I am not June Cleaver, 2016
24″ x 24″
If you’re an extrovert, you will likely find this story ridiculously funny. If you’re an introvert, I hope you’ll understand. Either way, here goes.
I’ve always been an introvert and I used to be quite shy. Many are surprised to find this out, but it’s true. I’ve learned enough social skills to survive in a mostly extroverted environment, but believe me, if there’s an opportunity to duck out of a social gathering, I’m often the first one at the door.
My artist accountability partner, Adele Castillo, on the other hand is an extrovert and I’m in admiration of her social skills. In our regular calls, she challenged me to push beyond my comfort zone and to actually initiate conversations with people I didn’t know. ‘You mean actually talk to them?’ I asked. ‘What do I say?’. Laughing, Adele offered a few simple phrases such as ‘How are you?’, ‘What brings you to this event?’ and other simple conversational phrases.
I wrote everything down and still I worried. What if there was nothing left to say after that? There would be -gasp- an awkward silence and then what would happen? So I googled around, looking for more ideas around possible topics of conversation. I started a list, which I now carry around with me. (Adele is still laughing about this). But I like my list. It gives me confidence that the next time I’m in a social situation struggling for a way to connect with people (art reception, artwalk, work function, etc.), I can easily excuse myself, review my list and return with 1-2 new questions. It seems to be working!
Now, I try to engage with people on the elevator and many of them do talk back. I recently went to an art reception and met some fascinating new artists. I feel ready to greet my friends and family at the upcoming Kirkland Artist Studio Tour (May 7-8, 2016).
I will always treasure my alone time, but I’m finding it so much easier to talk to and engage with new people. Here’s a sampling of my list:
- If you were on the run from the police for a crime you didn’t commit, where would you go?
- Time freezes for everyone but you for one day. What do you do?
- When was the last time you had a food fight?
Thank you Adele for nudging me out of my comfort zone.