Thursday, July 3, 2008

It's, Like, So Junior High

I’ve blocked out most of my junior high years (and at least a couple of my senior high years, as well). What I do remember is feeling very self-conscious and convinced that if anyone happened to laugh while I was present it was because they were laughing at ME.

Now this strikes me as insanely self-centered.

Every once in awhile something triggers those memories again, and if I’m lucky, I’m on the winning side – that is, the side of reality, that not everyone is laughing AT me, or doesn’t like me because they didn’t sit by me.

Just recently, such an incident occurred that reinforced my belief that as grown women and mothers, we still fall prey to huge insecurities.

I was talking to my good friend – let’s call her A – the other day, and mentioned that I was getting together with friend B. A said that she didn’t think that B liked her.

I mentioned this crazy assumption to a mutual good friend of mine and A’s, friend C. And then C said she didn’t think that B liked HER either! C also said that she thinks that B may be a bit snooty, although she admitted that people have told her they thought the same thing of herself.

B is a sit-back-and-watch kind of person.

Unfortunately, friends A & C are ALSO sit-back-and-watch people. And in addition to appearing snooty, these folks can also be intimidating for others to approach – they just look so comfortable by themselves – “I don’t want to bother them…”

Fortunately, I am a go-up-and-talk kind of person. I can sit back for about 5 minutes, enough to figure out the social politics a bit, and then I start to get stir crazy and have to jump into conversation. And believe it or not, I can talk to just about anyone, thanks to the variety of experiences of my siblings and in-laws. I like to introduce and be introduced (first & last names, please – it’s a teacher thing!). I think I’m still compensating for feeling so socially outcast in high school, but at least this is functional.

So here’s the challenge. I’m not saying you have to be best friends with everyone. Having an intimate friendship takes time and effort, and there simply isn’t enough hours in the day to maintain more than a few of them.

But please. If there is someone that you feel doesn’t like you, and you truly have nothing to base that feeling on except for that they don’t talk to you, MAKE THE FIRST MOVE. Go talk to them. My bet is that unless they are a genuine snooty-poot or clinically shy, they’ll brighten right up and be happy to talk to you. Give it a shot – let’s finally leave junior high behind us.


Aaron said...

Woo Liz! Snooty-poot has been added to my lexicon.

mama.nichols4 said...

Well said Liz! ;)

Suzi said...

I'm pretty sure I've thought the same about others, while not making an effort to be friendly myself.

I've come a long way though since high school and am better at making an effort to talk to someone, although sometimes laziness takes over. For example, this last week I went down about 4 houses and invited a mom and kids to play in our yard. We say hi and stuff when passing on the street, but she has an almost 4 year old boy and 19 month girl (along with a 5 year old too) who's ages match mine, and it's taken me this long to invite them over. And there really isn't a good reason why I've waited so long.

I've also thought about what you wrote about and wondered about high school classmates too. Did they think I was snooty because I wasn't outgoing or just quiet or what? Sometimes you find out your assumptions are right, but soemtimes they are wrong.

Anyways, good post.