Life

Embracing Awkward

im-definitely-on-the-spectrum-of-socially-awkward-quote-1

I am not socially fluid. I don’t know what to say in many situations. I also find it very hard to start small talk with strangers, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try. Sometimes I’ll be in a situation giving myself a pep talk to just say something. Make a comment about their dog. Their cute bag. Their baby. I will give you a full blown example of a situation.

A couple months ago I decided to stop into a Starbucks to do some writing. People just keep to themselves, right? I was sitting in an area with four comfy leather chairs and observed a couple come in with a newborn baby. You could tell it was a major outing for them. Maybe they had to go out for a doctor’s appointment and decided to stop for a quick coffee on the way home. The dad got the mom and baby situated before heading to the counter for their drinks. The mom looked tired and a bit overwhelmed so I decided I would reach out.

I was that new mother once and it was nice when people talked to me about my baby. I asked how old she was. What her name was (it was a very unusual and lovely name). If this was her first (yes) and how being a new mom was going. She admitted she was overwhelmed and I offered what I hope were comforting words. I did not say this time passes too fast and to hang onto every moment (this is one thing that was said to me over and over, hundreds of times, especially when I was complaining about some facet of motherhood). I told her to take care. It wasn’t a flowing conversation by any means and I kept my voice quiet and mellow.

Then another woman came over cooing and awing away in such a joyful and interested way. She was full of questions and thoughts that made me think, so that’s how it is to not be socially awkward with strangers. It made me think about my own stilted interaction with the new mom. I should have shown more excitement. But that’s just not me. I love babies and puppies as much as the next person but if I don’t have a personal connection to you already, I can’t overact the situation – high voice, joyful tone, natural, sunny attitude. I am a reserved person, especially with strangers.

A couple weeks ago we were at a social function for our son’s school. I do not enjoy these situations very much because I am not home reading a book or a million other things I’d rather be doing. I don’t drink and cannot hear well in noisy environments which also is a strain in social situations. I keep to one on one interactions as much as possible but I’m just as happy to sit and people watch. I’d rather observe than participate, I guess. I think this makes me awkward to others but I have learned to just embrace it. I have been told I can come off snobbish because I don’t always engage. I feel like we live in a society that values outgoing people over the quiet ones but I’ve learned to be OK with that.

MC

 

Advertisements
Musings

Mnemonics and Names

201419233628

I suppose there are things to say about mnemonics but I’m not really feeling it today except to say that I use them for my computer passwords here and there (you basically need full phrases with numbers and symbols thrown in these days to be sure everything is secure). A couple of these phrases have really stuck in my mind so I guess you could say they are now serving a dual purpose. The things I learned them for are not even anything I use anymore in my grown up life but they got me through whatever tests I needed them for and for that and the fact they are still in my brain 40 or so years later is a testament to them.

Speaking of remembering, I really need an ace way to remember people’s names. I’m pretty good if I know someone else with the same first name (especially my own because I usually will say to them, well, that’s easy to remember with a little laugh and that somewhat reinforces it). But there are many, and I mean many times when I am introduced to someone and my mind isn’t present when they say it so I’m like, uh oh, and hope someone else will come by and say their name so I’m not embarrassed later when I can’t remember. Does this ever happen to you? It could be me saying hi, I’m Mary and then I totally miss their name when they say, I’m ______. I seriously have a short attention span.

I’m also not great in social situations with people I don’t know (these situations that require us to introduce ourselves in the first place). I’m too busy thinking of things to talk about so if people are being introduced, my mind is already too absorbed in my other thoughts to take it in. I will try to ask someone else if I really need to know. If I know I’ve met someone before but see them another time and can’t remember, I’ll just say, hi, I’m Mary again and hope they reciprocate.

A few years ago, I took part in Dale Carnegie training and let me tell you, they really stress how important it is to remember people’s names. A person’s name is really the most important thing about them and it makes people feel good when you use their name in conversation. If I can remember it the first time, I will always try to say it again or at least at the end of the conversation because that is a good way to reinforce it as well. I practice this when I’m on the phone with anyone in customer service because they always give their name. I write it down so I can use it during the conversation and again when the call is ending.

Maybe we should all develop our own mnemonics so when we introduce ourselves, we can say, hi, I’m Mary, Meet A Real Yoyo. On the other hand it might just be easier to remember Mary.

Tell me how you remember people you meet for the first (or second time).

MC

 

 

Life

Can you hear me now?

Metro_Diner_Cafe_Interior

There was an interesting Miss Manners column over the weekend which caused me to reflect on my own experience in social situations as a person who cannot hear in noisy environments. The advice seeker had a couple of friends who preferred silence when they go out to dine and she was frustrated and perplexed about the situation, turning to Miss Manners for counsel. I know this scenario all too well and found myself in a similar position over the weekend at a trampoline park birthday party. If you’ve been to one of these, you know what I’m talking about.

I cannot hear. Let me just put that out there. That’s not completely true because I’ve gone to lengths to improve my hearing over the last several years. About 11 years ago, when I returned to work from maternity leave, I found myself with a new boss, a boss who was a soft talker. I thought maybe the last twelve months I’d spent at home with my child had left my hearing for the worse, with the crying, screaming and tantrums that had been occurring. I gave it a few weeks but finally decided to address it with an ENT. I was 40 years old and if I needed hearing aids, so be it.

Continue reading “Can you hear me now?”