About the Experiment

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Five Things I Learned in 2015 (Part 2)

(Continued from Part 1)

3. Introvert’s Guide to Meeting People: saying ANYTHING is better than nothing.  
I’ve always struggled with initiating conversations with strangers.  Once a conversation is going I have no problem talking to new people, but I felt like I missed the class on How To Start Conversations With Strangers.  But since I’ve eschewed online dating lately, I forced myself to be more proactive in talking to cute guys I saw at a party/bar/on set.  My main obstacle was that I felt like I needed to have a clever opening line.  People would say, “You can just walk up and say hi!” but I didn’t really believe it until I tried it.  I saw a cute guy at a party and couldn’t think of a clever opener, so I just sat down next to him and introduced myself.  AND IT WORKED!  It may seem small, but was a big breakthrough for me.

I’m not saying you can always start a conversation with anyone, but in my experience there are:
a) people that want to talk to you and they will engage in a conversation with you even if you start it with something dumb, and
b) some people who don’t really want to talk to you and the conversation will go nowhere even if you start it with something brilliant.
Even when I’ve tried to talk to someone who wasn’t interested, I’ve been glad that I tried and found out instead of wondering “What If”!

4. Ask for what you want/need (first, learn what you want/need): 
Maybe this comes naturally for some people, but I am not one of those people.  I’ve been working on it this whole year and it’s still difficult for me to ask someone directly for what I want/need.  I hate feeling needy, and part of my brain tells me that having any needs at all is being needy.  (Ugh.)  This year I’ve tried to be a student of myself, to figure out what I want/need to be happy and healthy.  We can get stuck in molding our lives after others’, trying to adopt the workout schedule of your favorite actor or the writing schedule of your favorite writer.  If that works as a jumping off point for you, great!  But often it leaves us feeling like, “This works for that person, why doesn’t it work for me?”  Because you’re you and there’s nothing wrong with that, you beautiful unique snowflake

This was most pronounced for me when I went from working from home on my own schedule (i.e. I had lots of control over my environment) to working 12 hour or more days on set (i.e. I had very little control over my environment).  I had to work hard to make sure I was eating enough and sleeping enough (well, enough to function), before I could even start on needs for purpose, connection, etc.  But it’s been an exciting challenge, to understand what I really need and how to take care of those needs regardless of what is going on. 

5. Embrace Absurdity
Recently I was having a heavy “What are we” conversation with a guy in a bar (not my choice of venue, but an overdue conversation) and Sugar Ray’s song “Every Morning” came on the jukebox.  If you aren’t familiar with the song, it was played to death in the late 1990’s and is sugary pop awfulness.  I didn’t really notice the song, but the guy in question said that he couldn’t have a serious conversation while this song was playing.  This annoyed me at first, who cares what song is playing?  And how dare Sugar Ray interrupt this important conversation??  But then we laughed, and I realized that Sugar Ray had actually done me a favor.  It gave us a little break in a tough conversation, and we laughed at the ridiculousness of the song and trying to have a meaningful conversation while that song was playing. 

I can sometimes get very stuck in heavy conversations or stuck in my own head, and I am so grateful for little things that can pull me out of the heaviness, even for a moment, and remind me that not everything has to be THAT serious.  These little moments often end up being the ones we remember, they can be far more important or memorable than the serious thing it interrupted.  So now I keep an eye out for things that can help me pull myself out of bad moods, cute animal videos, songs that make me dance, Bitmojis, and friends who make me laugh.  And I appreciate the things that surprise me, even if it is a Sugar Ray song!

No comments:

Post a Comment