If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Among other things, I would most want to be more socially capable.
Parties and social gatherings are a part of life. They are intended to be happy occasions where family, friends and colleagues get together to catch up, unwind and (as we say in Hawaii) “hang loose.” However, soirées and obligatory company dinner parties have never been my favorite pastime.
Standing at the threshold of a party already in full swing, I often find myself retreating to the back corner hoping not to be noticed. I don’t mean to be anti-social; I just appreciate anonymity and I’m quite content fading into the background.
As a young girl, my parents would often drag my sister and I to community social events. There were always children running amok, playing tag or hide-and-seek. My sister had no problem jumping in the crowd and making friends. I, on the other hand, retreated to the senior citizen section quietly observing the coming and goings of people.
At school I was the awkward kid in the corner with her head buried behind a book. I was never part of any social cliques and I was least likely to be voted most popular in school, but none of that bothered me.
Engaging conversations with strangers does not come naturally to me. So when I decided to take on a career in the hospitality industry, there were many hurdles to overcome. Silly as this may sound, I use techniques like self pep-talks, rehearsing in front of a mirror, researching discussion topics and meditation exercises to help ease anxious nerves and to motivate me when it’s time to play the “part.” Client dinner meetings and sales presentations became easier over time, but once the horse and pony show was over I happily retreated from the limelight.
It takes a tremendous amount of effort to balance my introvert tendencies with a career that requires me to be more outgoing. I am work in progress ~ slowly, but surely, I am learning to adapt to any given “social” malady.