In social circles, there is admiration for an individual who possesses skill at making smooth conversation, flowing from subject to subject with ease, navigating topics, avoiding jutting pauses or silence; basically, someone who is charming—especially when concerning first impressions.
Sadly, my expertise in that area is limited.
It gets hard for me to think of things to say after I’ve exhausted the subject of name, origin of birth and age. No, I know that there is a lot to talk about but plastic conversation is something I try to distance myself from. For example, I make a strong conscious effort to never talk about the weather—which is harder than I thought it would be.
As is usually the same with everyone, it is easier for me to talk to the same gender. I usually hit the topic of sports first; step over to music for a while then about movies and maybe eventually, actresses or models or female singers.
Actually, I don’t really know what I talk about with guys when I first meet them—usually sports and music. That’s usually first because most of them time one or both subjects applies to their life in some way so I feel it is the safest gamble for me. I end up making a comment about the beauty of a female celebrity because I feel like it is expected, as if to prove masculinity. But that’s another story… moving on.
With girls, it’s harder. I find myself just stumbling in a crowded room of subjects, with a flickering flashlight that works for about a minute then turns off, causing me to trip my way around the conversation hoping to stumble on something worth talking about. This happens when I talk to guys too, but I don’t feel as lost because I know he’s feeling the same way. With girls, I can’t help but think that more than 99.9% of the time, she’s thinking “he’s hitting on me,” and/or “weird, creepy guy go away,” although that is my own speculation during those situations. Either way, it just gets awkward.
Or at least, I just get awkward.
I heard it said once that “it’s only awkward if you make it awkward,” which I immediately rejected. I later realized that it does hold some truth so my mantra I would mentally murmur was “it’s not awkward, it’s not awkward,” like a broken record. I admit it helped but not completely.
I’ve found that although I may convince myself a situation is not awkward, the other person’s belief in its awkwardness still makes it awkward.
In response to this, I have grown to embrace awkward situations with open arms. I still refuse to talk about the weather but I welcome conversations that are filled with pauses, silence and overall white noise.
The broken record was thrown out and a new one replaced it, also repeating one line:
“I love awkwardness, I love awkwardness…”