I may have posted about this once before, so if you’ve heard it, you can just skip to the next paragraph. A friend at work a few years ago, defending me to someone else, said that, while I complain a lot, it isn’t quite complaining. It’s really just making conversation.
I’ve always been a big talker. A perfect example is last Christmas, the first one I didn’t spend at home with my family. I was with my in-laws instead. My two younger siblings told me later that we had never realized that I started most of the family dinner conversations. Apparently Christmas dinner was rather quiet without me.
Anyway, the thing I’m really bad at, and I think the reason that I complain a lot, is that I’m just awful at making small talk with people I don’t really know. It’s hit home recently in my interactions with the people who live in my building, and the people who live next door.
Just this afternoon, I was sitting on the front steps after I went running, which I often do to kind of cool off gradually before I sit in the air conditioning. A girl next door, who I’ve never met, came up the steps with her bike. She said hello, and I said hello. She asked, “How’s it going?”. And I had absolutely no response. Luckily for me, her bike had a flat tire, which I noticed, so I could ask about that. Otherwise, I really have no idea what I would have said.
And I fear that people will think me unfriendly, or that I don’t want to get to know them. I would like to get to know my neighbors. I’ve met the people in my building, some more than others, and I’ve met a few people next door. They all seem very nice. But I can just never think of anything to say to people I don’t really know.
I’ve never really understood why. I love to talk. I talk at great length when I’m comfortable. But when I’m not, I’m nearly mute.
Maybe there’s a class or something I could take.