I am a very awkward person. I went to church for a short period of time a couple years ago and I kid you not, sometimes I wouldn’t talk to anyone except for my two friends in the five-hour span I would be there for. I know a lot of people may get triggered by this because what I think is that it should be normalized not having to make small talk with people I have no interest in conversing with. I am not being rude when I can’t keep a conversation going, I am not being rude by not answering something other than yes or no when someone else is trying to talk to me.
My generation has grown up with social media and texting so I know I am not the only one going through this. Some of us are just not as comfortable with speaking to strangers like the older generations are. I try, I really do. It’s the most frustrating thing ever. As I write this (around May 2020) I am in a car while my friends talk to their family’s friends because I don’t have the strength to get down and talk to people I don’t know. I wish this was normalized. I know it isn’t the healthiest. But I just wish I wouldn’t get called rude for not being able to do it. I wish people wouldn’t judge me so hard. I wish my own family and friends would understand. It’s not that easy. My friends grew up in church. So, they have been the most outgoing people since they were children. So, they don’t understand what this is. My Mexican culture is not okay with the way I am. My family feels disrespected when at times I don’t have the strength to go over awkward conversations with them. I just can’t do it. But I try. It’s not only strangers though. My best friends’ parents are hard to talk to. I’ve known them for 9 years. And they are sweet people, but I can’t do it.
You don’t understand how much I envy people who can do this with ease. The way I think when I am trying to engage with someone I am not comfortable with is so exhausting. I will be very cautious about what I say, how I say it, how I’m standing up, what I’m wearing, trying not to mess up what I say, trying really hard to think of what to continue the conversation with etc. I am not saying I am completely sheltering myself, I still go out with friends all the time, sometimes I’m the one who makes the plans. But the way it works is I can’t talk to friends’ family, their friends, my far relatives, people I don’t know, etc. It’s like this feeling chooses when and where to let me down.
One of my worst fears is that I’ll end up alone. With no friends. And barely any family. No significant other. No one. I see that being very likely and it depresses me. I say this is possible (to end up with no one) because whenever a significant other arrives into my life I will be asked to meet their family and I am dreading that already when I haven’t even met them yet! I try to change. But it’s not easy. By normalizing it instead of judging will probably make me feel more relaxed and eventually able to speak with more ease. By normalizing I don’t mean “never talk to a stranger ever again” but more like… if I meet your friend that I don’t know and there is no possibility we could be friends and we are just meeting because we bumped into them, I don’t have to make small talk with them. Easy as that!