Wednesday, 27 February 2013

I carried a water melon

I spend a lot of time telling myself to shut up.
I talk A LOT, but what you don’t realise is, that’s me holding back. Me talking a lot, is mostly me talking a bit, but holding most of the words in my head and preventing them coming out. Can you imagine how unbearable I’d be if I let it out?
In North Wales (where I come from) this incessant talking is considered normal. But everywhere else? It doesn't seem to be the thing.
I’ve been thinking about this because I had a training day yesterday, a small intimate group of six. Within minutes of arriving, in that awkward silence before the training begins, I’d (unintentionally) insulted the man sitting next to me and told the group all about my fasting. Something they really didn’t need to know. But I just couldn’t help it.
You see I can’t stand a group of strangers sitting in silence before a meeting starts, all worrying about what they'll say in the dreaded ‘round the table introductions’. I always have to chat, get people talking, find common ground (aka humiliate myself and insult a few people) so by the time we do the intros it's just not that bad.  
Apparently this is a problem. A work-based coach once told me that I needed to stop ‘forcing my personality on people’ and let people ‘come and find me’. Not everyone wants to be your friend, he said.
So I tried it for a week.
I was my normal self in the office but when it came to meetings or group discussions, I sat back quietly, let other people take the lead and desperately, painfully, kept all my words tightly locked in my head (the hardest bloody thing I’ve EVER done).
And what happened? I had a whole week of people asking what was wrong.
Was I ill? Stressed? Everything alright at home? Unhappy? Leaving? Pregnant?
No, I’m just letting you all come and find me. (weirdo)
But he had a point, not everyone likes a chatterbox and they don't all want to join in. So just let people be.
Dirty Dancing classic lines
So occasionally I put these tips into practice and remain silent, but most of the time I forget all about it and speak before engaging brain.
In my excitement and urge to make everyone feel relaxed, I tell inappropriate jokes and dole out excruciating insults.
They don’t look funny in writing, without the perfectly timed delivery and painful tumbleweed silence that follows.
But this t-shirt (bought for me by colleague mumofthreeworld) says it all.