Thank you to everyone who’s commented so far on my Wednesday Worries posts! It really is comforting to know there are other people who worry about the same things I do 🙂
I’m so bad at small talk. I’m fine talking to people I know (some might say a bit too fine – the tough part is usually shutting me up) but put me in a room full of strangers, and suddenly I can’t think of a thing to say, intelligent or otherwise. I really envy those people who can just talk to anyone, without worrying that a) they’ll laugh, b) they’ll think ‘who is this idiot?’ or c) they won’t even notice. There’s nothing worse than walking up to someone, summoning up the courage to speak, only for them to completely ignore you and walk off.
My boss is one of those confident people. A couple of years ago, we were at an event that included a networking session afterwards. He’d already been chatting to random strangers throughout the day, including trying to sell our company’s language app to a girl sitting next to him, purely because he saw that she had an iPhone. And when we got to the reception, he was in his element, walking up to people – some of them really quite important people – and starting a conversation without a moment’s hesitation.
Obviously, being at an event with someone like that is great, because they do all the hard work and you can just join in the chat. But then what happens when they excuse themselves to go to the loo? Nightmare. Particularly as they’re probably going to find someone else to talk to on the way back and forget all about you. (Yes. That happened. It was hideous.) And there’s only so long you can frown at your phone and pretend to be dealing with a very important email before you start to look suspicious.
I even find networking online a bit nerve-wracking. The ‘jump into any conversation’ nature of Twitter makes me really anxious, even though I know it’s all public, and that’s sort of the whole point. I’ll often spend ages trying to write the perfect response to something somebody’s said, and by the time I’m happy with it, the conversation’s moved on, so I just delete it again.
But on the plus side, at least being ignored isn’t as painful or embarrassing online as it is in the real world. So that’s something.
Is it just me that finds small talk terrifying?