I think I must be the introvertiest introvert ever.

Walking into work is always such a hassle for me, because so many people great me. It's usually only mildly alarming, I manage to respond to the cheery, "Good mornings!” and happy, "Hello!"s with a nod smile that hopefully doesn't look as creepy or spiteful as it feels. But every now and then something unexpected happens.

Today for instance, someone stopped me in the hall to say, "Good Morning!" and then announced that there were donuts in the break room.

Alarm bells start going off in my brain.

They've said something that requires a response, they're awaiting one, and I'm standing there silently just smiling and nodding at them.

I try to rack my brain for an appropriate response; Time is running out, I have to say something soon before I cross the line from 'quiet person' to 'dim-witted'. Words, brain. Say words!

"Oh."

Is 'oh' technically a word? I'm not sure but it didn't work either, they're still standing in front of me, staring at me.

Now their eyebrows are slightly raised as if they're expecting something else to follow.

"...Okay."

Nope. They're still here. More words.

"....Yummy?"

Success! Well, a moderate one; They smile awkwardly and step aside to let me pass. My desk isn't far now, if I could just make it there I'm sure I'd be able to avoid interaction for several hours, but alas, disaster strikes again when a coworker emerges from a cubicle.

"Hi, I missed you yesterday!" They inform me with a smile.

What the heck? What do I say to that? 'I missed you too' would surely be a weird and inappropriate response here, not to mention untrue. Who on earth misses being at work?

And of course I'm sure all they really mean is that they noticed I was not at work yesterday, in which case am I supposed to make a statement about my absence yesterday? Perhaps, but 'I was gone yesterday.' and 'I am back now'. Are the only two statements I can think of, and both extremely obvious and I'm 100% sure NOT what my coworker is looking for.

In the end I settle for what I'm sure is a slightly confused sounding, "Yeah?" to which they immediately and enthusiastically respond, "Yes!"

Weird. Am I the only one this conversation seems weird too? What kind of coworker uses such personal pronouns anyway? Shouldn't they have said "We" missed you yesterday?

Anyway, I'm too exhausted from the earlier donut snafu, and I no longer have the energy to summon for socializing, so I revert to my standard smile, nod, and then turn and walk away in hopefully NOT the rudest manner ever.

If only there was a way to explain to people that I’m not uncaring or hateful or even shy, I just don’t know what you want from me.

Socializing in the manner is just not in my nature. I don’t mind having conversations about relevant things to our work day or even things relevant to our lives but these pandering little half-conversations only confuse me.

I do not small talk, because I don’t know what you want from me. If I were able to respond as myself without having to worry that I’d look like a big weirdo, I feel like my life would be so much easier.

For instance instead of "hmming" and "hawing" over being told there were donuts in the break room I could instead say, “My personal philosophy is that work is for working and not for eating, but I recognize that it was thoughtful of you to share this information with me.”

And instead of mumbling a halfhearted respond when a coworker says they missed me I could say, “You personally, or are you just referring to the fact that you noticed my absence? Because it it's just you that's a bit weird.”

But of course both of those responses are considered rude, and not how people should, well, people.

Alas, another day of fake-peopling ahead of me for Monday, but for now I am thankful the weekend is here.
WynterBear WynterBear
22-25
Aug 15, 2014