Conversing is a skill that must be taught and people soon learn that there are different conversations for different audiences. Conversation and comfort go hand in hand. You should be comfortable with those you are speaking with. What about those times that you are forced into places with people you aren’t as comfortable with, but conversation is expected?
I love being around my circle of friends or my closest family members. These are the people I feel most comfortable around. I don’t feel pressure to force a conversation or to end the awkward silence that has pushed its way into the car or room. I’m not concerned with what they are thinking or how they feel about me. My circle is extremely small and those few people KNOW me. They know when I am uncomfortable and they know when I need to recharge. They can also tell if I am saying things because I am uncomfortable, and not because I am trying to be rude. That’s another topic to write about later.
I am an introvert and I am most comfortable being around those that I know and I am uncomfortable around those that I don’t know. I am an Introvert not by choice, but that’s the way it is. Growing up and even through college, I was unaware of this characteristic. I enjoyed, and still enjoy, going out and having fun with friends, but I also prefer to be by myself. I am an only child, but that too is another writing topic for later. In college, my friends and I would often go out, but I was with those I felt most comfortable around, so I was okay. After graduating college I didn’t understand why I preferred to be home and not out with others. It wasn’t until I watched a YouTube video to see what an Introvert and Extrovert was, that I made the connection. I also realized that I had married an Extrovert, which explained why he was always the life of the party that I was eagerly trying to get away from.
There are times when I cannot be my true introverted self, such as in my classroom. I must talk with my students and their parents, or the year will not go well. Education, like other jobs under the umbrella of customer service, must have communication between the company and their clients or stakeholders. This is something I have to do, but oddly enough, in my classroom I feel very comfortable. I am nervous, but I get through it.
Often when I am around others or in places that I do feel uncomfortable, the only thing that is on my mind is the great escape. I am determined to figure out how I cannot be around these tormentors; these people that I don’t know but have to be around. I try with all of my might to think of something in order to strike up a conversation. I am aware of the awkward silence and the need for talking, but I just don’t know what to say. I also want whatever is said to come out sounding like I am truly genuine in my questions and conversations. I feel like it would be obvious if I wasn’t genuine. All of this wanting to converse exhausts me. Along with feeling uncomfortable my energy is drained. I need to gain my strength back in the presence of isolation. Oh Solitude, what sweet joyous songs you sing to me when it is just the two of us! Having this characteristic is very challenging when this issue is continued for multiple days. It wouldn’t be too bad if this discomfort didn’t come from those I now must claim as family. How can I get to know you, when it is obvious you are uncomfortable with me, but you bring friends and family around as distractions for you to be comfortable? Hopefully I am wrong, but that’s how it seems. I don’t need to get to know them, just you. Only those that think they know me, see these challenges as social anxiety.