Being around friends and like minded people, sharing stories and our emotional ups and downs of life, is something I cherish. Plus, I love making a new friend and hearing all about their life. I’m a question asker and I soak it all in when someone is willing to share. However, when I am thrust into a situation where I am surrounded by strangers and expected to make small talk, I become depleted within minutes. I often feel trapped in social situations and unsure what the right thing to say is. It causes me to drift off and think about all the more comfortable places I would rather be. My couch, my garden, my porch with a book in front of me — getting a root canal. Anything other than having to small talk with strangers would be fine. Their judgey eyes scanning me to measure me up. I can feel them picking apart the insecurities and then turning their nose to my oddities.
I scramble to think about what to talk about, a list cranks through my mind: THE WEATHER, my brain shouts! Everyone likes to talk about the weather, right? My boring topics usually fizzle. Time moves by sluggishly and I feel the weight of a dead conversation hover over me.
My body gets a tingle of anxiety and I scan the room for someone I know or an exit. When I am trapped and uninterested in the conversation I find my mind starts to wander and I am no longer able to concentrate on their words. I try to tell myself to focus, but inevitably I lose it again. My eyes are pointed in their direction, but my gaze is focused on large nose pores or something equally strange that I know I should NOT bring up in conversation.
If I come across as closed off, cold, or even a bit snobby, it’s a misread, I promise. In fact, I am just uncomfortable. Often I try to seek out other introverts to see if we can secretly loath social situations together. Though that means I have to start with small talk.