Nothing will highlight your introversion more than when you have an extroverted kid. I still cringe when I recall the time I took my five-year-old daughter to the park and she took it upon herself to make me a friend. Loudly she says, “Mom! Say, ‘Hi’ to that other mom!” “No, that’s okay. She’s playing with her son.” “Yes! Go over there!” “Sshhh…I don’t need to…It’s fine.” Now the mom is looking in my direction. How can I hide behind this swing? “THIS IS MY MOM! HER NAME IS SARAH!” Weak wave, dying inside.
Besides going to parks with my children or riding in elevators with them because they’ll introduce me to strangers there too, here are a few of the uncomfortable situations for my introverted self and what I rely on for rescue:
1. Ordering food over the phone or any type of cold call. Hello, I’m calling because…uh…my name is Sar (I probably shouldn’t start with that, they’ll ask me that later)…um…for the love of God, please just take over and ask me yes or no questions!
Rescue: Online ordering, email contact forms, online customer service chat, or getting someone else to do it.
2. Chatty Bank Tellers or chatty anyone in the service industry. I just want to make the deposit and go. Stop asking me personal questions like, “Do you have big plans for the rest of your day?” Now, I feel obligated to ask you about your life, and I don’t want to because of number 3.
Rescue: Online checking, self check-out lines, and Amazon!
3. Small talk/how’s-it-going? conversations. As evidenced by number 1, not only do I really have no idea how to start a conversation cold, I’m horrible at small talk. This is why I’m a therapist and not in sales. When clients come in, I start with, “So, where do you want to start this week?” not, “Those meteorologists sure are wrong a lot!” No warm up–just get into it. Related to this, please don’t ask me, “What’s new?” I have absolutely no idea how to answer that. When I hear that question, my mind races around all the corners of my life trying to figure out which ones have new things to report, and do you mean “new” as in “hasn’t existed before,” or a new thought, or a new way of being, or a new thing in the world at large, or a new development? I’d honestly be way more comfortable with talking about my deepest fears and your family of origin.
Rescue: Texting and facebook messaging. Able to check in and or get down to business without needing any intro or conclusion! It’s all middle! Check in, say, “I hope you’re doing okay,” send a funny video, iron out a detail, and be done! Even better, using text or messenger to set up a time to get together–then I know we will connect on a deeper level.
4. Home Product parties. I’d rather run icepicks through my eye sockets than sit in a room of people I don’t know, having small-talk, and potentially having to buy something. I’m not exaggerating.
Rescue: There is no rescue for this one–not even the promised wine.
Now that I’ve shared with you how socially inept I am, what about you? What are your most cringe-worthy social situations? Maybe it’s having someone ask about your family of origin 😉