Did you ever meet someone who sort of collects people? They can talk to anyone, and everyone’s their best friend.
I’m not like that.
I think of myself more as a social hypochondriac. I never know if I’m saying or doing the right thing, and I frequently second-guess myself.
Sit me down in front of an email, or even put a phone in my hand, and I’m brilliant. Well, maybe “brilliant” might be a little hyperbolic. I’m comfortable, I’m clever, I’m confident – I am a sparkling conversationalist, admired for my witty repartee.
In fact, that was how my Husband and I first got to know each other – we worked in different offices of the same firm and we frequently had to communicate with one another. We hit it off on the phone and started emailing each other, and I guess I would say the rest is history.
I wonder sometimes, though, if he’s ever thought he was the victim of a bait-and-switch scam.
I’m just not good at social . . . things.
For some reason, my “out loud voice” really can be loud.
Wow, am I really that loud?
I realize it, so I try to tone it down. The next thing I know, I’m mumbling.
Try to sound normal. Try to look comfortable.
Then I talk too fast AND too loudly.
I try to slow down, and before I know it, my perfect comment bursts out, and people look at me as if to say “try to keep up, will you?”
Do I have something in my teeth?
Then the sweat. Why, oh why, do they keep places where people are so WARM?
Everyone else is just fine with long sleeves and sweaters – am I the only one with sweat dripping down my neck? Would anyone notice if I was the only person in a sleeveless blouse? Of course they would – I’m getting those old-lady bat wing arms. So I’m the lady who says dumb things AND has flappy arms. Great.
If I’m at a function and I see someone I know, that’s helpful. I can at least talk to people I know.
Why are you backing away from me? Did you just hand me off?
It’s just hard sometimes. Hard to have a light conversation when the other person tells me I look nice today.
Today? What’s wrong with me the rest of the time? Maybe they’re just saying that because it’s a nice thing to say and that’s what people do. I should start randomly saying nice things to people. That wouldn’t be too weird, would it? It kind of would, though. It’s weird. Why is this person being so weird? Or is it me who’s weird? That’s it. It’s me. I know it is.
And on it goes.
The good news, though, is that the older I get, the less I really care.
I mean, sure, it would nice to feel poised and confident around people, but honestly, I just don’t think it’s going to happen.
And I think the harder I try to appear so, the worse it is.
After all, I don’t have anything to prove. I’m not trying to impress anyone.
Maybe that’s what they mean by “being comfortable in my own skin.”
Old lady bat wings and all.