I still found myself after all the years scanning the room watching what everyone else was doing. A sense of panic covered my entire body like a blanket.
I have faked social situations for almost all my life. Most times they require a kind reply, a small polite gesture or some sort of recognition. If tested on my ability to cheat I’m sure I would pass but on my ability to understand it would be a downright fall flat on my face fail.[space_20]
I found our eyes connecting across the room and lifted my hand just above the table a little and gave a little wave. I mouthed the words hello, and gave my best smile. She smiled back. Was that a success? I found myself sitting for almost an entire minute thinking about that. Did I do it right? Was I polite? Was that the proper greeting?
I remember a friend I had saying long ago “I hate going to funerals because I never know what to say” Oh how I can relate. Every social event feels like a funeral to me even when they are not.
But I crawled back to my roots and the days where my Aunt and I would have tea parties. She was much older than me and the one in charge of me not shattering one of the tiny cups. I had been given a miniature tea set for Christmas that year and it still had not been used. We set the tiny wooden children s table up with one of grandmas lace table clothes and the tiny tea set. Freshly baked cookies were set in the center of the table on one of the saucers. I could already feel them melting in my mouth so you can only imagine how stunned I was when she said “Ok go get your coat and stand outside the door”
Why would I do that?You seriously want me to leave now?
She wanted me to have the entire experience. From the moment I arrived until the moment I left. Afternoon tea was an important part of ones social life and I had best get to learning it now, so I did as she asked.
I stood outside the big garage door and knocked. I could see her busting around the kitchen, so I knocked louder. This time she came. “Well hello” she said (pretty close to the sound of Mrs Doubt-fire)
Um hi? I said. (wondering why did she suddenly sound British) She laughed.
Once inside she poured the tea and I pretty much copied everything she did (except the accent that seemed a little over the top) We enjoyed a good half hour of chatting about nothing really while sipping tea. I’m not sure I learned a whole lot of social skills but I did learn how to dunk a cookie in a cup of tea :)
I’m pretty sure my understanding for the small pleasantries of being social is still very absent. I still never know what to say. Many people mistaken me for being snobbish or rude or unfriendly. The truth is though I dont understand it. Over the years I have watched people interact in social situations and even tried copying what some people do or say. Sometimes it has ended up being very inappropriate.
Yesterday I enjoyed a ladies afternoon Christmas Tea at the church. I found myself copying others, trying to blend in. I think I did ok. I do know I had Leviticus 19:14 covered
‘You shall not curse a deaf man, nor place a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall revere your God; I am the LORD.
I’m content in knowing God created us all to love one another and to hope and share hope with each other.
Yes it’s true I am socially awkward, shy and not very good at making small talk but….
Every day I am discovering new ways to just be human.
[kad_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x59qpvULQi8″ ]