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If you should ever meet me

The cool thing about blogging and social media is that you can get to know some really rad people.

And then you meet them in person and sometimes you’re all, “OMG you are exactly like your blog!”

But sometimes you’re all, “I can’t go talk to her. She won’t know who I am.”

And sometimes you’re all, “OMG she’s so gorgeous!”

But sometimes you’re all “Wow, she looks nothing like her avatar.”

I claim that last one because my avatar was taken in good lighting under the influence of a glass of wine that made me feel incredibly un-self conscious and smiley. Basically, I thought I was a supermodel. It happens.

 

genie in a blog headshot

Bow chicka wine!

 

With BlogHer ’12, the largest blogging conference in the world, going on this weekend in NYC, lots of bloggers are going to be meeting for the first time. Many have gotten to know each other over their blogs and Twitter, but that doesn’t always prepare you for the force of meeting someone in the flesh, especially in a social setting that’s a little extreme, to say the least.

I will NOT be at BlogHer (and I am fighting extreme BlogHer envy right now), but if you should ever meet me in real life, there are some things you should know, other than my hair is much shorter, and I don’t usually carry around a glass of wine with my name and blog on it. But maybe I should.

 

I’m a classic introvert and grew up dreadfully shy. I do like to be in (some) social situations (with a wingman), and I do like meeting new people, but I am trying very hard. If I approached you, it was probably very, very, nerve wracking for me to do so and I kinda want to run away and hide. But on the flip side, it means that I really wanted to meet you or talk to you. So yay for you!

A lot of people are surprised by this, because I can be quite animated and outgoing in groups of people. But I usually leave with a wicked headache from all the effort.

 

I will likely tell you way too much info about something personal. Not like vagina personal (but who knows?), more like just something not meant for people who don’t know me very well.

Case in point: I usually chat with another mom during our kids’ swim lessons at the Y, when I’m not wrangling my kids or threatening to take them home. Last Tuesday she popped by to say that her son was sick, then headed to the gym. When I saw her on the way out, she asked how it went, and I unleashed a bomb of frustration on the poor woman.

Oh, terrible. There was only one instructor today, and my kids were all over the place. I have a good mind to throw in the towel and never come back.

Her eyes flitted down as she laughed nervously and gave me a polite smile. “Oh…well, uh, see you tomorrow…” It’s safe to say she walked off as fast as humanly possible. And that was when I wished I could be one of those people who just smiles and says, It was okay! That woman didn’t need or want to hear my personal grievances.

 

I often don’t know what to say. This usually plagues me in those situations in which I make the effort to go up and introduce myself to someone. I can get through the initial stages, you know, like “hi,” but then falter miserably after that.

Hi! I’m Leigh Ann. I really enjoyed your presentation/speech/blog!

“Oh thanks! That’s nice to hear.”

Yeah! You’re welcome! So, um…yeah….You have really pretty hair?

Inversely, I sometimes just fly off the handle and say too much. I may mommy vomit all over you about my kids or just keep talking and talking to fill the silence:

Oh, you have a cat? Me too! Two actually. I hate them. One vomits everywhere and the other one’s just an asshole. Wait, where are you going?

Twins? Oh yeah, it’s tough. But fun. Usually. Sometimes. I mean, they fight a lot, but they’re best friends. Kinda. You want to kill yourself the first 6 months, but you get used to it, especially when you don’t know any different. And man, breast feeding was rough in the beginning. Wait…is it just me, or are you backing away?

 

I’m very indecisive. I cannot make a snap decision to save my life. In fact, if I DID have to save my life with a snap decision? I would probably die because I would either make the wrong decision, or I would meet my demise standing there wringing my hands, grinding my teeth, emitting a slight “Eeeeeeeeeee!” What a way to go.

Also, I like to please people. Most of my indecision comes from not wanting to make the wrong decision, i.e. the choice you don’t like. This also makes me very agreeable. So just go ahead and decide already.

 

I’m a people watcher. Sunglasses were made for people like me. I may be watching you right. now.

 

I’m terrible with names. But I will own up to it and ask you to tell me again so I can remember. Or how about you just give me your Twitter handle?

 

If we’ve made it to happy hour and you still haven’t ditched me for someone less annoying, know that I love wine, but I will usually choose beer. Also I will probably talk WAY too much if I have a couple of drinks in me.

 

When I go home, I will likely tear apart the whole event/evening/encounter, sure that I talked too much, laughed too loud, and overpowered too many conversations. It’s just what I do. But hopefully I didn’t, and you left thinking I was relatively normal, somewhat relatable, and maybe just a little bit awesome? Because I thought you were too.

 

What would you want people to know about you before meeting?

 

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Leigh Ann Torres
Writer, artist, wife, cook, maid, bookkeeper, mom to twins plus one...all around genie in a bottle, except you only get one wish, and it has to be reasonable.
26 Comments
  1. Love this, Leigh Ann!

    I appear standoffish and stuck-up when people first meet me. My husband called me an Ice Queen when he first met me, true story! It’s just my face, I’m really not that bad. Heh.

    In real life, I’m sarcastic and tell inappropriate jokes. I also ask people a lot of questions about themselves. I think it’s my PR training :) Oh and if I like your shoes, I’ll tell you so. And ask you where you got them.

    • I had a friend in high school who told me she thought I was stuck up before we got to know each other. An unfortunate assumption for shy people, I’m afraid.

      I don’t know how many times my husband has told me that I look pissed off, and I’m all, “Sorry, that’s just my face.”

  2. You and I would get a long great because I’m pretty much exactly like you. So, here’s to one day meeting in person and being awkward together! :)

  3. Oh I’m totally a relive the entire night and pick out all the screw ups person. I can’t wait to meet you. Let’s get sponsored to sxsw, mkay?

  4. Surprise, surprise! We are alike in so many ways. Except for being an introvert and being shy, reading all of that pretty much sums it up for me too. As you know, I love to meet people and while I don’t have much chance any more to get out and socialize, I have always loved being around people. I have only ever been shy around guys, but now that’s even becoming a moot point. :( Great post! You are a great person and anyone should be proud to have met you and have you in their life! :) XOXO

  5. I would never have thought that you were very shy and introverted, and I’d never guess you were trying that hard! You always come across very poised and in control from my perspective.
    Almost every time I spend time with people, I go home and think, “I talked too much. I know I talked way too much. Why do I talk so much?”

  6. We are soul mates, but we already know this.
    - same name.. no need to remember.
    - I’m on meds… you’re drinking so we’re both talking too much
    - I love to disect the day once I’m home… sometimes it causes me to have to take a time out
    - My facial expressions make people stay away.. they think I’m either a huge beotch or I’m constipated.

  7. I think we might share a brain. I was shy as a kid, have mommy vomit syndrome and totally have to over analyze every encounter for hours afterward. If we ever make it to BlogHer at the same time lets hold hands and help each other deflect the awkwardness as we meet and greet the rest of the room!

  8. What did you say about vaginas? Huh huh huh, that was cool

  9. Hi… I’m over here in the indecisive corner too! Social situations are always so much better with a wing man too! Geesh… I’d stay home locked away from the world if it weren’t for other more outgoing friends! Or other people like me….

  10. I can TOTALLY relate. I prefer social media. It keeps actual face time to a minimum. And it’s a lot easier to ditch creepers than in real life.

    • I like that I can edit myself better in social media. I feel like I fumble my words and have a hard time forming sentences when I’m IRL.

  11. I talk way too much, am too loud and often come home thinking I shouldn’t have monopolized the conversation… again.

  12. Hm. Everyone’s said it.
    I suppose we could just nervously talk the twins + 1 thing until we were drunk enough to talk about something else!

  13. I think we’d get along great IRL. Like walking into each other’s houses without knocking.

  14. What to know about me before you meet me in person, hm….

    Well, you already have, but there are a few things that might make me make more sense even now:

    1) My parents met in graduate school at Yale. My mother got her master’s degree in linguistics, my father got his in physics. I’ve been told this explains a lot.

    2) If you tell me something TMI/awkward, I generally don’t run away. One morning at a retreat, I asked someone I sat down next to at breakfast how he was doing. He had been processing a lot of crap from childhood/adolescence and blurted out something that was, on the face of it, probably inappropriate at breakfast, realized such, apologized, and shut up. Later, I tracked him down and thanked him for trusting me with that, and I’m OK with that sort of thing over breakfast even if no one else is. (Before I’ve managed to start drinking my tea is another matter entirely.)

    3) http://xkcd.com/247/
    I like to factor numbers. Apparently, most people don’t really want to hear what the largest prime factor of a given number is, so I’m careful who I share that with now. (Numerical TMI?)

    4) I also have several other xkcd URLs memorized and type them up without having to look them up anymore. (My new favorite to throw into online discussions when appropriate is http://xkcd.com/1028 and the mouseover/hovertext/whatever you call it is an important part of it in that case.)

    5) I really don’t like to be thanked out of proportion to the effort I put into something. If I spend 5 minutes tracking down the link to the webpage that ends up totally changing your life, please don’t go fangirl all over me when you see me in person later, as it creeps the heck out of me.

    6) I’m careful about how, where and when I cuss, but I will insert the word “expletive” in there if I want to cuss but don’t think it’s appropriate right then, or in that context. (Case-in-point: not being sure how such an expletive would be received on someone’s G+ post, I just typed in ” *Expletive* yeah!” The OP appreciated it enough to +1 the comment, at least.)

    7) I can practically write novels in comment sections, but don’t often go on at length in spoken conversation.

    8) Yes, I use the word “asymptotically” in conversation.

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