When you meet me in person, you’ll think I’m the most jovial, outgoing person you have ever met.
I’m the co-worker who remembers everyone’s birthday and insists that we all go out lunch to celebrate. I’m the one at a party who can strike up conversations with strangers. People who don’t know us would think we’re long lost friends. I’m also the assumed host and coordinator of social events that occur within my circle.
What can I say? I’m pretty awesome.
What would surprise you about my social-butterfly ways is that I am very awkward.
I hate talking on the phone because I’m afraid of that long pause in between conversations that always occurs.
During casual office chit-chat, I never know when to end a conversation. I constantly worry whether I ended it too soon. I may also spend the majority of the exchange planning an exit strategy.
If I know I’m going to meet someone for the first time, I find out everything I can about them so I can identify talking points. I learn their profession on LinkedIn, hobbies on Facebook, their address on BeenVerified, and their upcoming wedding date from their registry on The Knot. But when I meet them, I freeze, trying to decide how to initiate a conversation that doesn’t make me appear like a crazy-online-stalker-woman.
Well, there’s no point in hiding the truth.
Today, I’m going to tell you that I am that crazy-online-stalker woman. I’m a social butterfly, but constantly struggling about how, when, and where to let the social part of me fly. I’m fun. I’m upbeat. I’m sociable, but I’m also awkward. And I’m sharing with you, S&T, the moments that make me feel the most uneasy.
Seeing a co-worker at the grocery store
It’s Christmastime and I’m doing my shopping in preparation for guests. I’m walking through the produce section and listening to an automated voicemail message from my doctor’s office. I see a familiar face, but I’m so busy making sure that my appointment is secured that it doesn’t register that the familiar face belongs to my co-worker.
I see him again in the bakery section. We talk for awhile and part ways.
But then, I see him again in the canned goods aisle. I can greet him again but what more is there to say to a co-worker at a grocery store? So, I stand in the middle of the aisle, looking lost. I secretly plot my next move. Should I walk past, acting like I don’t see him or re-route so I can avoid him altogether?
I choose to re-route my journey and add 20 extra minutes to my shopping experience.
Ending the obligatory office chit chat
I’m on my way back to my cubicle when I bump into my friendly co-worker.
“Cute shoes,” I say.
“Thanks,” she replies. She then continues to tell me where she got them. Then, she tells me about her weekend and that cute thing her 5-month old did this morning. Five minutes later, we are still chatting, but the conversation is tailing off and I’m getting tired.
My level of obligatory office chit-chat meter has been filled and now, I want to get back to my cubicle and continue listening to my podcast playlist.
So, what do I do?
I look at my phone, pretend that the red Facebook notification is informing me of something urgent. I take three steps back and hope she follows my cue. I’m done hearing about her identity-crisis-ridden cat who thinks she’s a dog.
Ending a phone conversation
Call me a millennial cause I hate talking on the phone. I rather approach a questionable stranger on the street than pick up the phone and call someone. I rather eat a bowl of oysters then call someone on the phone. I’d rather go road cycling in 30-degree weather than pick up a phone and call someone…
Okay, you get the picture.
Before I call someone, I always rehearse what I’m going to say. If I know what I’m going to say, then I can prevent that awkward pause. The person on the other end doesn’t have to think, Why is this freak breathing in my ears? So I like to be prepared.
But, after the smoke — I mean conversation — clears, and it’s time to get off the phone, I often struggle with how to say goodbye.
Here are the options I consider:
a) K, nice chatting with ya. Gotta go. Bye!
b) I’ll call you back.
c) I got a call coming through…
Option C for the win! It never fails.
So, S&T, you’ve heard me discuss my little secret. Have you found yourself in any of these awkward situations? What did you do? And does anyone like talking on the phone anymore??? Let’s chat in the comments section!