Sunday, 11 December 2016

being a nervous speaker



I was considered a "chatty" child. And not in the endearing sense. We all know a child who doesn't know when to be quiet.  Happy to say that the older I got, the quieter / more mellow I've become.  Since Year 12, when my friends sort of dispersed to various colleges etc etc, I've become really reliant on good ol' Whatsapp and Facebook chat to catch up with people. But I think to the point where my conversational skills have taken sharp decline. Without sounding too self indulgent, the years following Year 12 are v. transitional and it's not been very easy. And because I'm the type of person whose closest friends have been the same since secondary school, a lot of those long, complaining, emotional convos/rants have been on either Whatsapp or Facebook chat.

And of course it's great we have the Internet to keep in touch with people blah blah blah. The point is, all these long chats online have been to the detriment of my real life conversational skills. The thing with talking online is:

- You have a bit of time to think through what you say - very useful for folks like me, who aren't v.witty
- You can dip in and out of a conversation and still feel like it's been a fruitful one. For instance I'll sometimes Skype my brother for 2 hours and at least half an hour of that time, is just silence - we're just surfing the net or not even in the room. I also hate small talk. So the other great thing about this, is that if you're bored, you can make up an excuse and leave.Ahh

But these traits that I'm now used to, do not make you a good conversationalist irl. I now find I put a lot of pressure on myself (depending on the company) to be quick and witty and articulate, because I'm now so comfortable typing behind my laptop. So much so that I sometimes stutter ugh.

When I'm in a group of people who maybe aren't my tightest group of friends, I'm all like "errghh I need to work the room ... I need to speak up ... I need to smile more ... I need to ask more questions". Just very self critical and self aware. And I low key love having my phone so I have something to reach for when the conversation is dying. Btw this isn't with friends or family but you know when you're maybe catching up with people you're not super tight with or a completely new group of people.

 With close friends though, I love that you can babble on and not make sense and talk freely and make mistakes and laugh at things don't always make sense and not think before you speak! And I want to be like this with everyone. I think spending so much time on the internet or texting instead of calling people has meant I'm always in my head, all day long. Which in my case, has made me a lazy, nervous conversationalist.

I've been in restaurants where they neighbouring tables are all on their phones, I'm guessing because nothing juicy is being said and it's more interesting/fun to check what's happening online. I never want to get to that point.

SO. CHANGES.

I put my phone off when I go out. #Radical It's been so nice to completely be in someone else's company where they have your undivided attention. It's made me switch off and hence feel more at ease in conversations. I think without even noticing, we've all put quite pressure on conversations. You know we've all bitched about people who are "really boring", "really awkward", as if every conversation we have should sound like a Cheryl Strayed interview level of articulate and meaningful.

Happy Sunday xo
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