Friday, March 29, 2019
Five years ago, I had a sabbatical. I used it to work on myself in various ways. I lost about ten kilos with Spark under a different user name. I hadn’t done any crafting since school but always wanted to, and I did some during that year. Biggest of all, I found I needed to work on my social skills, so I worked on some problem areas some friends had brought to my attention - painful, but I was/am grateful to them.
For the first ten years after we moved from Osaka to Tokyo I made no friends at all. For the first few years, I was snowed under. I had a hard full-time job, one part-time job, I was going to school at the weekend, and my two children were still quite young. After a few months, I gave up even trying to make friends, and for several years after life had become easier, I still didn’t bother to look for friends. As an introvert, I was quite happy as I was, but I knew it wasn’t healthy. When I did get back into mixing, I found I was making some serious faux pas.
My conversation skills were in the tank. I didn’t know what to talk about. I didn’t know what to get others to talk about. I searched the Internet for hints, but it took me some time to collect helpful information. Eventually, I compiled a list of topics to ask and talk about - movies, trips, making a compliment, the weather, etc. I even prepared conversations the night before.
Last night I prepared for today’s lunch with a friend. I made a list of topics to talk about, tried to remember the last movie I saw and the last book I read. I listed things about her life to make sure I remembered enough, and this morning on the train, I reviewed the list which was a page long. (Don’t laugh! Actually yes, do laugh - it’s so ridiculous!) We have a lot in common, so I can talk about the things in my life which are most difficult, but because of that, I need to curb myself and make sure things are fifty-fifty, with both of us getting about equal air time.
I think it was a good afternoon for both of us. I enjoyed it and I think she did too. When I got home, I was exhausted and slept for two hours.
Are there any other introverts out there in Sparkland as ridiculous as this? Do you have any hints, tips or interesting experiences?