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She Said/she Said.... A 1-way Conversation??

So, here's my situation.

I avoid social situations I don't plan/organize myself for a specific purpose.   This is because I have REAL difficulty with small-talk, and absolutely dread being boring.

Enter "Patsy."

I met Patsy sometime in my early to mid-30's.  We had kids about the same age and were very active PTA volunteers.  Early in our acquaintance, she tried to recruit me for the Red Hat Society.  You have to be 50 to join.  I pretended to be flattered that she wanted me to join her group, but I was secretly horrified . Years passed w/Patsy as a neighborhood peripheral & eventually a FB friend.   Last week, she decides we have to meet so she can interview me for an article she's writing.  Coincidentally, she wants to sell me a 5ft mobile of the Starship Enterprise.  It is disassembled.  With no instructions.  And no hanging apparatus.  She's aware of my Star Trek collection, and figures hitting me up for $25 bucks for this "gift" will make me jump for joy.

I agree to meet Patsy for lunch near my office.  She asks the coffee shop attendant for separate checks.  We get our salads & drinks & sit.  And I wait for my interview to begin.  And I wait.  And I wait.....

Patsy regales me with the exploits of her sons, the failures of her husband, the dysfunction of her siblings.  She circles back round to her fury at conservatives, her intellectual superiority over Christians (despite my quickly self-identifying as a non-church attending, but believing member of this group), her political leanings, her FB "defriending" of too vocal people whose political ideologies irritate her, her financial issues, her lack of social circle in the neighborhood & her creation of a social circle through online groups & blogging... She ended by asking if I might like to travel to Paris with her.  (Huh??!!!!)

As Patsy bulldozed on in the small cafe in full diaphragm projection, a number of things flowed through my mind:  Why am I here?  Am I supposed to interrupt and offer "confessions" of my own?  But I haven't seen this woman in 10-15 years!  I've never known her "like that."  What time is it?  Is she going to ask me anything about MY life?  Is she going to ask me anything about the topic of her article??  Does she realize she's insulting me, AGAIN?  Should I say something?  If so, what?  Why am I being so civil to her?  Wait -- did she really drive ALL the way out here just to get $25 for a stupid STAR TREK mobile?!

1.5 hours later, I'm .... angry and confused.  I feel like my sitting across the table from her, egging her on with understanding nods & murmurs while inwardly seething about her arrogance, self-centeredness and waste of my time, might, in fact, have been more arrogant than what she did.  I'm worried that perhaps I did something wrong, feeling  socially awkward as I always do; perhaps I should have tried to interject something about myself.  I actually did try a couple of times (for example exclaiming when she spoke of her sister -- "That's my brother to a "T"!), but she never followed up on any of my feeble attempts to participate.

So... the advice I'm seeking?  What would a normal person have done in this situation?  What should *I* have done?
Colormevibrant Colormevibrant 46-50, F 4 Responses Jul 24, 2012

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Well, I think I'm kind of normal.....so.....I would have met her, I would have listened, I would have tried as you did to make the conversation two sided, I would have left and avoided her like the plague from that moment onward. As I've got older, this is something that bugs me! Sounds like she is lonely, but it doesnt excuse her social inadequacy. Some people will take and never give.

Hmmmm... now I wonder where on the "normal" scale one would locate "kind of", ay Katerina? ;-) Be that as it may, Y'all EP folks often appear more "normal" than ANY of the numerous lunatics of my acquaintance. *wipes brow* Phew! Great to have a little confirmation I've not gone TOTALLY bonkers. Gotta luv this place....

This is truly bizarre behavior. Personally I would have taken the coward's way out and faked an incoming phone call from a child and skedaddled. It sounds as if she may be touching base with you for some future proposition and the Star Trek mobile was an attempt to break the ice. She probably feels closer to you now that she spilled on what's been going on in her life. What is going on in your life is apparently insignificant but she now has 'touched base' with you which appears to be the main reason for the lunch in the first place. Am I safe in assuming that you are not going to Paris?

Paris? Heck no!! But I DID just sign on to a cruise to Dubai this winter -- with a travel group of total strangers!! :-) I am LIKING this midlife thing & all it's adventure!! *dances & hollers* Whoop! Whooop!!!

Oh Color,

People like that can suck the life out of you! I'd say make this the last time you meet and find some friends who talk about subjects and not themselves. She is missing out on so much of what life has to offer, I almost feel sorry for her.

Thanks Kelki! :-)

Ironically, one of the online groups she claims to have founded, is (as she described it) dedicated to atheism and higher intellectual discussion. VERY selective, secret & invitation-only. Even as I was "ooohing" with what I hoped was the appropriate amount of respect & admiration, I was thinking: "you have GOT 2b frigging KIDDING me! Why would someone who truly thought themselves that superior be making such an attempt to either impress or exclude ME?" *shaking my head* Weird. Just weird. Anyway, In doing some soul-searching re: my interactions w/this woman, I've concluded that I put up w/her for a couple of reasons: 1. I saw her as an older, successful professional in my field when I was younger, and didn't want to burn any bridges. 2. I was new to the neighborhood & hoping to make connections. As neither of these are evidently any longer the case, I so believe I shall take the advice given here and move on!

You are extremely articulate. I would love to get to know you. I'm sorry that you feel socially inept, but perhaps you're just verbally challenged a bit. As in: You have the sense to keep your inner voice quiet, but sometimes people need to hear things like: "Wow, you are a chatterbox! Did you really want to interview me, or do you need to get this out of your system?" Small talk, for those that see the big picture, is truly a waste of time, so learning it is perhaps pointless.



Of course people who have diarrhea of the mouth are difficult, if not impossible to connect with. When someone asks you to join them, and then proceed to monologue, they really just needed a seat warmer. Politely decline any future "Interviews" and save your brilliance for people who can ask a question or two, and listen.



I thought this story was hilarious in a lot of ways. Having been in that spot a time or two, I realize that I need to beg off early once I hear my inner voice making snarky comments. I realize that I will never get that time back and this person is about as interested in me as the carpet. Luckily, they are self-absorbed enough not to even notice if I just walk away.



"Well, gotta go! " always works in a pinch. Funny that the older I get, the more I recognize these people, and walk away before we speak.



I am, however, not normal, so please formulate your responses to work for you.

After reading your post, I (of course) took a gander @ your profile. As there wasn't much there, I went on to read your comments on other "stories" in this "Experience."

Blown.
Away.

You're working with some real wisdom there, m'friend. Not sure whether the paucity of info on your profile is due to relative newcomer status? If so, WELCOME. EP needs you! :-) Thanks for taking the time to comment.

You used the word paucity. Awesome. I suffer from a rash created by the lol, brb, lmao, crowd. When did language turn back into grunts and winks? I am a newcomer, but I'll get more information up as soon as I get the time. I appreciate you reading my comments. ((blush)) I sometimes feel like an ant yelling at the maelstrom when it comes to helping people out. It's refreshing to be able to send out some of my own good experiences so that other people don't have to jam their heads against it alone. Knowing that feeling makes me love complete strangers willing to reach out to anyone that cares. I guess that sums this particular site up pretty well. I look forward to posting, as well as reading. Always reading.