid
If the smell of a special social occasion is in the air, that means it's time for your parents to force you to meet your 16th long-lost cousin and pretend that you've been best friends for years.
2. Walking into your living room to find your aunt and uncle magically appear on your couch
So now I'm stuck in awkward small talk for the next two hours. Just great.
3. Bumping into your relatives on the street
I did not prepare for this conversation. It's like they're everywhere.
4. Being forced to socialize with every single person at a wedding
If you're going to an Arab wedding, be prepared to tell your whole life's story to every single person in the room.
5. Having strangers stare at you when you're having coffee with a book instead of a friend
The struggle is real when you're sitting in a coffee shop without an army of friends and people are gawking at you.
6. Going to a 'small party' at a friend's house only to find a 100 people you don't know in the room
This is not what we agreed to. Get me out of here right now.
7. Explaining to your parents that introverts are normal human beings
Having to explain that you're not an abnormal being from outer space for wanting to spend time alone is not fun at all.
8. Having people call you sad and lonely for wanting to travel by yourself
Road trips can be just as fun when you're alone.
9. Going to the cinema alone
Watching a movie all by yourself and in public? Aliens really are among us.
10. Having to answer THAT question: Why are you so quiet?
What's wrong with quiet? Quiet is nice too.
11. Being in a restaurant by yourself
Prepare to overhear strangers whispering about you and giving you very sad looks.
12. Having to explain to people what an introvert is in the first place
The word 'introvert' exists in the dictionary, they're real people!