free write 5 – on meeting someone new and faking it until you become it

I consider myself a shy person. And I am also the kind of person that has a hard time saying no. So when a guy walks pass as I am settling to sit down at a table on campus and asks me if he could sit with me, I say yes.

Why not? He seemed like pretty decent guy (and by decent I also mean good looking). Also who was I to say no he couldn’t sit with me? It’s not like I own the table. But if I felt a bad vibe from him or something of course I could say no.

But this wasn’t the first time someone asked if they could sit with me. The other time a custodian lady asked to sit with me so she could have a small break and I said yes.

Anyways back to the guy, he was wearing a hat, a maroon ragland tshirt and shorts. He was drinking coffee out of a tumbler mug thing and had a water container thing (I assume it was water). He sat across me. As I slowly unpacked my laptop and things he asked if I was a student and I babbled for a bit. I asked if he was a student and he said that he worked in the building we were next to and he planned to get some work done with some other people. But he forgot it was a holiday and he didn’t know the building would be locked so he had to text his employees that they can’t work today. We exchanged names and after that we were both quiet for a bit while were both also sipping our coffees. I was on my laptop and he was on his phone, I assume contemplating what to do next.

Mind you I am not much of a talker. If you don’t talk to me first I probably won’t talk to you and am less likely to strike up a convo first. Hence I am not good at starting conversations or meeting new people or making new friends. (You can probably tell I’m pretty boring.)

But on that windy and partly cloudy day I tried making small talk with him. I noticed his mug thing was of the SF Giants and so I asked if he was a Giants fan and he said yes and told me he’s from the Bay Area. I said something back but then it got quiet again for a moment until he said that a friend of his told him there was surf. I commented on the weather and then a few more quiet moments passed until he said he should get going. He said it was nice to meet me and wished me a good day and that maybe we’d see each other again around campus and I was like sure you too. I liked how he used my name before he left. It was nice that he remembered and so I also used his name when we were saying goodbye. (Using people’s names is also something I’m trying to do more often.)

I hardly meet new people. And that’s probably why I’m bad at meeting new people and starting conversations and stuff like that. I have a few very close friends and I’m more of a person that likes deep conversations than small talk. Also I’m more of a listener than a talker.

But I wasn’t always that way. I used to be a very loud, talkative, outgoing person probably up until I got into high school. And I think a big reason for that is because I essentially had the same group of friends throughout grade school and middle school but I went to a different high school than the rest of the group. So in high school it was hard for me to make new friends because everyone else seemed like they had their own group so I left like an outsider for a while.

And now that I’m out of high school I’m still pretty shy. I dislike first day of schools and ice breakers and introducing myself in front of the class or just speaking in front of the class in general.

I don’t know why I’m so afraid to talk to people. It’s just talking. And I’ve read articles and watched YouTube videos about how to talk to people (I know that sounds pretty lame) and they basically say the same things: find common interests, ask questions, let the other person talk about his/herself and listen.

And yeah that’s what I did kind of. Could the conversation have gone better? Definitely. Is this something I would have normally done? Not really. So did I get out of my comfort zone? Yes.

That’s the main thing I think. Being in my own bubble and my same routines all the time doesn’t give me a chance to grow. And I gotta spread my leaves and bloom. (Not too sure if that was the best metaphor but okay let’s go with it.)

And the thing that I am (slowly) realizing now is that strangers initially don’t know that I am shy. So if I smile and act outgoing and friendly and socialable, people will most likely reciprocate that and we’ll become friends. I’ve heard of the saying “fake it until you make it”. And I remember an instructor of mine showing us a Ted Talk video about being more confident (something I’m working on but its a slow process). The video encouraged us to not only to fake it until I make it but fake it until I become it.

So the more I reach out to people, get out of my comfort zone, and fake being a confident friendly outgoing person, the more I will become it.

And of course I know it’s easier said than done.


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