I don't know if it's my own faulty perception but I get the sense that shyness is a real barrier in the AA community. Am I wrong? Anyway, interesting article.
Admittedly, I am not the most extroverted person in the world. Most of us writer types aren’t. You won’t catch me volunteering to sing karaoke in front of a cruise ship or playing mistress of ceremonies at a friend’s wedding. Yes, I teach for my day job, and have been told I’m quite good at it. But most days I wouldn’t list public speaking at something I excel at. I wouldn’t label myself as exactly friendly either. It takes me to time to open up to new people and I cherish my “me time”.
The world revolves around a delicate balance of the social butterflies of the world and the rest of us who are relieved that someone else can fill in the awkward pauses of conversation. But introversion has its limits and at a certain point in life, refusing to speak up and simply blending in and settling for whatever life leaves leftover for you can really cost. First off let’s be clear: There’s a difference between being reserved and severely socially awkward. There are those of us who over-analyze the small talk we’ll be forced to make when riding the elevator with a familiar face from the building. We’ll mentally slap or foreheads when we accidentally say, “Good morning,” when it’s clearly after 12. We’ll assume the UPS man is judging our jacked polish when we sign for a package. We’ll fumble around in our car for five minutes after parking, just to avoid the annoying neighbor. Social interactions to chronically awkward are the pop up ads of life that always seem to come up when we trying the hardest to avoid them. But honestly some of us would just rather not be bothered with meaningless conversation.
A few weeks ago a friend picked out a restaurant to celebrate her birthday dinner with a few close friends. It was one of those places in an upscale part of town where people prove how much money they have by who can order the least amount of food and pay the most money. It was pretentious and worst of all it was clear my friend was intimidated by the staff and avoided interactions with them. When it came to being seated, a snooty waitress told us we would have to wait for our table since one person was missing from our party even though we had reservations. I thought it was a pretty pointless policy and didn’t understand why we couldn’t at least get started with drinks, but didn’t want to make a big deal out of it on my friend’s birthday. But when I asked how we should handle it, she appeared to be afraid to talk to the staff, which only made me feel like no one should have to spend their birthday self-conscious and uncomfortable. What’s even more troubling was this wasn’t just her behavior for the night, for years it’s been a pattern: Letting someone else dictate her choices and waiting for someone else to make a move. Waiting for jobs, waiting for men, waiting on life to happen while it passes by. Needless to say, I ended up talking to the staff for something she clearly wanted, but was too intimidated to ask for.
Does there come a point where a person gets too old to be afraid of talking to strangers? Even at 30, I have friends who get nervous if they have to ask a sales associate for help or borderline panic when taking the train to an unfamiliar part of the city. What kills me most are the parents; the ones I’ve witnessed sending their children to ask a sales associate or clerk what they’re too afraid to ask. I’m sorry but I thought parents were supposed to advocate for their kids, not the other way around. When I first embarked on this whole “being an adult thing” I think like most young people, I was obsessed with appearing like I had it together. No one likes to feel like they’re clueless or lost. So we spend life not asking questions, making assumptions and waiting for someone to offer to help. You ever have a conversation with someone who you can tell has no clue what you’re talking about? But instead of asking you to explain they just nod and smile throughout the conversation? I think there’s so much pressure in our society to know it all and have it all, that people end up isolated in their insecurities. With social media repeatedly updating us on everyone’s honor roll kids and six figure salaries no one is truly convinced that it’s OK to not have all the answers.
The truth is that most of us are faking confidence on a certain level until someone gets up the courage to admit we don’t know what the hell we’re doing and asks someone who does, meanwhile relieving a bunch of other lost folks who were waiting for the same answer but too shy to ask.
I think that’s the key to being an adult: Keeping the humility to be humiliated and admitting you’re just winging it and when you need help. It frustrates me when I see grown people who rather wander aimlessly throughout a new place because the idea of asking for help intimidates them.
There’s nothing wrong with being introverted or even shy. In fact, there’s nothing wrong with simply not wanting to be bothered. But there does come a time in every adult’s life where being socially awkward and passive will make you miss out certain opportunities and meeting interesting people. You don’t need declare what you want through a megaphone, but you do have to speak up. They say a closed mouth doesn’t get fed, but that’s not necessarily true, but when you’re too afraid to ask for what you want, all you end up getting is whatever’s leftover from everyone else’s meal.
- See more at: http://madamenoire.com/441001/being-introverted/#sthash.chXCi45X.dpuf
Edited by JoliePoufiasse - Jun 22 2014 at 2:01pm