So I’ve always HATED the act, idea and anticipation of small talk. It super gives me the skeeves. I can talk to someone for 5 seconds, then the conversation well will run insanely dry. Then, before either of us actually realize it, I’m done. Why is that person still standing there? Don’t they see the exit sign?
This has been an issue for me for as long as I can remember. Of course, I grew up painfully shy. However, my hatred for small talk has also co-existed with this co-morbid shit luck idiosyncrasy. In high school and college, I always hoped for first dates to be at the movies. God forbid, if we were going to dinner beforehand, I would talk myself out of it before the date even began. I can think of 30 trillion things I would rather do than to shoot the shit with a stranger that I couldn’t care less about. And let’s face it, most first dates don’t end up too swell.
In my adulthood, I’ve realized that the small talk thing is probably symptomatic of a bigger picture. I’ve realized that it’s a thing. I’m not an abnormal freakshit. I’m definitely an abnormal freakshit, but not because of this. I’ve also done some research and have dug really deep, finding some reasons why I am am such a blundering anomaly. I love to find out the inner-weaving of my noggin. I would love to have a complete brain evaluation one day, if my schedule wasn’t so vacuum packed sealed tight already. During this extensive research, I found a really cool article. It really explained a ton and made me feel a whole lot less of a douche. Tough stuff. You can find this life-altering article here.
When I was younger, I even tried to bust out of my seedling shell by becoming a cocktail server. This has probably been the one time that I’ve surprised myself the most. I’m not counting the times that I go hide and sneak up on myself and yell “Boo, you big asscracker!” I’m talking legit mental anguish type of fear. Even going on the interview scared me out of my cornhole. Somehow, I ended up getting the job, despite the fact that I had to interview with a panel of 6 people. It turned out to be the scariest job that I have ever had.
Despite my frayed nerves, my non-confrontational mannerisms, my small talk phobia, my poor, shattered memory, and being a super sad conversationalist, it worked. I don’t really know how or why, but somehow, someway, it worked. I loved the hellshit out of this job. It challenged me in ways that I was always terrified to explore, and most of the time magnified the things that I most hated about myself, but I loved it. The people who I worked with superseded all of my legitimately based fears, and it was just downright F-U-N.
I can’t explain how horrific it can be for me to experience small talk. If, ever I do find myself face to face with an acquaintance, work “friend,” social friend, frenemy, old school chum, a parent of one of my kids’ friends, or a previous BFF, the whole time I’m thinking to myself: “What am I going to say? What am I going to say?” I’m certainly not able to listen to what they are saying. That pressure to perform just sucks the blood right out of my snitch, and therefore, once again, leaves me looking like a less than mediocre tool.
There is certainly no offense here whatsoever. It’s MY issue, my problem! I just don’t want to feel obligated to talk to someone. I cannot handle the pressure to perform. If I wanted to effing dial your number, I would hit a sister up. I could also Facebook you. tweet out a witty passage, figure out Skype, Google Plus your stankass, throw a captioned photo out there on Instagram, dial up Face Time, send you a text, an e-mail, or come up with a quirky, yet respectable comment on one of your Pinterest boards. I’m certainly not walking into Publix hoping that I’ll run into my two prior cubicle colleagues, praying that I’ll find myself in a 30 minute aisle conversation while people are doing the reach around for the peanut butter, brushing past my left nip. The whole time I’m “listening” to you, my brain is trying to formulate a witty retort! I’m NOT LISTENING!
Speaking of Publix, I will go to any lengths in my power to avoid any and all altercations. God forbid, when I am ever observed and cornered into having to perform some “on the fly” small talk, I can legit feel the hives erupting. I want to crawl in a hole. One that I’m burrowing far, far away from some whackadoo standing next to me pining for some lengthy, yet completely unnecessary conversation. Even at my age, where I don’t give a wretched shitcrack about what people think, I still get sucked into the hype.
Here’s another thing that makes my sagging skin skeeve: The young team nuggets/girl/boy scouts who have positioned themselves at the food store asking for donations before I can even scanter into the door – I say to you: “I am always going to be the lady pretending to have a phone conversation upon entering the store, even though you can clearly see my phone’s brightly lit up game apps, because that’s the only way I feel that I can safely avoid the confrontational disappointment that you’re getting ready to experience. No, I do not just happen to have an extra $20 in my purse. Thank you so much for asking. But, if these events happen to change during the course of my shopping extravaganza while I’m inside the store for 25 short minutes, I’m sure you’ll be the first one to know, as you are waiting to pounce, and have hoisted yourself up against the pole standing firm point blank eye-to-eye ready to ask the same question YET AGAIN right as people are exiting.” Great job, adults. Thanks for making me feel like an asslick every SINGLE FREAKING time I have to go buy some Ramens.
You know what’s real jacked up about this whole situation? I can be SO loud and obnoxious and lingering and full of the nonsensical story times WHEN IT’S MY IDEA. I will track someone down, scare them out of their pantalones, and just go the extra mile for a joke, or even for some mere camaraderie. On my terms. However, if someone comes to me, expecting to be entertained or to piss the time away, and just stands there expecting for there not to be crickety dead air, they’re just sorely mistaken. I’m always going to make you work for that carrot.
I now know that this deep seeded fear comes from being a grade A introvert. I also know that there are a coochload of nuances that I possess. Just because I know the reason behind it more, doesn’t make it suck any less. Before now, I’ve always felt like nobody could possibly like me once they spent more than 5 minutes in my company. That’s why I drop a laugh bomb, send a crazy, quick IM, or something of the sort – and then I bounce. Shock and awe. I’ve had a handful of people in my long life history that piss on my “I’m bad at small talk” theory. Those people are super cool.
But, it’s certainly real. I’ll never get over it, and I’ll never get better at it. I’m still going to experience anxiety at EVERY SINGLE SOCIAL EVENT. And I’m probably still going to live through every single one. Although, I will definitely be a little worse for the wear.
So, the next time you see me sweating in the corner, rocking back and forth with an empty light bulb caption hovering over my head, feel sorry for a bitch. But, just a little bit – Oh, and please do it from a very far away place.