In a recent thread, I mentioned that it is incredibly hard for me to approach people at conferences, professional events, university-wide celebrations, etc. Contacting people by email for professional reasons is something that I also can’t really face. (I’m talking of initiating contact, not writing to somebody I already know.) At parties, I dread the need to approach new people. The LinkedIn format of professional networking is just as terrifying. Writing to somebody and then expecting a reply, fearing that they won’t notice you – no, I’d just rather do without networking altogether.
The reason for this fear is that such situations immediately take me back to childhood experiences of approaching a group of kinds, trying to start a conversation, and not being noticed. That’s my greatest fear, communication-wise, that I will speak and people will not hear me and I will feel invisible.
One area of life where I feel the exact opposite is meeting men. When I mentioned that, reader Hazel Catkins made the following comment that I want to address in this post:
I’m fascinated by that, Clarissa. Why was approaching guys so much easier for you? What would you say? Would you just be your regular self, or would you adopt a more confident, outgoing persona? If this needs to be expanded into its own post, so be it.
I’m very happily married now and do not plan to meet any men for romantic purposes ever again. However, when I was on the dating scene, not only did I really enjoy approaching attractive men, I actually preferred to initiate contact. Men who made the first move immediately lost points in my eyes because I don’t like aggressive men. I prefer to make my own choice and then communicate it to people.
So what does it mean that I find it so incredibly easy to approach a person and exhibit a romantic / sexual interest but dread being the first one to express any other form of interest?
If we take friendship, for example, I need to be “courted” for a while by a potential friend. A person who is trying to become a friend needs to prove their intentions to me (seriously, that’s how it feels and how my closest friends describe the experience of developing a friendship with me). This potential friend needs to suggest and organize several occasions for us to socialize. I will also decline his or her offers a few times which, yet again, is a way of gauging if their friendly intentions towards me are serious. I know that this sounds very bizarre, but this is my blog, and I want to be honest here.
I guess the answer is that I feel complete security in my sexuality and I don’t feel this kind of security in other aspects of myself.
Thank you, Hazel Catkins, for getting me to formulate these important insights about myself.