Attempts at Socializing

It is not easy to socialize and make friends, even when you are trying. I find that when I try, sometimes people just don’t want to open up. I am a good listener and I ask questions. I never interrupt, and yet I still get nowhere. I remember last time we had an in-house meeting (I work from home) and I was trying to talk to a coworker. I asked how her boyfriend was, how her dog was, all she said was ‘bad’ while barely looking up from her lunch.

Same thing happened when I asked my boss how she was and how it was living in Pennsylvania. I don’t even remember her response because she either didn’t have one (we were interrupted by someone else) or it was a one word response. I felt beyond frustrated. But I did get to talk a bit to another coworker who I sat with during the meeting, we tend to email each other during work. And we went out for a walk after lunch and made small talk.

Small talk is all I can seem to manage with people. It makes me feel like a bad person, like maybe I just don’t care enough or find it too difficult to maintain healthy friendships. I start to think that maybe I’m just not a fun person to be around anymore, which may be true because I’m always worrying that I’m lacking somehow or not good enough. It’s important to please yourself. And while having friends would be nice, they are not necessary for survival really.

Maybe one day I will come around and finally understand how friendships can work for me. But I will have to change first and not see socializing as a chore and something that doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s my perspective of it that causes me to judge myself in social situations and always feel inadequate. I can feel confident that I am a smart person, but a friendly person? Maybe when I’m introduced to someone through other people and there’s already a familiarity there.

But I find most strangers to be standoff-ish. And if they are not, I never get beyond small talk because I just assume that people don’t really like me and don’t want to spend time with me. Maybe it’s because of the town where I live and my own guardedness. It takes a lot of energy to figure this issue out and I don’t know if it’s just too late and I need to focus on other things in my life. It’s not every day that I’m in the mood to open up to others, and I think people find that off-putting.

I recently placed an ad in the strictly platonic section of craigslist, looking for people to meet in my town who share my interests. I got 3 responses. One was a man in a nearby town (not mine) who answered emails with one and two-word responses so I got no sense of who he was. Another response was a couple with children, who were about to move to Brooklyn, NY so there was no common ground there. And the last was a guy who I thought was looking for friendship but it quickly became obvious he was looking for a hook-up. So I gave up on the online attempts at friendship for now.

I try going to meet-ups but again I just end up making small talk or not talking at all. Or I go to meet-ups where it’s obvious that most of the people there are married and don’t have time or interest for new people in their lives. They are just there to meditate, or write, or for a tour like the one I went to a few weeks ago. Trying to engage a complete stranger in conversation is like pulling teeth for me. And I have enough issues and stresses in my life, it just seems like so much unnecessary hassle.

Why not just be content with who I am and what I have now? I have my writing and creativity, my family, my apartment, my books and films, my privacy and freedom and free time, my money for luxuries like massages and spa treatments, my independence, and peace and quiet for meditation, reading, or sleep. That’s a lot more than some people have. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. And there’s no reason to feel down or inferior when I have a good life for myself and many blessings to enjoy.

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August 7, 2013. Tags: , . Uncategorized.

3 Comments

  1. neenslewy replied:

    Small talk is often the only communication that work colleagues can manage – it has always been EXCEPTIONAL hard to socialise with those who you also share work responsibilities with. Within most teams there are a wide range of personalities – often intentionally as companies need many strings to the bow! This can make it harder, having said that – some of my best friends are people I met through work and clicked with. That doesn’t mean that the rest of the day didn’t include small talk moments…

    I think if you want to judge your ability to socialise you should cast your net wider 🙂 you may find it easier to make small talk with people who aren’t sharing a business interest.
    There is no line of professional drawn in the sand when you go out and play with people who you know in the world but don’t work with.
    Many of us have a work persona – I am a completely different person if you meet me outside of work!

  2. neenslewy replied:

    Definitely be content with who you are and the abundance of things you have in your life already – when you are happy being you the conversations will come.

  3. ksocorro replied:

    Neenslewy,

    Thanks for your comment, they make a lot of sense to me and I appreciate your perspective. I think you are right and people don’t really like to let go of their work personas. I definitley should try to cast a wider net when I try to talk to people and meet people who share my interests. 🙂

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