Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Don't Talk To Me

There is just something about me that makes people not want to talk to me. I really, truly do not know what it is.

I have friends. I think most of them even like me (as opposed to being friends out of convenience... "hey, our kids are friends, I guess I'll talk to you at the playground."). I don't remember a time in my life when I was friendless.

But I also don't remember a time in my life when I was approachable.


You know those people who will start up a conversation in the line to check out at the grocery store? Or in elevators? Or in classes?

I'm not one of those. And apparently this aura of "I don't want to talk to you" is so completely obvious that nobody talks to me, either.

Sometime back in high school, I remember looking around a crowded room that was very noisy. I noticed, in a somewhat detached manner, that I was the only person in the room not contributing to the noise.

Now, I'm not shy. Anybody who knows me in real life can attest to that, and even some who only know me via the internet. But I just wasn't a part of the noise.

Ever since that day, I find myself constantly noticing this. Large, noisy rooms, in which I am the only one not contributing. I am the only one not talking to somebody.

I am currently enrolled in a Masters program, and one of my classes in a real, live, traditional college class (the other is online, thank goodness. this kind of awkwardness isn't nearly as obvious from behind a screen). In this class, there are about a hundred students every week. When we go to break, everybody talks to somebody. And, inevitably, the person on either side of me will turn their backs to me and talk to the person on the other side of them. I overhear conversations of introduction, or small talk between people who obviously don't know each other.

I'm just not sure what it is about me that screams, "DON'T TALK TO ME!"

And it is obviously in all-caps, because that's what screaming is. Duh.

But seriously. Does anybody else experience this?


  1. YES! Thus happens to me ALL the time. I don't know why. I think I'm so afraid that someone will think that I'm a loser or something, that I put off this "Don't talk to me" vibe.
    Excellent post!

  2. Oh yeah. All the time. I don't really understand why. I think maybe I'm just really terrible at small talk, and so people will occasionally TRY to start a conversation with me, but then I trail off awkwardly and they get sick of carrying the conversation so they give up and talk to the person on the other side of them instead.

    I think the other problem is that I like to plan out in my head what I'm going to say before I say it. So if I'm in a group, someone else will make a similar point before I do. SAD FACE.

    I'm eternally grateful to whoever invented the internet. Social awkwardness and anxiety are so much less apparent through a screen!! ;)

  3. nottonyharrison (Kim)October 19, 2011 at 10:47 PM

    Yep, me too. I get quite excitable with a few drinks in me, but otherwise I'm pretty sure I exude the 'eff off' vibe too. Working in customer service ruins you for normal social interactions. Considering I spend forty hours a week making small talk, I pretty much want to be mute for my weekend.

    Also, small talk with someone you don't know is uncomfortable. I always find I look incredibly self centred due to my habit of talking about myself to fill awkward conversations. All the questions I ask manage to be somehow inconvenient or inappropriate, like asking someone what they do for a living when they are unemployed. Said awkward silence ensues.

  4. Maybe this is my problem. I spent 8 years in customer service (and at a bank, too. you want to deal with some bat sh** crazy people, start being in charge of their money) and I hated it so, so much.

    And seriously with the small talk problems. This is exactly how I am. In my effort to fill the awkward conversations, I inevitably end up saying something entirely offensive- not on purpose, it just seems that way because they don't know me, so they don't know how I meant it, you know?

    Ugh. Glad to know I'm not alone in this.

  5. Yes, I am much better over the internet. I can edit, edit, edit until everything I say sounds not-crazy. Or not-stupid. Or not-snotty. Whichever.

    And I am so glad to hear you say that you plan stuff out and get sad when somebody says it before you. This happens to me all the time. Once, I was so busy planning my response that I didn't HEAR the other person say it, so then I repeated it about three seconds after she said it. Awkward pause + fifteen people in the conversation all now staring at me = Humiliating.

  6. This happens to me all the time. All. The. Time.
    Once, I was just sitting around waiting for a friend [invariably, she was late!] and there was a touristy looking person dithering in front of me. I smiled, non-threateningly [I hope] and did my 'I'm helpful!' face. The guy asked every person that passed him for directions to a place that I KNEW and nobody else did. He spent 15 minutes doing that and then gave up... but he full-out refused to come and ask the girl sitting 4 paces away from him.

  7. This ALSO happens to me!

    I go to Disneyworld ALL the time (I live 20 minutes away and have little kids, so, seriously, I've been there more than 100 times in two years), and when people are obviously lost, I try to put on my "I am helpful and kind" face, but apparently it ends up looking a lot more like "I am a serial killer, run away, but try not to look like you're running away."

    Le sigh.