Hey, guys. I didn't post yesterday because I had to give this topic some thought.
I suck at socializing. I really do.
Some of you may have noticed, but when I meet a new person, I tend not to talk. I like to listen to what this other person has to say and get some sense of who they are and what their interests are in before I speak up.
Maggie took the gracious view point that I just don't speak unless I have something important to say. And part of that is true. I have no problem speaking up in a group when working on a project, but that's mainly because we all have a common goal we are working toward and that's something I have wrapped my mind around and understand and feel I have enough info to speak on.
When it comes to actually socializing with people, I'm rather clueless. How can I talk to someone I know absolutely nothing about? I can say hello and introduce myself and ask how long they have been coming to this church or what they are studying in college, but then after I've exhausted the list of default introductions, I've got nothing to go on.
This is also why I'm terrible at parties. Suddenly I'm in a big room with lots of people whom I know nothing about, and somehow I'm expected to "socialize." This is why I usually spend a lot of time around the food area or hang out with people I already know and then hope for my friends to introduce me to people they know that I don't because I can at least rely on my friends to carry on the conversation when I run out of ideas.
But this is also bad when I comes to networking. I applied to a job a few weeks ago in James' office and he suggested I talk to the lady who was leaving the position. Now, that in and of itself sounds like a good idea, but what the heck am I supposed to ask this lady? I had a few questions, all of which took about two minutes to ask, and then I was out of ideas. Later James wondered why I didn't ask some other things, and the honest answer is that I just didn't think of them and had no idea to think of them.
I can't tell you the number of times throughout my life where people have been like, "oh! This is a great opportunity for you to talk to so and so!" And I'm like, "Wha? But? Uh? Um?" I have never met this person, and I have no idea what you expect me to say to them.
Mom is always telling me "It's just a phone call," but it's not! Unless I already have questions or information that I'm looking for, you suggesting to me that I talk to someone I have no idea about is completely unhelpful. I literally do not know what to say to this person. And normally people will say "just ask about the job." No, this was not my idea, it was yours. Unless you give me specific example questions (such as "what kind of qualities are you looking for someone in this position to have?"), I have no idea what I'm supposed to say.
There are times when my "un-talkative" nature can be a good thing. I prefer listening to taking over someone. But when it comes to socializing with other people, I feel like I'm missing some important gene that everyone else expects me to have. People seem to have a difficulty understanding that I literally do not know what to say and I literally need to you to tell me what I should be saying.
My brain just does not work the way you think it does.