Today’s Blogging 101 task got me thinking about the way I interact with those around me. I am generally quite a quiet person when I first meet people, quite shy I suppose. I never really know what to say and rarely initiate a conversation. I’m absolutely useless at ‘small talk’ – yes, I am that person you have conversations with and there are lots of awkward silences!
It definitely takes me a while to get to know people. I’m in my thirties but I only have a few close friends – and even those I don’t see very often. I find it difficult to develop friendships. When I first started my job nine years ago I was a very quiet member of the team, or so people thought. Reflecting back on it I realise that I was watching people, how they worked and how they connected with each other – it’s something I have a talent for – reading people.
Over the years I became a trusted member of the team and worked my way up through the ranks – even past people who were there long before me. I feel this is mainly due to the fact that having been so quiet and watchful my basic character shone through, rather than the falseness that personality can sometimes bring, e.g. fitting in, joining in the gossip etc.
I often wish I could of remained the watchful, quiet one who only showed true character but as my confidence grew and my personality began to develop, bad habits crept in. Now I’m struggling to become the better person again. For me character is important, personality tends to manifest from what we think other people want us to be, or even what we think we should be like to please others.
I realise my quietness with new people comes across wrong, some people find me insensitive or abrupt because I rush in to say something because I’m nervous. I seem to find it difficult to show empathy, maybe because I need to get to know people better but also because I work with adults with profound multiple learning disabilities with all sorts of difficulties so others ‘problems’ don’t always seem so important to me.
There are pros and cons to each way of being. I wish I had the ability to be both confident and principally centred. I’m not there yet, but this is what my journey is all about.