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Date finished: May 8, 2019

Rating: ★★★★★

Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come, Jessica Pan

As an introvert with occasionally crippling social anxiety, I regarded Jess Pan’s book warily. I saw the cover online, laughed at the icing-on-the-cake image, and then gave the subtitle a little side-eye. An introvert… saying yes… for a whole year? Say it ain’t so.

Alas, Pan pulled me in with enticing  hopes of being more extroverted without it costing me my sanity, and I’m very happy I gave this one a chance.

I’ll start off by saying that motivational, inspirational books like You Are a Badass and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck are my jam. I love fist pumping my way through and being completely convinced (while sitting quietly alone in my house) that I can conquer all my social-anxiety fears and do anything. And then I put the book down and happily prepare for an afternoon in peaceful solitude.

The thing I feel these books have in common is that they were written by extroverts. What makes Pan’s work so convincing is that the root of her perceived issues stems from her being an introvert. Yes!

After acknowledging that maybe she could use a bit more of a social life, Pan vows to spend the following year doing things well outside of her comfort zone, including going to networking events where she doesn’t know anyone (gasp), meeting women from Bumble BFF for coffee or drinks in the hope of feeling the elusive friend-spark (yikes), taking an improv comedy class (please, no), traveling alone and letting a complete stranger pick the destination (you can’t even use a guidebook for help making plans when you get there: double yikes), doing stand-up comedy (I’d rather die), and hosting a dinner party (I mean, at least these people already like her).

I so totally appreciated the lengths Pan went to for this book. Instead of making bold proclamations about how totally rewarding uncomfortable social events can be (*cough* only an extrovert would say this *cough*), she goes out and does the legwork for us introverts reading with apt attention. And guess what: sometimes it really sucks. She had some really awful, panic-inducing, I’d-rather-be-anywhere-but-here moments along the way, but she stuck with it and came out with a group of unexpected new friends to invite to a dinner party.

Pan is the introvert that acknowledges that sometimes introversion is a bit of a problem, makes the resolution to try her hand at extroversion, and faces her fears for an entire year to learn that some of the stuff she was (any many introverts are, I’m sure) afraid of really wasn’t that bad. She morphs from a “shintrovert” (shy introvert) into a budding “grintrovert” (gregarious introvert) in hilarious, heartwarming fashion.

Her story is one that will stick with me when I’m dreading a networking event or considering cancelling plans, and I’ll recommend her advice to many of my introvert friends.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Photo courtesy @simplystashless_books (Instagram)

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