Dear Dan (A.K.A Lonely Boy),
I wanted to write you this letter after recently binge watching six seasons of Gossip Girl on Netflix (and then going back to rewatch some from S1 because the last two seasons were, let’s face it, a bit shit and I wanted to remember it fondly).
I’ve been doing a lot of research and thinking about introverts and, as synchronicity goes, you’ve been the most prominent introvert on my radar lately. You prescribe to all the classic introvert traits – you’re a writer, clearly a deep thinker, an outsider, a great listener and, for a long time, the voice of reason and a calming force amongst your crazy extroverted friends.
Dan, dude, you’re an introvert and I saw it loud and clear but then you disowned yourself and that sucked… let me be more specific:
There was that time you dated the most popular girl in school.
Serena was, undoubtedly, a bit of a mess before (and after) you got together. You helped her see that there was more to life than wild parties and getting in trouble with her impulsive whims. You let her in the time you first met her, and – as I’m sure we both know – when you make that kind of connection with an introvert, it’s difficult to break. And she liked you for who you were.
And the time you befriended the head of the Lacrosse team when he really needed someone.
Anyone who’s ever watched anything about the American schooling system knows the Lacrosse team are the top of the social pecking order. But, when Nate lost everything, you were there for him, even after he pretended to be you and you got tied to a statue in your underwear.
You won over Chuck Bass. To a point.
The guy who is the antithesis of an introvert. Who can walk around and say, ‘I’m Chuck Bass’ to justify both his behaviour and to get people to do whatever he wants. Who went to school with you for four years and didn’t recognise you at all, but he definitely came to respect you (although, did that happen when you started behaving like him? I’m still not sure).
What about when you wrote a book (and don’t get me started on the blog) about your observations of your closes friends?
Your battle with stepping into your light as a talented writer, versus being in the spotlight was such a familiar one. And the fact that you got lost in your own little world and made up part of the ‘story was so fitting to your introverted character. I’m not sure about betraying those nearest and dearest to you, though, but we’ll get to that…
And when you helped another introvert learn to be herself (for a while, anyway).
The relationship that I think requires the most attention is the one with Blair. You seemed to downright loathe each other most of the time but, from the first conversation you ever had, your relationship was just the way introverts like it – straight to the deep and meaningful and very little messing around with small talk. When you got really close later on, you brought out her best side because you gave her permission to be her wonderful introverted self.
You inadvertently helped her to stop competing with Serena and all the Upper East Side Extroverts and to just embrace her true nature by discussing movies and art and your thoughts until late into the night, away from all the scheming and fighting for the spotlight that brought out an ugly side in her. You helped her shine in her own way, when she was struggling with ‘not being noticed’, you found ways to help her see what she had to offer the world, even if it was different to everyone else.
But, I’m curious, what happened?
As time passed, it became more and more apparent that you, like Blair, were more interested in getting what the extroverts have, instead of really embracing what made you so cool.
I get it, no one wants to live in Brooklyn when their friends drive around in limos, but your persistence to ‘be just like them’ actually turned you into a pretty unlikeable guy. Betraying your best friend and your sister (among others) was not your finest hour.
You lost who you truly were in pursuit of something that, I daresay, might have seemed more appealing but would have been against your natural instincts and probably exhausted you.
Don’t you get tired of pretending to be something you’re not?
Don’t you realise that when you were true to yourself, you brought out the best in the others?
If you accepted yourself – not as lonely boy, because I bet you were never really lonely, but as Dan the deep thinker and all round awesome guy – what kind of person would you have become?
Look, I get it, you’re a character written in a world where extroverts rule and introverts just want to be like their more exciting counterparts but, even if I’m the only one, I just wanted to acknowledge the great guy you were when you embraced your true nature and the positive impact being yourself had on those around you.
I think, even if it’s an unpopular opinion, it means more to find a way to shine in your own way than to ‘fake it till you make it’ in hopes that you will become like the people you think are better than you.
I think Nate Archibald, of all people, said it best: “You can’t fight who you are.”
Want to find your own way to shine as an introvert? It’s possible and it’s something I’m on a mission to spread the word about (not just to fictional characters, I much prefer real people)! Head over here for more info or email me katherine (at) thebeautyoflife (dot) com (dot) au