Why does it have to be so hard to meet new people? I have always been really shy when I first meet people, I’m usually quiet until I feel comfortable, then you’ll be wishing I hadn’t opened up. I recently discovered someone I always looked up to for her people skills is so similar inside, and I had no idea. I always thought she was a social chameleon, but she tells me she has all the reservations I have, and that she just appears to be confident…
I used to have confidence and I thought I was socially capable, but one day I was singing in the backseat of the car when I was about 8 years old (maybe younger) with my cousin, and my aunty tells me to stop singing because I can’t sing. Ok, no big deal I can’t sing, but I wasn’t singing because I thought I was good at it, we were just having fun and being silly and not even trying. And, we’ll put aside the fact she really isn’t a nice person. All that in mind she might have taught me something in that selfish and nasty moment, it made me stop in my tracks though, and when I thought about it later. What else do I do that people perceive negatively?
We all have different personalities, we all act and speak differently. I always thought I was a kind and gentle person, except when I get excited I get loud sometimes. But I have noticed over the years that people can take things I say the wrong way, or my tone the wrong way. I don’t hear it the way they do and I can’t understand how they would be offended, but I’m sure it happens the other way too.
I guess what I’m wondering is “how do we maintain our confidence, without offending someone?” And, “what do we do with those moments where someone says something like that, that I guess could be potentially damaging to us?” I don’t have kids, but if I did I would hate for someone to say something like that to them incase it had an ongoing effect.
For me that moment was quite damaging. I was previously relatively confident in myself, in that I had that innocence, I didn’t think about what other people thought of me. But, after that moment I did start to wonder what people though, I was more guarded and above all I have never had the confidence to sing in front of another person. Ok, no big deal again, how many of us have the same reservations, but I was just thinking about how big a change it made in me. It changed my confidence, my personality, everything about me except how I look I guess.
As we grow up we learn to realise that stuff doesn’t matter, people will like us for who we are or they aren’t worth wasting our time on. I think the biggest difference I’ve noticed in myself is since I got a position as a nurse. I don’t have those “first meeting reservations” with my patients, and I guess this comes from a selfish origin. I am there to do a job, they are relying on me and most of them look up to me at least for my knowledge and skills. Previously though I couldn’t even approach someone I didn’t know, and I didn’t even have the confidence to talk on the phone to people I didn’t know. Now I meet new people every day, I love talking to them and connecting with them. I answer the phones at the desk, I call nurses at other hospitals I’ve never met now with confidence, and I talk to staff members who if I’d met under any other circumstances I would never have the confidence.
I think what we have to learn about people is simple, we all look different and express ourselves in different ways, some look confident, some look threatening and anything but welcoming. But, on the inside we are all the same, we all have the same needs. Those colleagues at work I used to avoid when I first started are lovely and have a heart of gold, after all they are nurses, we are all in it for the same reasons and for the same outcomes. At the end of the day we are all human, we all have feelings, we all have curve balls, we all have insecurities and we know how to support each other. What we need to realise is that we can reach out, and when you say “how are you?” Mean it, and own it!
PS: no pictures but I think I’ve painted a familiar one.