March 18, 2011

On being an introvert

I need help… serious help. I have no idea how to socialize with people I’ve just met other than on message boards or via email, facebook, twitter. I’m a horrible introvert IRL and while I thought I had come a long way, the truth is that I’ve only come a long way in the media life, not real life. : (

I have no clue how to talk to people I’m just meeting when we’re face to face.

Yesterday Lovie and I stopped at the park again. A new park in the suburbs. A smaller, more peaceful park. At first she was one of three kids playing so it was no big deal. But by the time we left, 45 minutes later, the park was full of little and big people. At first Lovie was just enjoying the slide and checking things out. And then this little blonde haired, blue eyed beauty entered the scene and she just whizzed by Lovie going from one thing to the other like most 3 year olds do. This little girl’s mom wore the hugest smile as she watched her girl play and then when she saw Lovie, she laughed, her face brightened up even more, and, after a few minutes of watching the girls, she asked, “How old is she?”

"Almost 15 months."

“She is absolutely beautiful.”

"Oh thanks," I replied looking at Lovie. I wanted to return the compliment because I felt the same way about her daughter who reminded me of a young Thora Birch only I couldn’t remember the name of the young actress until just now. I kept seeing the image of the young actress with the eyes that popped every time I looked at this mom’s girl and I tried so hard to get the actresses name in my head so I could tell the mom, but it never clicked until two minutes ago when I remember the last name and did a google search.

But why couldn’t I at least tell her that her girl was gorgeous and reminded me of an actress? Why couldn’t I tell her that I was super impressed with the girl’s manners (she was asking things politely and saying thank you to her mom without the mommy telling her to do so)? I just felt like if I said something then, after she complimented my Lovie, she’d think I wasn’t genuine and that I was just returning the compliment because that’s what you’re “supposed to do.” And I really didn’t want her to think that, so I just smiled a lot. Like a friggin idiot.


Lovie and I stayed at the little kids play area while the 3 year old and her mom went elsewhere but we soon met up again at the swings as Lovie seemed to really be attracted to the young girl who was now swinging. I tried getting Lovie to swing but like the day before and the Sunday before and last year, she didn’t want any part of it. She just wanted to watch the big girl swing. So the mom and I started talking about swinging etc. But when I say we started talking, I mean she did most of the talking and I smiled and kept my words very short.

I felt so stupid.

I just don’t know how to talk to people I don’t know. I can answer questions, I will look you in the eye, but I just have no clue how to change subjects or ask questions. I have no idea how else to explain it. I’m fine once I get to know a person but until then, I just clam up.

I think it has to do with the many years I isolated myself from others because I realized that people, generally, are very selfish. I spent time actually testing this theory out anytime I’d get into a conversation with a classmate or a coworker. We’d get into a conversation where I’d be talking and then, on purpose, I would abruptly stop talking for some stupid reason (tie my shoe, cough, bend down to scratch my leg, etc) and not continue a clearly unfinished story. On purpose. To see if the person who was allegedly listening would ask me to continue. And more than not they wouldn’t ask me to continue, but would start talking themselves.

I couldn’t even say how many times I did that and I think it just made me truly believe that people don’t give a shit about what I have to say and that, in turn, made me unable to socialize well with others.

And now, years later, I’m clueless when it comes to socializing with strangers IRL.

Again, throw that woman on a message board or facebook or some other media outlet and I won’t have a problem.

What the fuck is wrong with me?!??


The mom gave me another chance when we met up at the sandbox. Lovie was sitting on the edge of it and the woman brought over her daughter’s sandbox toys (super duper nice- of course I thanked her!) for us to use while they continued swinging the bigger swings. Soon they joined us at the sandbox and we all sat together and she asked our names and we talked about the girls’ names and … I SUCK AT LIFE.

Why can’t I ask questions? Why can’t I compliment her daughter’s kindness and manners and friendliness to play with my child?

I found this woman to be a very genuine person- and I could actually see us running into one another again (which I really hope is the case so I can finally rectify this stupid mess I made). Hopefully she won’t run away if she sees us.

After the sandbox, Lovie and I made our way back to the little kid play area and played a bit alone- something I cherish! God, I love making my doll laugh and have fun! : ) Several minutes later, the mom and girl came our way and the girl started playing near Lovie again, which Lovie really enjoyed. The mom stood by and smiled and chuckled at them and again commented on Lovie’s beauty, “She really could be on a cover a magazine or something!”

My reply?!?? God, I’m so embarrassed to admit this… “Oh my!” I said shocked- because she really seemed so enamored with Lovie and after having mucked on other conversation chances with her, I just assumed she’d given up on us and I really was not expecting the comment. “Thanks so much!”

That’s IT. That’s all I said. UGH I SUCK I SUCK I SUCK!!

Her girl started running around from one thing to the other and Lovie was following the girl and laughing at her and really wanting to play with her- but I could see the mom really needed to leave. Something about daddy waiting for them so I told the girl that we would see them again and play with them more then and thanked her so much for playing with Lovie and letting us use her toys.

So I can talk to a 3 year old but not a 30 year old?!?!

God, I’m such a loser!

I have GOT to figure this out. I have GOT to figure out how to talk to strangers because I’ll be damned if Lovie grows up an introverted loser like myself. Right now, we’re complete opposites when it comes to socializing as she adores people- especially when they pay her even an ounce of attention. But if I don’t learn how to communicate in a better fashion with strangers in the park etc soon, she’s going to catch on and start acting that way, too. And I just cannot let that happen. I can’t!

Any thoughts on how to break free of the clamming up in real world social situations? Help!

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  1. Girl! First-breathe:) I also have some serious social issues. I get completely terrified walking into a room. Even if I know the people there. I am sure there is so word for it but I don't know what it is. For me, I just have learned to practice facing my fear. I learned to hold my head high, even when I felt like looking down at my shoes. How to smile at people even though I just feel like running away. How to make "small talk" when I am usually having a deeper conversation in my head. What helps me even now is looking at myself in the mirror. I know taht seems easy but it used to be very hard for me. So I would try to look into my own eyes for smal period of times. It calms me down and helps me face "the public".

  2. If you figure out the trick to this, let me know. Story of my life...

  3. I have some serious problems with this too. I really have to pump myself up and prepare to talk to other people.

  4. I will meet you at a park out in the burbs. I will NEVER stop talking, you will want to talk just to get me to stop!

    Just take it one conversation at a time. Make an effort everytime to say one more thing. Try to initiate one time and see where it takes you!

  5. Relax and the next time something like this happens the safest thing to talk about is the children. Maybe you can ask about the persons child and how old they are, or what they like to do with them on there free time things like that. Keep it on the subject of kids. That's always safest.

  6. Parks are full of frequent visitors. Net time you see her you can tell her all the things you just wrote here.


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