My bumping into a friend at the weekend caused me to feel uncomfortable about my inability to find things to say when meeting people.
Naturally my first thought was why?
- Well when I was 3-5 years old I had something called Henoch-Schönlein purpura. Apparently this meant I spent a lot of time unwell and aching. How much I don’t know but it could have affected my social learnings at a critical time.
- At school I was very shy.
- In 1981 the school got its first computer a Research Machines 380Z. I used the computer in every spare minute for the next year thus losing another crucial year of social time.
- In 1994 I became ill with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/M.E and spent until 2007 socialising very rarely.
- I tend to be more of a listener than a speaker unless a subject really interests me and even then I still prefer to hear what others have to say
All these things are factors from the past that might have influenced who I am today but do they mean I will be that person tomorrow?
Only if I allow it.
I have already noticed I like talking to people that are shy. If someone new joins a club/group I am in I will always make a point of talking to them and making them feel welcome.
I can learn a standard set of questions that people tend to ask when meeting someone new. IE “How are you?”, “How is working going?”.
The more I practice the more I learn about interacting with others socially the more I can switch into social mode. The more I switch into social mode the less forced it feels. The more it is the natural me and the less I am left feeling uncomfortable at my inability to find things too say.
Finally what is wrong with silence? Do all gaps in conversation have to be filled?