My ability to handle new social situations in which people expect you to respond in a certain way is like trying to tell a t-shirt it’s a pair of pants. Sure you could probably manage to wear a t-shirt as pants, but overall, it’s just awkward. I was asked if I was a people person the other day, well I was asked along with someone else who responded first. The conversation soon switched without ever having a chance to explain whether or not I was a people person, then a silence popped into the conversation allowing me to take charge and talk. I could tell it may have been appropriate, but the suddenly conflict between whether I was making up the social signals I was getting or whether they were actually there forced me into motionless silence. Sometimes I think I probably freeze and look like I’m exploding.
Earlier tonight I was watching a movie with a husband and wife. In the plentiful seating in the living room I waited until everyone had been seated to sit. I sat on the wide open couch, the largest piece of furniture. Once I sat down they both stared at me strangely, but I had at first just interpreted it as noticing me blow air into the cat’s face. Next I began to remember comments about someone being tired said earlier at the dinner table and then noticing the pillows placed perfectly for resting a head, then noticing one of them adjusting their seat constantly and trying to find a good angle to line up with the tv. Suddenly I was concerned that I had just taken someone’s seat. Normally a normal person would just recognize this and offer their seat. I, however, at the risk of offending anyone, froze and sat uncomfortably for a good 20 minutes, wondering how to properly handle this situation. I believe that all the signals I had received indicated that offering my seat would have been appropriate and necessary, and probably appreciated.
I also freeze up and sit motionless whenever I don’t understand someone or don’t comprehend what they are talking about. Normally, normal people just ask what they are talking about, which sometime I can do, but in most cases I just ignore the person or nod, if thats possible having no idea what they said. Sometimes I get caught to because someone next to me asks what they said and I have no idea even though I made it sound like I did.
Ultimately, this really just kind of makes me awkward and strange. Both of which I am ok being, but it does provide challenges when I try to be a good communicator, listener, and just trying to get to know people.
So I was reflecting on why I freeze up. When I was younger, I was super shy and never talked, I also never responded to questions when I was asked and most of the time just ended up crying (this was usually because I was in trouble) This in my younger adult form is me freezing and not talking while my brain explodes inside my head.
I’ve also realized that through all this social ineptness, I have an appreciation for thorough instructions in new situations. However, life doesn’t come with thorough instructions and I run into new situations daily because a day of life is never the same, unless I’m just with myself everyday which is sad and uneventful and avoided for most of the day.
It makes moments like spitting juice all over people’s faces good Christmas stories, and my ability to drop strawberries in my lap while talking about my life a great way to tell people I’m nervous, and walking into a small classroom with people in it take twice as long.
It also makes me pray more and realize I am not perfect and need Jesus, a lot, sometimes just to feel comfortable with new situations. It makes me die to myself when I’m dying of self-consciousness because my small, teeny-tiny, minuscule amount of suffering reminds me of Christ which is nothing in comparison. It also makes me crave patience, which God showed me this week, is just trusting God that he is in control, has a plan, and will always be working his will out the way its supposed to be. It shows my weakness which God is using to show his perfect power. 2 Cor 12:9
It’s a good system for growing in humility.