Hi, my name is Bethany and I am socially awkward.
Yesterday I wrote that I am not naturally gregarious, and that making eye contact and connecting with strangers is something on which I am presently working. Today I am ready to admit that it goes deeper than simply not being outgoing. If I am being honest, I have to finally admit (to both of us) that I have some social anxiety.
Tonight I was at the small and lovely wedding of a dear friend. It was beautiful. Most of the guests were family members of the bride and groom, therefore I did not know many people. I am embarrassed to say that being in a social situation like this gives me flashbacks to the high school cafeteria…walking with my tray and trying not to let the panic show on my face as I frantically search the room for a familiar face. God forbid I’d have to make a new friend…or sit at a new table.
The thing is, I am terrible at small talk.
I have been told (months or years later) by people that they first assumed me to be one or more of the following – shy, stuck up, quiet, generally unhappy, cold, dull…
I don’t think I am really any of the above, but I can completely understand how I would be perceived as such. No hard feelings here.
I just…I don’t always know where to begin. Or rather, I want to skip the beginning entirely.
It isn’t that I don’t think you are interesting. I actually think people in general are fascinating. In fact, if I am not standing there thinking about how uncomfortable I am (and making assumptions about how uncomfortable you are) I am probably wondering what makes you tick. That’s the conversation I want to be having.
What do you love about your life?
What is your biggest fear?
Is your love relationship satisfying?
What is your biggest regret?
You see, I may not be naturally gregarious…but I am naturally curious.
If you want to tell me your deepest secrets I am all in…and I will take them to my grave.
Unfortunately, delving deeply is not always welcome, and it isn’t always situationally appropriate, either. I totally get that, and so…sometimes I struggle, and it’s awkward…for both of us. I am really sorry about that.
Please know, it’s not you. It is totally me.