I seem stuck up but I’m just shy

This weather lately has been a blessing to cabin fevered individuals everywhere. We were like teenagers who were just told we had the right to borrow the car when we needed it. What we saw then was the same thing we saw this weekend: unlimited freedom. I for one avoided being inside for too long, today was no different. 

We walked downtown which is about 10 short blocks away from where I stay and got frozen yogurt. Everything was lovely. Even though I had to fight my arm exhaustion because my son fought all the way there and back to be carried not sit in the stroller was not enough to ruin my good mood.

However I noticed as I was sitting there on the concrete steps that I’m still awkward as ever. I set out at the beginning of this year that I would say hi to everyone I’ve ever had an awkward relationship with. You know like the friend you no longer speak to because you had a falling out about something neither of you can remember, or an ex’s family member that you’re not sure how to act around. You don’t have awkward relationships you say? Oh that must just be ALL OF MY RELATIONSHIPS EVER. 

I can’t bring myself to have a conversation and try to let things go but I could at the very least not avoid eye contact. Or so I thought. This afternoon presented the perfect opportunity to put my resolution to practice and I blew the first chance I had. It was a mix of a bad habit, and being too shy to take the first step towards changing that dynamic. 

There have been a thousand times I’ve been told by people I appear stuck up. I probably do. I believe every one of you whose told me. I promise though I don’t act that way out of believing I’m better than you. I act that way because I have a severe starring problem and I’m too shy to come forward and say something to you.

That’s it. 

That’s been my whole relationship dynamic with friends, colleagues, ex relationships. Everyone. I’m never sure what to say or what to talk about or whether you saw me and if I should go up to you and say hi. And if I just met you would that seem like I’m overly eager? A million debilitating thoughts go into my mind and by the time I finally sort out my feelings and decide I need to get my shit together and just say hi the moments passed and now you’re avoiding eye contact with me. Today I agonized for over an hour about what to say in the subject line of an email that I was just sending to catch up. That’s how at loss for words I am sometimes. It’s a vicious cycle. 

So as I momentarily try to break down the thoughts that lead into habits that lead me to shy away from saying hi to everyone I avoided contact with because it was too awkward to bare, give me a little slack and understand it has nothing to do with me not wanting to associate with you and everything to do with me trying to break a simple habit. Or don’t cut me any slack. Be just as unforgiving back, maybe that sting will finally be the change agent.

Thankfully I live in a small town and I will eventually run into that person again, and again, and again. So I will have many more chances to not have a mini panic attack over greeting someone. And now I can better prepare for the next time I run into someone else who I don’t know what to say around, because believe me the list is long and it’s growing. 

Photo credit: alessandra celauro via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND

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