Saturday, 28 April 2012

Bounciness and first impresssions


Ever since I can remember I have had slightly erratic emotions.  I call them bouncy.  They are a bit all over the place.  One moment they are up and the next they are down.  I'm sure this is not a strange thing for many of you to read about.  In fact I'm sure it's actually more common than everyone thinks.

It's funny how we put on a facade.  The private you and the public you can be such very very different people.  I recently found out a girl I know (and would like to become good friends with but haven't quite got there yet (in the three years since I met her...)) is having some issues with depression and has done on and off since high school.  I met her at MR's 21st.  She is the girlfriend of one of his friends and we had a drunkenly awesome time together and really hit it off.  Anyhow, I wasn't sure if she would want to be 'friends-friends' with someone like me or not so I never really pushed it too much.  She is one of the bubbliest and friendliest, outgoing-est types of people I have ever met.  Like full on.  Which is great for me really, I like those sort of people because when I hang with people like me sometimes the conversation gets a bit stuck and I feel all anxious.  Apparently however, this is all her facade.  I was amazed.  She is awesome, really, I am in awe of her.  But MR was chatting with her boyfriend and it turns out she is actually a lot like me, just with a much more amped up facade than mine.

First impressions are essentially defunct, especially if you are meeting people who are any good at putting on a show.  That person you think is super bubbly may be really quiet without that glass of dutch courage in their hand.  And that person who you think is a bit of a snob may just be really shy and not have great small talk skills. And yet we all still judge people on our first meetings and often don't give them a second chance.

An old uni friend told me at her wedding a few years ago that she had seated a cousin of hers next to me because she knew I'd be good at chatting to her and making her feel comfortable.  I felt like snorting.  I'm sure I raised an eyebrow and looked at her in 'wtf' expression.  Me? Good at chatting? Hell no.  But then I realised she knew me enough to see past my social anxiety and see that when I see people like me feeling all awkward and shy I do try to get past my own issues and attempt put them at ease by trying to chat to them and include them in conversation.  Because I know how it feels.
So I'm trying to make an unlike me effort and put myself out there and invite her out to do something, completely out of the blue.  I'm a bit nervous.  Isn't it ridiculous how hard it is to make friends as an adult?  Or is that just me?  One of my main goals in moving back to Perth at the end of 2010 was to make more friends because at the time I had a grand total of two proper friends, and one of them was MR.  I have a few more now because I have been putting myself out there, doing things like starting up a Brown Owls group with Sarah, where I have met a few very lovely ladies, and starting a new job last year, although it's been hard being off work for 7 months to keep up with everything with those girls, and I've met someone who is probably the closest person I'm ever going to find who has been through something similar to me.  I had a liver transplant because of leukaemia and she has lymphoma because of a liver transplant (the immunosuppressant drugs).  In fact she has had two liver transplants and is going through her second lot of lymphoma.  And she's two years younger than me.  You think I've had it hard! It is nice to have someone close in age who understands what it's like though.  

I've come a long way in the last year and a half.  I used to break down in tears at the thought of going out and having to socialise where I used to live.  There were no 'me type people', or if there were, they were in the 'mummy group' which was out of bounds for non mummies. It's amazing what a bit of sheer determination to turn something around can do.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.  And I apologise for the sheer volume of dribble, it is 3.30am and I've been up since 4.40am because I took MR to the airport.  Procrastination, plain and simple.  I hate going to bed the first night home alone.

ps. Did you totally love those bouncers (in the image) as a child? God, they were awesome! I keep trying to use the kindy kids ones at school but I am just a tad too big for them.  I need an adult sized one.  Maybe we could put handles on pilates blow up fit balls? New trend? Anyone with me??


E. said...

Ooh I love those bouncy things. Girl child has one but I'm afraid I'd break it. Fit balls with handles for adults would be great.

On the facade thing - I'm one of those people who is considered standoffish, snobbish or up my self. Personally I prefer the term aloof but friends have told me that that was up they thought of me before they knew me.

I'm pretty sure that most people have a facade. But I think people with depression etc get better at presenting themselves to others as okay.

Wendy Sice said...

Damn, I wish I lived closer to you, because I'm sure we'd get on in 'real life'. But I just don't go anywhere much. I'm such a homebody (read hermit). It doesn't actually stress me to go out to socialise, but I'm so low energy (usually because of my nightowl behaviour) that I'm more likely to sit around at home all day reading and blogging and doing only the housework that HAS to be done lol!

One thing I like about communicating through blogs is that it is a friendly place. People are generally encouraging, and stop themselves from saying the critical stuff they might say in person. I've recently fallen out with my 'best friend' because I was sick of her criticisms, and she was sick of my lack of attention. If only she blogged, she would have heard from me daily!

Anyways, I will always be here for you in the virtual world. It's not ideal, but I'm sure we will find a way of catching up sometime.:)

Michelle said...

I've always agreed with the saying about really loud and confident girls that they are usually the ones who are insecure and unsure when you get them alone. They put up a shield to protect themselves but deep down a lot of them are unhappy. You seem to be the kind of girl who people are comfortable around, but you can also have a laugh and put people at ease. Isnt it funny we spend so long wishing we were the loud confident girls when at the end of the day they are probably wishing they were the nice fun girls like you!

carolyn said...

Hey megan, the public you and the private you are all you, the real you. They are just different parts of who you are that come to the fore as required. We are all pretty complex creatures, that's what makes us human. It is your quiet conversation in public that makes people feel comfortable. It's when we are alone or in our home environment that we let our insecurities out to play and explore. Carolyn x

Maggie said...

I think you are totally right about shy people coming off as stand offish. Our own insecurities make it easy to jump to the conclusion people don't want to talk to us because they don't like us instead of seeing the shyness behind it.
In high school I was shy and I was labelled a snob, which is laughable since we were pretty poor-ass. Over it now thank goodness. Two things helped, getting older and realizing Mum was right when she said other people are more worried about how they look/sound to worry about you, and an awesome book by Leil Lowndes, "HowTo Talk To Anyone" or something like that.
And the Mother's group thing, I'm glad we had baby Charlie when we moved here, it did make things so much easier.

2paw said...

I think The Goodies Bounced For Britain on those!! You never really know what people are like on the inside, we all have public and private faces and sometimes that is what it takes to be OK. I am so glad you have a new friend to share with!!

Baa-Me Kniits said...

I love those bouncers and yes pity they don't come in adult size. Good post! I find that as I become older I am more discerning with who I am friends with. I have a lot of acquaintances and I chat to a lot of people online but I only realised the other morning that I don't really have many close friends with who I could discuss anything or more to the point any close friends who will listen to me. I seem to be the listener at this stage in my life. I can talk to hubby but sometimes the male reaction of trying to fix everything is not what I need. I think things go in cycles so I am sure it will come back round to me having a close friend again. I have some friends that I have had for years but they have no children which alters their perception of my life and I am sure they don't want to be bored with me talking about my kids. Gosh didn't mean to ramble just wanted to say good for you for challenging your boundaries :-)

Sally said...

First impressions, outward persona and our inner reflections and insecurities are all so complicated.
I would suggest that people would mostly categorise me as an extrovert which is funny because I'm a classic introvert. People who are close to me know this but I can understand how people get perhaps a misconception. I'm not shy. I have social anxiety sure but I can deal with it. I think sometime people confuse people who are not shy with being extroverts. Nope. Not the case.
Anyway - I'm so glad that you and Sarah organised the Brown Owl meetings because it has been absolutely terrific for me. It is so brilliant to meet up with other people who are into creating and avoiding mummy groups. Mummy groups are awful me thinks. Too much comparison and bullshit.
I'm super glad that you've formed a friendship with someone going through similar shit to you... it must make a difference to have someone with a bit of an idea about all the crap in your life.

You're a great person Megan, I'm so pleased to have met you in real life.