Dealing with other people is scary. It’s wonderful and I love people and the feeling of connecting with people; in fact, I’d go as far as to say I crave connection. That said, if I’m completely honest, the whole dealing with people thing terrifies me. I have to work through it all with a surprising amount of determination and tenacity to operate effectively in the most basic situations.
On the face of it, I am completely comfortable with all things social. People seem surprised when I admit to a certain dread about attending events, or meeting new people, or even meeting people that I already know at a new coffee place or restaurant where I’m unsure of the protocol. I will expend valuable brain energy trying to plan for every scenario if we are braving a new restaurant – if we’re meeting inside, how will I know where to find them? What if they are seated and I can’t see them and inadvertently end up at another table on my own and we’re awkwardly waiting for each other, neither of us looking around to locate the other? What if I arrive first? Do I just stand in a corner and wait because I haven’t booked the table? Or do I actually have to interact with the restaurant person and state a name and hope that they won’t look at me blankly so that I don’t feel even more stupid than I generally do on a moment to moment basis? I consider myself to have an added disadvantage in that while I have a name that isn’t particularly complicated to pronounce, it’s definitely not common, so I am often met with confused frowns, or the classic “wait here a moment” while the waiter / waitress goes to the back to check the reservation list and presumably prays that I will leave the restaurant so they don’t have to face the embarrassment of having to admit that they weren’t really listening when I gave my name and when I didn’t give them something they could semi – recreate from an already existing schema they were too scared to ask again.
Anyway, I digress. In short, it’s all very stressful for me and the scenario I am getting myself worked up about as I type is one where I am actually waiting for people I KNOW. You can then imagine what it’s like for me when I am faced with the terrifying prospect of meeting new people and navigating the unpredictable waters of social interaction. I’m very good at internalising my neuroses though, and do not tend to reveal that I am like a rabbit in headlights most of the time and am very easily rattled, so as a release, I write them all out and publish them on a blog and try to understand it so that one day, I can glide effortlessly through the realm of Scary Social Stuff. Maybe that’s a crazy aspiration and my neuroses are too developed and ingrained now to be completely appeased, but I’m going to keep writing about it and working at it. Let’s see how it goes.
Thanks for reading.
An Ordinary Idealist.