I’m headed to NYC for BlogHer ’15 on Thursday, and the anxiety is in full force. This year I’m not as nervous about meeting people I don’t know – I will have plenty of friends there, both online and off. No, my fears this year reside in the crowded, bustling city of New York. I’ve always dreamed of going, but I admit, I’m kinda terrified. I don’t get anxious about solo travel, except when it comes to solo “getting where I need to be.” If I can’t find someone to share with, that $50 cab ride is going to hurt.
It’s always interesting meeting someone you’ve only known online. Sometimes people’s online personas match their real life ones to a tee. I always get the feeling that when people meet me in real life for the first time, they’re disappointed that I don’t immediately match up to my online boisterousness. Here are some reasons why. (I originally wrote the following before BlogHer ’12 – which I did not attend. They still stand today.)
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. 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. But…
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?
Which leads to…
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’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 deafening “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.
If you’re headed to BlogHer ’15, come say hi! Just keep the above things in mind before you write me off as a total weirdo.