I’m not someone who usually has issues with talking to other people. If you see me out somewhere I’m always usually smiling to talk to you, happy to engage in conversation, and will likely have a story to share that’s relevant. I try to be one of those people who have the right amount of eye contact without it being, you know, weird between us, while at the same time making the speaker feel important and like I’m totally engaged in what they’re saying, even if I have absolutely no clue. I grew up in a family that does ‘socializing and schmoozing’ really well, and that’s a learned skill by the time you’re 10, so it comes really naturally to me.
You would never guess that I’m screaming “LET ME LEAVE PLEASE OH GOD, that sounded SO WRONG TAKE IT BACK, did he just say CHEESE or CHOOSE now I want cheese oh crap what did he just say was his name? NOW I DONT KNOW HIS NAME AND HE’S GOING TO BE “HEY YOU” FOR THE REST OF THE NIGHT AAANNNDDD NOW HE’S GONE AND WHO IS THIS oh GOD can I please just LEAVE NOW I have a HEADACHE and my whole CHEST IS TIGHT WHAT DID I JUST AGREE TO AAAAHHHHHHHHH” in my head the whole time. It’s not personal. It’s the anxiety I’ve talked about a few times before on here. Once I get comfortable in a place or with people that gets dimmed down quite a bit, but the first time I’m in a situation there’s a lot going on.
So please picture that I’m driving to an unknown place for the first time, to meet with people who are all Dr. Something about my academic and professional future, and who will be teaching me things for the next few years and giving me evaluations on what I have learned. Oh, this is to a campus within one of the boroughs in New York City, by the way, and I live outside of the city in the suburbs and never commute down that way.