Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Portrait of an Extrovert

(oh wait, no photo because I am clearly not an extrovert)

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you'll probably note that I'm not a social butterfly. I'm the sort of person who makes a few very close friends and I keep them forever (hopefully forever!). I prefer one-on-one time to a group. I like in-depth conversations -- I'm terrible (really terrible) at small talk.

On the flip side, if I don't know someone very well, I definitely prefer a group because then I can 'blend' and I don't have to have a starring role. I am TERRIBLE at smalltalk or even mediumtalk (that stage before you get to a real, good conversation). I'm a walking, talking stereotype.

"Oh, hi, Daphne. What's new?"

"Oh, um, not much. Yeah. Uh... we've been having some sunny days lately, eh?" (this, in the middle of summer, when we don't have anything BUT sunny days)

It's PAINFUL. I do not know how extroverts do it.

(However, REAL conversations, I adore.)

Yesterday I got my hair cut. My hairdresser is a very nice girl, but she's not a huge talker. She talks just enough to keep things going, but she's not a chatterbox (I do better with chatterboxes because then I can just smile and nod). I'm the direct opposite of chatterbox. My appointment was two hours long and by the end of it, I was completely exhausted from trying to keep up my end of the conversation. We ended up talking about cheese. Yes, cheese. Pardon the expression, but I milked that cheese topic for everything it was worth. We spent at least half the appointment talking about cheese, because I am vaguely well-acquainted with different sorts of cheeses, and I love cheese, and I had NO IDEA what else to talk about. My cats? Shoes? Ummmm. Yeah. I have no idea.

It's the holiday season, and you know what that means. Lots and lots of chitchat. Office parties, family parties, friendly people in the stores. I'm a complete doofus and cannot handle myself in a party situation. I need one of those "How To Make Small Talk For Dummies" books. I need to study current events or something. Good lord, it's bad.

Sometimes I can pretend to be an extrovert and I do pretty well, but inevitably something will sneak up on me and I'll be completely at a loss, and then my cover is blown.

Frankly I wish everyone would agree to just talk about cats and books, or go straight to the good stuff and give me all the dirt on their marriage or have a soul-searching conversation about what to do with the rest of their lives. That's my comfort zone. It's cats, or destiny.


Eva said...

This cracked me up! :) For some reason, I've always been good at small talk during more formal events, but at a party amongst my peers, I always have to remind myself not to run away or hide in a corner, lol.

Rachel Cotterill said...

Just dive straight in to the good stuff, no-one will mind. Even people who can happily chat about the weather find real conversations much more interesting!

Nymeth said...

lol, I SO need a copy of "How To Make Small Talk For Dummies". One on medium-talk would help too. And yes, cats and books should be mandatory topics!

Tammie said...

of course i feel like you wrote this about me, since im the same way.

i dread going to the hair salon and i put it off as long as humanly possible, just to avoid the small talk. i have three hairdressers i switch between. two are chatterboxes and if i ask them "whats up?" they'll talk the entire time im there. the other one is virtually silent the whole time. we almost always end up talking about the weather.

Stefanie said...

I am so there with you Daphne! James has been cutting my hair quite nicely for years in part to save money in part so I don't have to go through the torture of hair salon chitchat. I stink at small talk but I have become pretty good at asking questions to get other people to talk. It is the only thing that saves me in party situations.

Daphne said...

Eva: that's funny. I'm way more comfortable with friends, but sometimes it doesn't matter whom I'm with!

Rachel: good strategy! I'll try that next time. Problem is, all reason leaves my brain, so I can't even think of a 'real' topic...

Ana: totally.

Tammie: My hairdresser is really affordable so I'm stuck with her (and she's good, and really nice) but I prefer chatterboxes. Or those who just work without talking and let me read a magazine. Frankly sometimes I wish I could just go through the whole appointment without talking, just reading trashy magazines and then pay and walk out. Is that terrible??

Stef: that's a good idea. I think I have to come up with a preset list of questions, because I can't think of ANYTHING. It's like those sitcoms where the mom tells the son not to say anything about Aunt Grace's divorce, and so when everyone comes to dinner, the son can't think of anything but what he's NOT supposed to say, so out comes the question about Aunt Grace. I immediately go to weather because I'm like, "Don't talk about the weather! Don't talk about the weather!!"

I'll have to have a list of questions ready to go in my purse at all times.

(side note: do you all think that there is a higher population of introverts in the blogging world?)

Stefanie said...

Don't know about all of blog world but in the bookish corner of it I'd say most definitely.

Daphne said...

Stefanie: I'd agree too. Certainly the bookish types tend to be more interverts (although def. not all!)

Lesley said...

Oh, I completely know where you're coming from!

I *hate* having to make small talk with hairdressers, taxi drivers, etc. I am not good at it and I also don't care to hear it. I know that sounds extremely snobbish but I would rather silence over conversation just for the sake of filling up the quiet.

Daphne said...

I know. Sometimes you just want to read a magazine and then pay and leave, right?