Why I complain

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.

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