Have you ever found yourself in uncomfortable situations, only to discover that the reason you are uncomfortable is because of yourself? Well if you have and I bet there are many of you out there, join the crowd. I have been pondering this for the last few days.
Believe it or not, I am not always comfortable in large group situations. I tend to get quiet and withdraw and try to find a comfort zone. I know many of my friends and acquaintances may be surprised to hear this. Jim often said that one of the things he admired about me was how easy it was for me to meet people. He would tell me that I could know a whole room full of people in 10 minutes. I know I can be a very social person. I love going to gatherings. I enjoy meeting new people. When I meet new people I learn new things and I enjoy learning and growing.
Since Jim’s death I have found that I prefer small groups of people or just one person meetings. It has been hard to be among the masses. On Saturday night, at the Hells A’Roaring Ranch there was a large group of people. Many of the locals and near by locals came for an evening of eating, dancing and social interaction. Now I love to dance and I know if I had gone up to any of those wranglers I would have had a dance partner. Instead I tucked myself off on the side lines and got quiet. Now I know there is nothing wrong with this, however, I didn’t like being there. My question is, What is the solution? I am not sure.
It may not be helping that I am still trying to figure out this solo act business. I don’t feel married. I don’t feel single. I dislike the word widow (it makes me think of black and spiders.) I just feel like myself and sometimes I am not sure who that is.
It feels somewhat sad and awkward to be in my 60’s and trying to figure this out. I may just say the same thing in my 80’s. Life is growth and at least I am growing.
There are some things that do help me adjust to large groups of people. Here are some of my successful techniques.
- I try to find others with common interests. Mark was that person at the “ranch”. I met him and his wife and he chose to come and talk to me a few times. It was very helpful.
- Ask questions. This helps to draw others out and maybe I will be able to find that common ground.
- Take a little time and figure out who appears most approachable.
- Remind myself that it is OK to take a break. Go for a walk. Go outside and look at the stars. Then come back in again.
- Remember that it is OK to want to be quiet but a smile never hurts and will often make me feel better and more secure.
- Sometimes I just give myself a lecture (kind of like buck up, go have fun) and dive back in. Occasionally this works and other times it does not.
- It is important to acknowledge when I am just not having a good time and choose to leave. If it is the wrong situation or the wrong time then it is OK to leave.
Interacting with others, I believe, is the hardest thing that humans do on this earth. Everyone is trying to read everyone else and interpretations may go awry. Sometimes there are questions with no pat answer. This conversation may be one of them. If anyone has any ideas or thoughts on this I would be very interested in your response.