This weekend really highlighted a part of my personality that I try in vain to control. No matter how much I try to fight against it, I am, for better want of a word, a Troglodyte. I think I could quite happily hole up in a cave somewhere – assuming of course that it was safe for my books and didn’t include any creepy crawlies. This cave dweller hates bugs.
Like it or not, I have always preferred my own company. This isn’t to say that I hate people. I quite like some. However, I find that I have a low bullshit tolerance factor and hate fakeness and you seem to get a large quantity of both when around people. I hate noise, although I tend to crank my music up (especially in the car) and I hate the social awkwardness and rules.
I like to just be me and don’t want to have to put on an act around people. If people don’t like me, it really doesn’t bother me. There are plenty of people I can’t stand. It is our idiosyncracies that make us interesting and due to this, at times people clash. I dislike some people for the most random of reasons. They are not necessarily bad people. They are quite nice if you know them however different quirks drive me insane. I dislike people who respond with “Oh, I know…” and sound more like a dimwitted middle-aged parrot than someone who is around my age. Actually, I have never really been a fan of people my own age. It may seem like a stuck up thing to say however I’ve never had much in common with those people. Even now, I seem out of the natural flow. I don’t know if it is because I don’t have kids and my Facebook news feed is clogged with pictures of kids (OMG some of my friends/ acquaintances have kids in highschool… it seems like WE were in highschool only a couple of years ago).
I wouldn’t say I am a socially awkward person. I tend to get along just fine with most people and have been told that I am generally likeable. I just find maintaining conversations to be exhausting. I do not know if this is because when I am part of a conversation, I like to give my full attention to the person that is talking. I do tend to maintain eye contact (unless they are softly spoken and I am forced to lip read) and as long as I find the conversation to be even slightly of interest, I will give it attention. I struggle to maintain focus around completely fake, drama queens and I find that I tend to just detach from the conversation instead of partaking in the fake pleasantries and trying to keep the conversation going. However, I don’t think this is often noted from the drama queens in life as long as I supply noises and shocked expressions in the right places. I have become quite an expert at this.
Step 1. Nod occasionally. Not enough to look like a dashboard noddy dog, just enough to highlight what is no doubt the main points of the conversation.
Step 2. When the speaker reaches a high note : arch one eyebrow (or two if you are feeling particularly daring).
Step 3. Let out a shocked gasp, or exclaim “Really!”or “Wow!”
Step 4: Judging from the speakers facial expression, respond in either of two ways: Happy / Excited: Pretend you have just been announced as a winner at the Oscars and have to walk onstage to receive award. Smile your winning smile, clap with excitement and grin. Do not, and I repeat DO NOT actually stand up, walk to some random piece of furniture and pretend it’s the podium and start your Oscars speech. It will not go down well.
Sad / Angry: Slow exhalation of breath while you slap your leg, or the couch cushion/ table. Pretend all the Botox in your face has dissolved all at once and your face is dripping off. Turn head slightly to the side like a confused dog and offer up pleasantries.
I have found that these approaches seem to work rather well. Of course, if I actually care what someone is saying, I wouldn’t have to resort to these methods. Yes, it is rather fake of me to respond in this fashion however I see it as a service. I am getting to live peacefully in the cave I’ve constructed inside my mind, and the person who I am stuck conversing with, gets to feel special.
I have been accused at times of not making enough of an effort, of repeatedly asked what is wrong if I am not actively taking part in conversations.
I don’t believe in speaking just to hear the sound of my voice. Personally, not such a huge fan of my voice and if I don’t have something worthwhile to say, I am not going to waste my breath. I tend to speak rather succinctly and don’t waste syllables. I say exactly what I mean in as few words as possible – and then confuse the hell out of people when I use phrases like Monday-week instead of the week after next Monday. To me, I like the time-saving aspect of this kind of speech however not everyone is proving to be a fan.
I will make the utmost effort with some very special people because they are very special to me and don’t force me to speak or interact in any way. These few are the special ones who are welcome in my cave at any time. Those who are content just to sit around in silence.
I guess I shouldn’t try to please everybody. Oh wait, I don’t.