This weekend, I’ve got plans to hang out with 60 strangers.
Yep. 60 people I have never met in my life. When my husband asked, “Do you actually know any of these ladies?” I giggled hysterically and hiccuped something vaguely coherent like, “Noooo, but that doesn’t matter, right? Right?? RIGHT???”
He raised an eyebrow (okay, both of them – he’s not that talented) and simply said, “Cool.”
It got me thinking about why I decided to take the plunge and register for Around the Table – Bloggers Connecting.
Here’s the thing: I’m shy.
Not awkwardly so, but shy enough that I will stand back in a crowd of people I don’t know and spend a good while working up the courage to sidle up to a group and stand there, waiting for them to notice me. When they do, I’ll respond to their hellos with a quiet one of my own, and then I’ll stand there, smiling and nodding, taking in every facet of the conversation, but possibly not contributing anything of my own. I’m a listener, you see; I take everything in, and you might be surprised at what I’ll remember from a brief conversation.
Then I’ll start to worry that people will think I’m aloof or snobby, and so I try to partake, but my quiet voice is sometimes lost amongst the chatter, and I lose a bit of confidence.
Then someone much braver than me will ask how I fit in to the situation and I’ll waffle at great length about who I know and how, and then in my nervousness, I will forget to ask the same. When too much time has passed for it to seem natural for me to ask, I’ll suddenly realise that they probably think I’m not interested, and I am, so I’ll try again, which might come across as stalking, but really, it’s because I want them to know I do care, and that I am so grateful for them taking an interest in me.
So why, oh why, did I decide to register?
Most importantly, to meet some of the amazing women I have already forged friendships with through the wires. When you start to read a blog, you generally get a good feeling for what that person is like, and whether you’d really get along. I’m hoping that my instincts on this one are right, and the women I am dying to meet feel the same way about me.
I know I can overcome this shyness and enjoy the weekend. I know that the friendships that exist online can transcend to real life. I also know that many other introverts will be there, waiting for their opportunity to sidle up to a group, and that there’s solidarity in numbers. Surely when you put a group of shy women together, they can all sense the mutual feelings, and that makes it easier??
I’m going to try and be brave. I’m going to try and introduce myself when I see a face or name I recognise, and I’m going to try and be the first to ask you about yourself. But if I don’t, please don’t think it’s because I’m not interested…give me time, and you will see that I will, and I am.