people skills.. I should work on that.
I have been told a time or two, that I need to work on my people skills. I accept that my ability to respond appropriately to displays of emotional distress is somewhat under developed.
I am basically incapable of making small talk without sounding like a serial killer.
I prefer to get the point of conversations quickly, due to the fact that I have a nasty habit of forgetting the reason I have approached someone. It usually results in me walking into their conversational bubble, looking them directly in the eye, panicking because I forgot why I am there, exclaiming loudly “NEVER MIND!” and making a hasty retreat by speed walking about 20 feet. At this point I usually remember what I wanted to ask them. I then turn in two full circles debating if its worth it to shame walk back to the person. Who, by the way, is currently witnessing this ritualistic dance of awkward fuckary. By the second turn around, I realize I look like an idiot and toddle back to my desk swearing to myself “next time just send them a goddamn email…”
Professionally, there are occasions that I am required to engage in discourse with individuals that are feeling somewhat impassioned for any number of reasons. Rarely do these reasons penetrate my exoskeleton of callus indifference. While I was living on the East Coast this was an acceptable and expected method of interacting with humans in a heightened emotional state. Usually, they were able to soothe themselves with a blanket of self righteous ignorance and condescension.
California is a whole new beast of delicate emotional sensitivity.
It may help to explain that I was raised by a police officer and pediatric nurse. If you weren’t bleeding to death or missing a limb you better suck it up and go walk it off. Try to convince your mother to keep you home from school with tummy ache when she just cared for kid who nearly died in a car crash. She will give you “the look” and tell you to get your ass in the car. If your stomach aches you can do dishes. We learned at young age not to let dad tie your cleats if you wanted to keep all of your toes. Unless of course your foot already hurt, in which case it was better, because a foot can’t swell if there isn’t any blood going to it. In 4th grade I walked a 1/2 a mile home with a broken arm, more scared they were going to be pissed at me not listening to my brother, then from actual pain.
You can now understand my confusion in how to handle extended emotional displays (by adults) that do not appear to have a physical manifestation or cause. I just stand there and ask if they need me to call EMS. When the answer is no… and they continue to cry actual tears, I begin frantically searching for an exit. When the words “CAN’T YOU SEE ?!? I AM IN EMOTIONAL DISTRESS!!!” are getting tossed in my general direction, I can only muster enough compassion to offer them an ice-pack.
Knowing I display the emotional capacity of a hermit crab and I tend to communicate as unambiguously and concisely as possible. Picture me, in the land that sets the standard for political correctness and personal awareness. Yoga schools on every corner next to medical marijuana shops and the Church of Existential Omni-deities that Prefer to be Called Bob. The general expectation is that there will be no less then 5 minutes of inane conversation and personal inquiries before you can start circling the conversational wagons and get to the point. I maintain that if I spent the expected amount of time in fatuous exchanges I would get exactly dick accomplished. The consequence is that now everyone just assumes I’m a bitch and no one will sit at my lunch table.