I hate to admit that I am painfully awkward in social situations. An endearing comparison would be Bridget (Bridget Jones Diary). Don’t we all run into those awkward situations? I walk away scratching my head and saying “Why didn’t I say…” I seriously used to be good with people but all of a sudden, people started acting weird. It’s not me, it’s them! Ok, so it’s not just them…
One day my son was invited to a sleep over and I agreed that he could go. I hadn’t realized that the child’s mom wanted to have a social visit. I got there to drop him off and she was outside waiting for me. I though to myself, this is a good time to ask her about her sons’ birthday gift. So I got out of the car for a quick greeting. As soon as I got out of the car I could smell a BBQ. She comes over to me and hands me a spritzer and tells me “we are all out back; I didn’t want you to think we weren’t here if no one answered the door.”
Okay, this is where I wanted to make a run for it. But you can’t just do stuff like that…right? So I follow her around to the back where we meet a bunch of people I do not know. They seemed nice enough. So this guy (with an overly enthusiastic look on his face) comes over to me, “Hi I am Steve! So, are you Native American?” I get that a lot.
I tell him “nope. I am 100% Mexican.” So he gives me The Look. I call it the Mexican=Illegal look. Yup, I tend to carry this chip on my shoulder. I start to feel a bit uncomfortable. so I ask him, “What are you?” This time I get the surprised look.
“Oh… no,” says the man of many expressions, “I just don’t think you look Mexican,” Almost as if that was a complement!
Determined to make my point, I ask “Are you Irish, Swedish, Polish…Italian?”
Confused he stammers, “I have a little German”. “A little? What else?” I coax. I get a contemplative stare. “Well then, the only difference between you and me is that I know my bloodline.” (with a bit of a neck roll I leave him with a dumbfounded expression) I let the hostess know that I just received a text that I have to leave due to a non emergency…emergency.
Okay, so when I left I was no longer hungry and I think I was vaguely nauseous. I started replaying the scene in my head. Was I too harsh? Was he just trying to start up a conversation? How could I have changed this outcome without being defensive? I could have gone along with Native American; I have done that one before. I should have just made light of the question right? A joke, something like, “I am not an illegal one.” Or “Yea, I keep my sombrero and pancho in the closet so no one will find out my secret” I thought of so many more offhanded comments that I could have made and then moved on to enjoy the evening. Yep, not me! I often make the aggressive, “I’m righy, your wrong” choice. Maybe it’s my way of getting out of uncomfortable conversations.
My goal is to improve my interactions with people. I want to push through my initial negative reactions toward more positive outcomes. I can do this!
Life Is An Echo
What you send out – comes back.
What you sow – you reap.
What you give – you get.
What you see in others – exists in you. ~Pravs J