I recently took off half a finger nail while chopping scallions. I also managed to streak my dog’s tail with blue paint while refinishing a hutch. I gave up stilettos a long time ago because my safety depended on it. I’m clumsy. I own it. It’s an adorable, endearing quality. Or at least I tell myself it is.
It doesn’t get any better in social situations. They pretty much go like this..
Person: “Hey! Nice to meet you”
Me: (Who me? ) “Ahh, nice to meet you too.”
Person: So what’s going on?
Me: (I met you 10.5 seconds ago, other than that…) “not much”
I hate conversations like this. Its awkward, especially if I don’t want to talk to this person. I’m not a people person in general. I’m a social klutz. I trip over my words, have little regard for my surroundings and can go from silent to siren if the right song is on. I’m not good at breaking the ice. I have no idea what they want me to say. What’s their sense of humor like? Maybe they won’t get my sarcasm. Don’t say anything stupid! Why are they talking to me anyway?
I’m just not that girl, I’m not poised or smooth. I have my elevator speech for work, but I don’t have one for society. I can talk for hours once I get going or with people I know, but strangers? Not so much. I go to extremes. Either I have nothing to say or I start rambling about whatever is in my head. I have put my foot in my mouth more than once and have seen the look of shock on someone’s face over something meant to be humorous. Afterwards I dissect the encounter and pull out things that may have offended, or sounded dull or dorky. I imagine a list of things I could have said differently or shouldn’t have said at all.
I can fake an outgoing personality at work, when I have to, but it’s kind of exhausting. My best friend didn’t even realize I was an introvert until I mentioned it one day. She immediately declared “No you’re not!” Then I could see every social situation the 2 of us have been in together running through her head before realizing, “yeah, I guess you kinda are”. Lucky for me she’s an extrovert. She can get all the small talk out of the way, which is like a cheese grater to my soul. Then once I’ve observed and accessed, I can bring out my wit and semi-sparkling personality. As a trade-off, if I get the cue that SHE wants out of a conversation I can swoop in like the Daria* I am, lay down some dry humor laced excuse and get away.
***if you didn’t get the above reference to a late 90’s MTV show about a humanity shunning, sarcastic girl I’m sorry. See? This is why my conversations can be awkward!****
I hear more and more people saying they are introverted. I can’t say I blame them, a lot of people just suck. But I’m starting to wonder if the flood of social media we often drown in is to blame as well. There are a hundred ways to socialize from behind a screen. We can swipe a photo to show interest and never have to risk a first impression. I admit I would rather text than talk on the phone, but even the klutziest of introverts have to stand up and open their mouths at some point. We can’t forget how to be ourselves and take a risk. People have to get to know us for what we are, not just what our profile says about us.
As an introvert I value me time, but I don’t want to become so anti-people that I lose my voice completely. I’ll never be an overly gregarious person, but I’m becoming more confidant and I’m caring less about what people think of me. I’m making an effort to be more personable. I try to say hi to people and even, gasp, make eye contact and smile as I walk by. I accept the fact that I’m a social klutz and embrace it. (It’s an adorable endearing quality right?) The most comfortable thing I can be is myself. Maybe I’ll say the wrong thing, or say too much, let my crazy show, be the dork that I am. Whatever. I’m fun and witty. You either dig me or don’t. And more often than not if I see the person again they still to want to talk to me, ( adorable dorks ARE kind of endearing.) even if I tripped over myself the first go round.
photo credit: One Way Stock via PhotoPin.com
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