Tuesday, March 30, 2010

a bit shy?

I saw an old friend from high school today. Or, rather yesterday. I was on my way to the front door of my children's school in search of Kai and his classmate whom we carpool and she was exiting the school. I looked directly at her and was taken aback. There was no mistaking who she was as she looked entirely the same as when we were younger!

I could've said hello, squealed with excitement, chatted with her about "old times", asked about her life now, and reunited. But I didn't. Instead, my heart did a funny dance in my chest and I looked away.

I pretended I didn't see her.


It's not like we never got along; we were friends after all! And we certainly didn't leave on a bad foot or anything, or have our friendship go sour (like some). Yet, I still didn't want to "see" her or have her see me. (although I was intensely curious as to why she was there. She was carrying satchels, two of them, so I figured she must've been teaching something, or maybe showing a demontration. But of what and for whom? I remember she went to TWU for a year or two with the intention of transferring to UVic for marine biology. I don't think that transpired though. At least, there was no mention of it at the 10-year reunion a few years back, but I don't recall her current info, just that she was married with no children then.)

I watched her leave and wondered why my mouth wouldn't call out her name. I lost sight of her as she crossed into the parking lot, and I took off my glasses to wipe away the raindrops, and felt odd. Empty. Confused. These are feelings that haven't left me still hours later and I'm still wondering why I didn't say anything. When is the next time I'm going to see her? (although, I suppose it could be tomorrow if she were to return to the school, but that's beside the point!) I admit that I'm kicking myself (figuratively speaking) for being so...what's the word? Shy? No, that's not it. Scared? Yeah, maybe. But of what?

I've been thinking a lot lately about my inability to make Small Talk. I seriously suck at it. One may think I was good at it, but that's just a show. I have inherited my Father's knack for chatting up complete strangers and totally love doing so, but I can't get into a deep conversation, and it's bugging me. Maybe it's because I'm "damaged". I have hardened myself to Small Talk and would rather not engage in it after discovering that the person asking is only asking out of habit not genuine interest. When someone says to me, "hi! how are you?" I usually say the typical, fine or good. But I never ask back. And why? Because I honestly don't care. Okay, no that isn't true. I do care. But I don't trust the person asking me to care about my response so I'd really rather not start the whole charade. And I move on.

Which really does explain my lack of deep friendships and trust and loneliness, doesn't it? *sigh*

But how does one change that? How do I get past the insincerities? How do I ask the right questions? I'm really good at chatting up the cashier at the grocery store, but it's not hard to comment on the weather or the Canucks or the antics of screaming children during grocery shopping or how I "had" to buy the latest issue of People magazine, isn't it terrible about Jesse James and poor Sandra Bullock? Those conversations are good. They're safe. I leave happy and proud of myself for being able to converse with strangers! But I know that if I see them in the mall on their day off I'm not going to run up to them and start talking about those things! And I know that if I come in again a week later, the person isn't likely to remember who I am. I can accept that. But I struggle with wanting more.

I've started another training program with Stampin' Up! and it's been quite the challenge. They actually want me to talk to people! Like call them up out of the blue! Chat about things! And it's been causing me to panic just a bit. Which has got me realizing just how bad I am at this. I'm no longer just "not good" at conversing with people I sort-of know, but it's an epidemic! I really am.not.good. And it's so bad that I am getting anxiety! The idea of me calling up someone with the intention of having a deep conversation, someone I don't normally call, gets me all breathless! When did this happen? And how? I'm flabbergasted!

I didn't realize I had changed so much in the past ten years. I have slowly slipped from overconfident extrovert to a shy nervous nelly, and I don't like it! Coming to this conclusion is a good thing, I'm sure, but it's still an eye-opener for me. It's something that I need to work on! But I just don't know how.

I really wish this post had a conclusion or a nice ending or something, but I can't come up with one. I know (now) that things are bad. I know that I need (really bad) to change them. The idea terrifies me (which is also disturbing).

I'm really hoping that my old friend does come back to the school so I can start to break this No Small Talk chain, starting with her!


Financial Student said...

My suggestion is one small step at a time. You didn't change overnight and you won't change back. I've switched from extrovert to introvert a few times over my life.

I always love chatting with you and others will too. Just need a bit of that confidence back! :)

FieryCanuck77 said...

Thanks. :) I hope I can gain my extroverion (lol) back some day!

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