Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Socially Awkward

I’m not saying I’m that type that’s shadowy creepy or the type that’s inappropriately gregarious. Think of the most annoying person you can. That’s not me.

However, I am socially awkward in a nice way. I’m polite almost to a fault and would rather say nothing than to say something wrong. I wouldn’t even be married unless God hooked me up with my wife. I married her precisely because she lets me finish a sentence.

As it goes, I have hundreds if not thousands of friendly associates. I have very few, if any, friends besides my wife.

My social awkwardness is rooted in a low level of ability to develop a rapport with people. I have studied verbal communication and have practiced it most intentionally. However, there are still many challenging conversational circumstances. I’ll detail a few key ones.

First is one-on-one conversation. There are people who talk on and on about what they are interested in. When I try to speak, often they don’t allow me to finish a sentence before they pick up and take the conversation. If they allow me to say something and I try to discuss something I am interested in, they show little interest and go away. There are a few people who will talk well for a short time, but largely because I try to talk about something they are interested in.

Second are interruptions in conversation. Usually if I am talking to someone one-on-one and another person comes up and interrupts, the person I’m talking with will drop my conversation in favor of the new person. If, on the other hand, I approach two people having a conversation, even if I have something important to say to one of them, they ignore me unless I stand there for a very long time. This is a very reliable pattern. So rarely am I the favored conversation partner that I’m usually shocked into silence when it happens.

This pattern leads into the third area: group conversations. These usually take place between other people with me watching. If the conversation progresses into an area that I desire to comment on, I will usually get antsy until someone recognizes that I have something to say. Most of the time, no one does. I’ve been told that I just need to interrupt. First of all, that’s rude. Second of all, when I’ve tried it, I’m typically ignored and whoever is talking just keeps on talking as though I wasn’t trying to say something.

I don’t know why people don’t want to talk to me. It’s pretty depressing. But it has an effect on how well I am able to minister to them, minister with them, or seek ministry from them. So it puts a damper on my ability to connect with my brothers and sisters within the Body of Christ.

No comments: