Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Conversation Killer

In case I haven't made it clear...I'm rather socially awkward. Not that I have trouble talking, but most of the time I tend to ramble and put my foot in my mouth. Well, every time.

In an effort to maintain at least the appearance of normality when I meet strangers, I have started to watch what I say. And it's getting increasingly difficult if the person I am meeting is as awkward as me. Socially acceptable conversation starters are not my specialty. My old method used to be to fire questions at somebody I had just met until I found something we both liked, or had the same view on. Or if we had differing views, then we would at least have something to enthusiastically argue about.

However, at Joel's work party I really did want to make a good impression. Mostly because I've made such a bad impression at the last few. Note: do not drink as much as you can as quickly as possible to calm the nerves. Particularly when the drinks are free.

It was all going fine...until: Joel left me with someone as awkward as me.

And I had nothing to say.

I don't mean that I had nothing interesting to say.

I mean I had nothing to say AT ALL. Complete mind blank. I was desperately racking my brain for even just a coherent sentence. I stood there getting more nervous thinking 'what do people say to each other when they have nothing in common?'. Then it hit me.

The weather.

I could talk about the weather! It's non-offensive, I couldn't possibly say anything that in some way insulted his long-dead great great great grandmother or his cat, and hey, it's something in common right?

So I opened my mouth to say 'it's getting quite hot lately'.

..but I couldn't do it. I didn't care about the weather, and I'm sure he didn't either. And why would I talk about something both parties had no interest in. When did it come to this? When did I become so dull that the ONLY thing I could think to talk about was the weather.

I just couldn't subject either of us to a pointless, dull conversation that would probably make things even more awkward.

So I said the first thing that came to my head. Instead of 'it's getting quite hot lately', I ended up saying 'I'm completely socially awkward and can't think of anything to say right now. I seriously have nothing to say.'

And it felt so good to be completely honest. Unbelievably good. I didn't have to force conversation. I didn't have to talk about the weather. I could just be myself. And myself had absolutely nothing to say right then.

Why has society forced us to feel that we always have to say something, no matter how dull or irrelevant it is? Why can't we just stand there in awkward silence and stare at a wall together? (which is what happened straight after he awkwardly laughed at me).

So from now on, I will always choose awkward silence over weather conversations. Just pray that you are never the person standing next to me when I run out of things to say.

19 comments:

ellecupcake said...

Well it doesn't help that he didn't say anything either! I am the worst. I dread meeting new people. I always mix up my words and laugh at the wrong time. I get so nervous. Will it ever get easier!?!

Josh Walton said...

Awkward silences alsways remind me of this.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3lY10mQmhg

Brandi said...

I completely understand how you feel -- if I really don't know a person, I just can't think of what to say. I usually talk about food since it's easy to have an opinion about that. Being honest sometimes is the best thing though. Oddly, the more you try to talk, the easier it becomes (though I agree, it'd be nice to just be able to be quiet sometimes without that being awkward too).

Chelsea Lane said...

haha sounds like...a great time! ;) I am the worst at meeting people too, I'm going to take a cue from you and start firing questions at people! :)

xoxo

bhumika said...

hii..nice blog gal..followin u..do check out mine..

Kimbirdy said...

i can't tell you how much i LOVE this! it's so so true, we think we have to say all the right things, but really, everyone feels awkward with the casual mingling of strangers/acquaintances. if we were all honest about it like you were and just put it out there, it would make everyone feel so much freer, more relaxed, and therefore, more natural and meaningful conversations would happen.

my go-to question in that situation is "so, what's your story?" i love how many different responses i get to that question, and i find that people feel free to share the parts they like to share about themselves. it's good all around.

becky said...

He had just as much responsibility to make conversation as you. Of course, it never feels like this. Only your head feels the pressure. I totally, totally commend your honesty. It's a flag held high for the socially awkward among us. (Myself VERY much included).

chels.e. said...

this post is so acurately written to reveal how us socially awkward people feel... :)
thanks for posting! i'm going to have to try the honesty part...i almost always talk about the weather... :)

The Many Colours of Happiness said...

Thank you guys! I'm glad to see I'm not the only one :p Ahh, if only it was ok to whip out a handbook when stuck for conversation...
@josh: Hahaha, that's fantastic! I have never finished that movie.. here's another clip that reminds me of awkward silences: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLvB_ybcKt0

Krystal said...

I was in a totally awkward situation tonight at marks christmas party. he's kind of awkward to so is no help to me!!!!

Mimi said...

i can be socially awkward too! haha. your posts are always so fun to read! :D

<3, Mimi

MAUD said...

hehe, this made me smile. good for you!

Sir Thomas said...

socially awkward

that makes two of us, thats why i try to say as little as possible until i know you that is...

ag. said...

i totally feel you! i think i'm an okay conversationalist but all of sudden, put me in a party situation and i've got nothing to say! i was in the elevator with some coworkers and almost said something similar to you about the weather but changed my mind cause it would have been so lame...kinda why i started my blog...and where the title of it came from!

Sara Louise said...

I love what you said! If I had been the person you were talking to I would have appreciated what you said and probably breathed a huge sigh of relief too :-)

wilybrunette said...

good for you. honesty is always the best bet.

kara lynn said...

yes i blog because i am socially awkward. and the fact is you write incredibly well. i always get so nervous so. and usually end up making a food of myself saying something silly. story of my life i say.

merry christmas!

Meher S B said...

Aah! I have a friend who's so similar to you. And I'm sure, honesty scores. Though you wouldn't mind having me next to you. I'd blabber the awkwardness out. =P

Bonnie said...

That's awesome. I always say that honesty is the best policy -- in most situations, anyway. Sometimes, you have to lie, but when it comes to socially awkward situations, it's best to be honest. Besides, it is more fun. Usually, out of the honesty comes something you guys have in common.
:)

xoxo.
http://glamkittenslitterbox.blogspot.com/