Barbara's Random Thoughts

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Why am I socially inept?

I've been pondering this question recently. At a party this weekend, a couple of people persisted in calling me "Barb," and I couldn't bring myself to tell them I hate being called Barb. Really, I feel like I have every right to make known my preference as to what people call me. And I know they were only being friendly, trying to be more familiar with me, etc. But that just made it worse--I felt like I would come across as rude and unfriendly if I were to correct them. So I sat there and let it happen, still inwardly cringing every time I was called "Barb."

This morning, I forgot my key card. I was kindly let in by a woman I frequently see in the hallways at work. There was another guy in the lobby who said he's working here temporarily, but since neither of us recognized him, she asked him to call the people he's working with to come and let him in. She commented, "I know you!" to me, and I thanked her for letting me in. We chatted a bit about the "don't open the door to strangers" policy as we walked in together, and I realized that I have no idea what her name is. This would have been a great opportunity to ask her name, introduce myself, and just generally be friendly. But did I do that? No, of course not. I thought about it, but again, I wondered how it might come across. I mean, maybe she does know my name and I'd just look unfriendly for not knowing hers.

There are other times in conversations where I don't ask questions that I want to ask--and therefore I don't get to know people like I could or should--because I don't want to intrude too much, or because I'm not sure what others will think of me. And yet, I never feel imposed upon when people ask me questions about myself. I don't think differently about others because they're interested in who I am. I guess I self-censor too much. I swear, it's like social paralysis. Somehow I just don't know how to navigate the initial social interactions. Once I'm past the small talk and the introductions, and I actually know someone, I'm fine. Pretty much. Sigh.
| posted by Barbara | 10:14 PM