Paying it Forward, Hermit Style

A lot of people who do not understand introverts may think of us as hateful.  They think that if we don’t want to be surrounded by people every second of the day, we must hate people.  This is not true. Remember: as introverts, we don’t hate people; we just hate talking to them.  There is a difference. Let’s face it; we hermits don’t like to socialize a lot because we are THINKING. We are trying to cure cancer and invent a Star Trek-like beaming device to replace air travel.  At least, that is what I spend my time thinking about.  Oh, and cats.  I think about cats a lot. So, being solitary, quiet creatures, we aren’t likely to help build a house with Habitat for Humanity, or work in a soup kitchen.  Those things involve being around other people, for hours, or days, or longer.  Most of us DO want to help others, though.  The good news is that there are nice things that we can do for others from a distance.

It’s easier to go out and do something helpful, if you are already out anyway.  Last Friday, the 13th, I went to Five Below, which is way better than any dollar store, to donate to Toys for Tots.  I got the inspiration to do this from my friend Tasha on Facebook.  Since Facebook is my social life for the most part, I tend to be on there daily.  Anyway, my friend posted about how she and her family received presents from Toys for Tots when she was a kid.  This brought tears to my eyes and energy to my body.  I wasn’t planning to leave the house, but after reading Tasha’s post, I looked online for the closest Toys for Tot drop off box.  It just so happens that I was planning to go to Five Below, the closest place, some time soon to shop for stocking stuff for my son.  So, I was able to take care of an errand AND donate toys.  When I got there, the clerk told me that they were no longer collecting for Toys for Tots, but they were collecting for the toy drive for the local fire department.  I donated two toys and got some awesome stocking stuffers.   Win-win.

For some reason, every year, I forget to tip the mail carrier.  I can remember my mom putting McDonald’s gift certificates in the mailbox when I was a kid.  So, this year, since I was at Five Below anyway, I bought some cute Santa cash cards.  As soon as I got home, I put some money in the card and stuck it in the mailbox, with the flag up.  Then, I worried that he may want to ring the doorbell and say thank you.  As you may know, I HATE it when people ring the doorbell.  This sends the dogs into a tizzy, and one of the dogs weighs 70 pounds.  It is impossible to answer the door and hold them both back.  So, when I saw the mail truck coming down the street, I went up to my son’s room and put his laundry away. (Yes, I put my 16 year-old son’s laundry away.) The doorbell never rang.  I’m not sure if I was relieved or disappointed.

I usually forget about my UPS delivery person, too.  With my Amazon addiction, I SHOULD tip the guy who lugs my packages to the porch, and sometimes inside my house.  So, like the mail carrier, my UPS guy got a Santa envelope with two twenties inside.  I was able to hand it to him as he was carrying my packages in the front door.  Since my husband and I saw the truck, we were able to grab both dogs before they went flying out of the house.  He was thrilled said thank you at least three times.   He even attempted to pet the crazy jumping dogs.

Back when we lived in Indiana (I really need to blog about my tour of duty in Fort Wayne), my husband and I were secret Santas to a woman we really didn’t even like much.  She is my son’s friend’s mother.   She ended up losing her job right before the holidays.  My son came home from school telling me about how his friend was living on Ramen noodles and free lunch at school.  Now, keep in mind, he was not allowed to spend time with this friend, a really nice boy, out of school because the friend’s mom believed my son to be gay.  So, she told her son that he was not allowed to hang out with my son.  Um, first of all, my son is not gay.  Second of all, that is a really ignorant thing to say.  Did she think her son was going to “catch the gay” from my son?  Plus, of course, she was super religious, and we all know that Jesus hates gay people, right?  I’m being sarcastic here.  Anyway, even though we did not like this woman, we felt bad for her and her kids.  So, we sent some anonymous Walmart gift cards.  To this day, I don’t think she knows that that gay kid’s parents sent her the cards.

Last year, my husband, son, and I went out to dinner at a local Big Boy restaurant.  As we were eating our fries and burgers, we noticed a large family sitting in the next section.  There were a few children with this family, but my husband and I immediately noticed one child in particular.  To this day, I don’t know if the kid was a boy or a girl.  The child was completely bald, like chemo bald, and we didn’t want to stare, but we couldn’t help but notice.  We just wanted to help, some how. So, we asked the manager for their check.  We paid it, and got the heck out of there.   One free dinner didn’t make their child healthy, but that is all we could think to do.

I’m not telling you all this to brag about what a wonderful and caring individual I am.  I just wanted to share some ways that you can help others without really being around others.  I fully understand that there are some of us out there who would just rather not be around gobs of people, but still want to help.  Happy Holidays, everyone!





6 thoughts on “Paying it Forward, Hermit Style

  1. Such a great list of ideas here! I had forgotten about tipping the letter carrier, mainly because we did not have a terribly consistent experience with them living in apartments in Minnesota. Now we have a stealth letter carrier whom I have seen maybe once, and she looks to be a new trainee replacing the stealthy male letter carrier I used to see in our neighborhood. We have a couple of movie passes that parishioners gave us, but we haven’t had time to go to the movies, so maybe I can clip those to our box (an old-fashioned one mounted to the wall next to our front door with no flag) with our outgoing mail in an experiment to see if she’ll actually start letting us put outgoing mail on our box. She takes it from the church’s box next door, so… you might have just done some good for our family just by sharing how you have connected with others in the past! Thanks for that 🙂

  2. I know you are a very caring and giving person Lisa. As fellow introverts I know we understand each other. There is always someone out there that needs help. I feel better donating toys or adopting someone to provide for directly. It makes me sick when I read the incomes of “charity” organizations.

    I found out too late for this season, about a program that allows people to donate to seniors for Christmas. There are stores and businesses that participate. Seniors names and requests are hung on a tree and you simply provide what they ask for. It was sad to read some of the stories of how these are the only gifts that some seniors receive, and how most just want simple necessities. We’ve always given to toys for tots, but I am now going to look this and may even “volunteer” with other people next year to wrap and deliver the gifts.

  3. I definitely love these ideas and think its great you try to help as best you can even though you’re highly introverted. I think we’re considered misanthropes, when in fact we really just prefer limited social stimuli. I know that if I will be putting out extensive energy socializing one night, I will need to decompress the next. I’d like to think we’re just selective about those whom we associate ourselves with 😉 And that was extremely humanistic of you and your family to send gift cards to that mother although she was clearly not all there to make the statements she did! How rude! However, Karma is friendly to those who share and give! Have a great one Lisa! -Iva

    1. Thanks, Iva. I try. I would rather give to actual people than corporate charities. Though, I don’t give to people who take advantage of me. So, it is a fine balance. 🙂
      Happy Holidays!

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