Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween and other things I'm bad at

I am not a people person. I used to think I was, or at least that I got along fine with people I knew or had a legitimate "reason" to be conversing with. But now that my conversation skills seem to be lacking the crutches they are used to I'm coming up short.

I got all ambitious over my head (per usual) this evening and attempted to make home-made ice cream. (Note to self, when you can't find rock salt, don't assume that course kosher salt is an adequate substitute). The idea inside the perfect world that is my mind was that as people I knew showed up to trick-or-treat, I would invite them inside for an extra-special treat (and there would be love, rejoicing, and harmony in the land...).

Well, after trick-or-treaters stopped coming and the ice-cream was still just soup, we gave up on that idea, but had invited a few neighbors to stop by when they were finished trick- or-treating. Well, people started arriving, the ice cream was still soupy, the gingerbread cake had gotten cold, and I realized I hadn't showered today. All of these factors combined with the fact that my usual sole conversationalist doesn't actually talk back yet combined to turn me into a social disaster.

Basically I hung out in the kitchen the whole time we had company and gazed longingly at the un-frozen ice cream. When I did join the party I just sat there and listened to other people talking to each other. Never once did I chime in except to answer questions that were directed at me. Lameoid that I am, I know.

I have never been good at talking to strangers, or demi-strangers, or really people that I have no structural commonalities with. In high school I never "hung out" with anyone. I stayed busy with extra-curriculars and talked to the other people who were doing the same, and we talked about .... extra-curriculars. I didn't exactly shun people who were different from me, but I was almost never the one to initiate conversations... because what would we talk about? I had no ideas of how to break the ice.

Now I have lots of friends who have very little in common with me and we get along just fine. But I almost never make new friends in social situations. If given the opportunity to have a remotely substantial one-on-one conversation, I almost always walk away with a new friend that I would feel comfortable talking to anytime. But I haven't really had a chance to have any of those "conversations" here. And Mr Renn fears I'm coming across as either very boring or very disinterested. Can't I just come across as shy? As socially challenged? As incapable of constructing an intelligent sentence on the spot?

Anyhow, the evening was less than phenomenal. At least we got lots of complements on our extremely decorated landing. (Which I hurried and packed up before realizing I hadn't taken a picture.... mostly because I was feeling ornery about the ice cream debacle). And at least Sir Oliver was cute and sociable while company was around.

I was going to add a picture here, but blogger has decided my rough evening wasn't rough enough. Go figure.
I think I quit.


Anonymous said...

Your post speaks to my heart. I, too, am socially challenged. When I am with good close friends, who know me and I know well, I don't shut up, but put me with a stranger and a clam up. I am living in a new area and find myself wanting to have "real" conversations" but really can't get past the getting to know you stuff that I guess is supposed to come first.

tracy m said...

Maybe that's why we write...? Cut yourself some slack, sweetie- you just moved across country, you have a still-new baby, you miss your family, your wonderful husband is very busy with school- you're entitled to be however you need.

Hey, we've lived here four years now, and never once had the neighbors over! Congratulate yourself, and go buy a pint on white chocolate raspberry truffle Haagen Daz... Yum!

(I mailed your package today!)

Chantele Sedgwick said...

I am the same way. David can talk to anyone and make friends in a couple of minutes, while I just kind of sit and listen or try to act like I am busy with Caden because I have nothing to say. I want to make friends with people in our ward, but I just can't go up to someone and just start talking to them. I guess I just have to come out of my shell a little.:)

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