Hi Monsters missed you how ya been sweet GIFs love what you’ve done with the place!
I’m still here for you (promise), but today’s column will be another quickie one, because I once again find myself lacking the time/energy/presence of mind necessary to devote to literally a single other person’s problems besides my own. And if you don’t believe me, just ask any of the humans I’ve interacted with these past few weeks how many times I’ve snapped at them for even deigning to have a minor problem at/near me. (The answer to this hypothetical question would be “0-2 times,” but in my black heart of hearts, that figure would be higher.)
It’s true. I’ve been… testy, but even more tragically, just… utterly useless to another living soul. Ergo, I really need you guys to pick up
my the slack and give Mr. Sympathy here your full support and attention.
Dear Madam Commentatrix,
I’ve recently decided to get back out into the world: the world of happy hours and meet & greets, to be precise. As someone who works from home, I need to go out and meet people for networking purposes. And as much as I love him, my dog can only provide me with so much companionship. However, I’m kind of nervous about it.
My problem isn’t that I hate mingling. I like meeting new people, and learning about their lives that are so different from mine! My issue is that I have trouble keeping the conversation going. When someone tells me their occupation, I have literally NOTHING to say to them other than “Okay!” It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that I have absolutely no idea what to follow up with, and I’m afraid that I’ll ask something really obvious or personal when attempting to get more information. Is there a general formula when conversing with others on this matter, or is it as simple as “stop giving a shit about all of this and just ask whatever you want”?
Dear Mr. Sympathy,
The second one! Cancel lunch, send the talent home, that’s a wrap, folks!
LOL I kid! But also, I do think you should worry less and just trust your instincts more. Don’t be afraid to take the conversation in a different direction, even. Worst case scenario, people feel mildly uncomfortable for two moments then answer your questions anyway, nine out of ten times.* But honestly, it seems to me like your anxiety is the main issue here, not your conversation skills. It also sounds like you’re more of a listener than you are a talker, which is also perfectly fine in my book. In fact, you might even be a highly sought-after type of conversationalist without even knowing it! Literally SO MANY PEOPLE would love to just talk about themselves to anyone willing to listen, so if that’s your thing, then go for it. You could probably get away with no more than an occasional “Mmm,” and a couple “Ah’s,” and maybe, like, nodding and smiling a lot?
If you just can’t shake the nerves, and depending on how you feel about this, you might also try having a calming drink before embarking on one of these meet & greets. Truth be told, networking-type things are on my personal list of “most loathed activities,” so I feel like I should probably leave the brunt of the advising to the more, uh, professionally intelligent monsters. I know they’re out there!
But truly, Mr. S, you’ll be great!
email@example.com is almost not homeless anymore!