‘Don’t be weird…don’t be weird…Idiot!’
A Trip to a Restaurant
There is one thing that I have never understood about myself. I can be completely fine in some social interactions, but absolutely paralysed in others. Even if the interactions that paralyse me are theoretically easier to deal with than those that don’t. During my academic days, I would travel to conferences in Europe and be able to give a half an hour long presentation on a piece of research – sometimes longer, as well as giving daily updates in meetings. I would attend some conferences at which I’d be stood there with a poster, and attempt to entice people in so I could lecture them about it. All of this was done with ease and no real degree of nervousness on my part. Perhaps this was a ‘public speaking’ personality I had developed, In a similar sense to those talked about in one of my previous posts: Introverts as Friends.
Now, someone who is capable of giving public talks on a regular basis would surely have no issues with ordering food right?… Wrong. Despite this natural affinity to conference settings, I cannot for the life of me place an order with a waiter without metaphorically messing my pants.
I know what I want to order, I go to order it, but my vocal cords do not generate the necessary sounds to output audible words. Of course, this only leads to more embarrasment. Because, after the fact, I get a funny look from said person receiving my order, followed by a ‘what?’. I then blurt the words out too loudly and the waiter doesn’t know how to react.
However, they write down the order and all is well. But then… I change my mind. I then have to request that my order is changed. Following through the same rigmarole, I finally get the correct order in. Everything is ok, I’ve survived.
Next, the meal comes, and it’s completely different to what I ordered. Most Introverts at this point would just accept it and eat the meal without any fuss. But not me – I complain. This is, of course, much to the bewilderment of the waiter, who moments ago was listening to a socially anxious, stuttering moron attempt to undertake the basic task of saying ‘I want that please thank you’.
I think with most scenarios that I completely butcher, based on my personality traits, I can sort of formulate in my head as to why I behaved the way I did. But, this example is a complete mystery to me. Why is it, that I can complain without issue, give a talk in front of a room full of people without complication, but as soon as it comes to the simple, insignificant task of uttering the words necessary to place an order for food, I completely break down like a piece of paper in water. If anyone has any theories, I’d love to hear them in the comments below.
In the Mind of an Introvert
In this portion of the post, I’d like to reiterate a point I made in a previous rambling: Who Am I?. We introverts, seem to find the most trivial of every day tasks more difficult. Ordering food at a restaurant, picking up the phone to someone, even accidentally bumping into someone in the street. We could say ‘Hello’ to the cashier at the local supermarket and that would be our quota of social interaction for the day.
It is my opinion that introverts may find some tasks difficult without even realising it, because we unknowingly assume that everyone else finds those tasks difficult, and we don’t know any better. Of course, this goes the other way too. There are some tasks that introverts might find especially easy, such as being locked in a hotel room on their own for a week.
So to conclude, go easy on us, our extroverted brethren. As we all know, The World is Run by Extroverts. We introverts are just trying to find our path through this socially orientated world.
As always, and until next time, I thank you for the read.