I wrote a post before about how I talk too much. I based this personal impression on two things: I felt I was betraying my privacy by feeling compelled at times to reveal more about myself than I would feel comfortable with, and also by feeling I need to fill in any gaps in what I’m saying to prevent being misunderstood.
Between the two I’m often afraid that I’ve come across as tiresome or “weird”, but I also notice that some people are quite chatty and that people just take that as their personality, not that they’re weird. Maybe that’s how people saw me. I actually didn’t know how I came across and, like most scapegoats, I tortured myself with assuming the worst by not properly being able to appraise my own behaviour and only seeing it through a “I don’t fit in” lens.
I have a neighbour that I sometimes go for a walk with, etc. She was one person in particular where I kicked myself for talking too much every time I spent some time with her. I apologized once after an extra talkative time when I was speaking on a subject I was passionate about. She genuinely didn’t think anything about it, saying that I didn’t talk too much at all and that I spoke of things that day that she never thought of or knew before. I thought to myself that if she didn’t think THAT was talking too much then I must be doing okay all the other times.
That was nice for me to hear and helped me to see how I come across to others. I realized that I feel I talk too much because it’s actually ME that’s making that determination and not necessarily other people. It’s me that doesn’t feel comfortable with feeling I need to fill in the gaps of my ideas with details, and it’s me that doesn’t want to feel compelled to reveal too much about myself.
Now, that’s not to say that, since I’m given to fill in details without being prompted by the other person to do so, I’m not going to be considered talkative to some people. That’s going to happen, for sure, because I’m a very easily articulate person. Expressing ideas and recounting events is something that’s like breathing with me. I would like to do it less often, though. Especially when the subject is myself or something close to home. It was just a relief to consider that maybe most people I speak to don’t think anything about it at all.
It’s funny how there are times in my life when I wouldn’t care about this specific trait of mine. I had overthought it to a crippling level as of late. It may be my being alone so much through my illness that made me not know how to see my interactions with others when I began to gently re-emerge into the world.
I rarely have a conversation in which I leave satisfied, though. There are a few times lately that I thought I did well and that are significant and need mention. This is because I’m slowly learning and practicing social behaviours that show me in the best possible light that anxiety tends to prevent me from. I’ve entered the grocery store and other places in town where I’ve gone in with a relaxed open face even though I’m under tremendous stress. This helps me feel that I’m keeping what’s my business to myself. Others may not have interpreted a frowning, deep-in-thought face as that I’m going through stuff, but I want the comfort of controlling that anyway.
Entering a public place like this also did something else I didn’t expect – it actually changed how I viewed myself and my lot in life. I go in and smile like everything is okay, and it makes everything seem okay. It made me realize that maybe having stressors and fears in life are what a lot of people go through, I just have a more difficult time dealing with these things out of a feeling of being victimized by life’s stressors. Learning to smile through it part of my learning to deal with these things.
People react differently because I must have looked relaxed and confident. The usually awkward interactions at the cashier was easygoing, efficient, and friendly on both sides. I’ve left a few times thinking, for the first time in my life, that it was enjoyable and relaxed. I’m so tired of feeling awkward and nervous, and these little things are a breakthrough for me.
So, I don’t talk too much, and when I do, it’s probably more a matter of perspective, either mine or the other person’s. It’s funny how at my age I’m learning such elementary things. But how nice to be learning them.