Friday, November 5, 2010

Stands Knee-High to Little

The first time I met Anna* I wouldn't have been surprised to look behind me and find I was being trailed by a blue ox. Although my husband is nearly a foot taller than I am, I'm not actually short, I'm of average height. Still, I'm not used to feeling enormous next to anyone. Anna's height definitely has her shopping in the petite section, but more than that, she has a tiny frame. This doesn't change the fact that she could likely kick my butt, and yours too. Probably at the same time without breaking a sweat.

"Hello, I'm Anna, you know my dog," She began. An auspicious start, I thought. I knew I was bound to like anyone who had already figured out that she was easily identified by dog association. She was right, I do know Mo, a.k.a. The Running Dog. I first met him following a snowstorm, as I shoveled the driveway. Nose streaming (me, not the dog), tail waving frantically (the dog, not me), I heard the familiar cry of "Noooooooooo!" as Anna's teenage daughter arrived seconds after Mo did. Mo is a gregarious creature. A fast, gregarious creature. He would eventually grow to be a gigantic size, but that first day I could have easily shoveled him aside. Instead I wiped my nose and played with the puppy. I have priorities, after all.

The day I noticed that Anna could be packed into a teacup for transport, she invited me to a barbecue she was hosting as a neighborhood get-together. Those sort of things are common around here, generally hosted by real estate agents, or people trying to sell candles, jewelry or political candidates. Networking in the suburbs, you get used to it.

"What's the occasion?" It's not that I'm against sharing a cup of coffee with folks just trying to build a client base, but I do like to know if I'm walking into one of those situations. Mainly, I confess, so that I know how much time to schedule before I can make a polite retreat. Coffee with the real estate agent across the street will take a quick twenty minutes. A political get-together means that I'm chronically ill with some Victorianesque malady for which there is no cure. I'm not above claiming the vapors, allergies, a decline of an overall nature.

Truthfully I just state that I'm unaffiliated but a liberal and take a pass. However, I always have a wicked urge to claim that I'm unable to attend due to a lack of smelling salts.

"Just trying to get to know everyone," Anna said with a smile.

I was a bit afraid that I was signing up for a literal Come-To-Jesus meeting, but I readily agreed. Then I had to convince Rob not to develop fictional rickets, scurvy, or consumption and get him to go. He agreed warily. He likes Mo too, after all.

No one was trying to save my immortal soul. Or get me to vote for anyone, sell me jewelry I'll never wear or candles with names like Harvest Fiesta, Spa Melody or Christmas Cookie. It turned out to be a get-together of people from around the town, and they all knew Anna from somewhere different. I was the only person from the neighborhood. Introduction after introduction marched by.

"I'm Steve, my wife and I play tennis with Anna," the people I played a game of pool with informed me.

"I'm Heather, Anna and I take Pilates together," said another.

And then something happened that made me understand what was going on, why I was encountering people from exercise classes, church, clubs and hobby groups:

"I'm Sandy, I know Anna from our divorced women group," A kind-eyed woman told me, "How do you know her?"

To each and all I answered truthfully, "She rang my doorbell and I already knew her dog."

She wasn't trying to sell anyone anything. Anna was just rebuilding as she'd done for years when her ex-husband's job took them around the country and the world. Nigerian art decorated one wall in her home, her teenage daughters talked about the schools they'd attended in Africa, and elsewhere. Then not long after she landed here Anna found out that her husband was behaving like a middle-aged cliche and all the nubile blonds that entails. At the age of 47 she showed him the door, found a job, and completely new to Colorado, set about building a new life for herself.

I'm not sure what really constitutes bravery. There's the kind of courage that it is easy to recognize, and appreciate. People who tackle terrorists aboard planes spring easily to mind. Soldiers who draw enemy fire trying to give their compatriots a chance at survival during heavy engagements. We know that kind of courage but there are all kinds.

Rob and I manned the grill at that first barbecue and talked to some of the most diverse people assembled all because they met a tiny woman who runs, bikes, plays tennis and invites people she meets to her home regularly. It turned into a rather regular occurrence.

Later today I'll be putting together some appetizers, and venturing across the street again to the home of a woman who told me something that stunned me:

"I'm shy," Anna admitted, and I nearly fell sideways into my bookcase as we stood in my home office. I'm being literal, thanks to reconstruction on an old injury, my balance isn't the greatest but it isn't just a bunch of pins and plates that had me tottering. I was genuinely astonished.

All of my life I've been an introvert that can do a stunning impression of an extrovert. It never occurred to me that fittest, tiniest, most outgoing specimen in the neighborhood was doing the same thing.

After that admission yesterday, I remembered something. That first time that I opened the door to Anna I'd noticed a small detail. As you approach my front door from the inside, there is a side window that allows whoever is on the other side to be visible from both sides. I'd spotted Anna, and remembered her from one of the times she'd come to fetch Mo. I smiled as I approached, and raised a hand in greeting. The straight-faced woman on the other side broke into a smile too, which is not unusual.

But I remember fleetingly thinking that she looked relieved. At the time I'd put it down to being preoccupied. Yesterday I learned that, in truth, she was doing something that was difficult for her, but doing it nonetheless.

When I told Rob that Anna was having a get-together, he sounded a little regretful that he wouldn't be able to attend.

"It's good of you to go," he said. "I know parties aren't your favorite thing."

It's true, I prefer to get together with friends one-on-one but I liked Anna from the first, with her dog as a calling-card, ready-to-return-a-smile personality.

"Do you feel sorry for her?" Rob asked, knowing that, generally speaking I only attend parties because I feel like I should.

I thought back for a moment, to all the people who had introduced themselves to me. How the woman that knew Anna through Pilates had suffered a rather dreadful injury in a fall. She was a little plump, but told me of how much weight she had lost and felt confident she could lose more.

"Anna was there encouraging me every step of the way," she said proudly. I found it easy to believe. This from a woman who is every bit as fit as an Olympic athlete. Truly, Colorado wins the leanest state slot every time those things are estimated. We have an unusually active population and Anna is still considered unusually active here.

"No," I answered Rob, "I don't feel sorry for her. I like her. I'm not sure I have all that much in common with her, but I like her."

It's her ex-husband who has my pity. Upon realizing that he had made a dreadful mistake, he had promised the Earth and Sky if only he could be forgiven. Offers Anna turned down even though she was in a state where she knew no one, she preferred to go it alone.

Every now and then in life, you meet someone who is remarkable in the quietest of ways. Who has the kind of courage it is easy to admire if only we take a couple of moments to recognize it.

Anna is, at most, a size zero. She stands maybe 5'1" after a deep inhale, yet she's awfully easy to look up to.

So I feel a bit sorry for her husband that he realized that too late.

* Not her actual name, but all else is true


Hilary said...

What a beautiful and inspiring story. We should all have the courage of "Anna." Thankfully, there's your wonderful writing which made me feel like I was right alongside you, getting to know her. Thanks for the introduction.

The Bug said...

I'm so inside my head all the time that I don't think it would occur to me to try to actively make friends. If something happened to Dr. M I'd probably just marry my computer :) So I'm very impressed with Anna!

Vera said...

Oh crumbs, but this one hit home. Because I, too, look like an extrovert, but am an introvert on the inside. And we are building a new life here in France, and I know I need to network (Hubs does not have time), but I find it sooooo difficult to go on knock on people's doors. Your words really did hit home, and I will go join that choir, play music with the French lady, go connect with the Dutchman pianist. I will. And I will dig deep and find the french words to go speak to our neighbour about her knitting machine. I will try, because I know that there are others out there who are also making the effort to build new lives. Thankyou. X

ellen abbott said...

When I was doing the guide thing I would tell people that I am really anti-social. 'You?' they would say disbelievingly. Yes, me. No one would believe it. But it is actually true. I'm a hermit by nature, I have a very hard time talking to strangers and small talk at parties? fergit it. But on the river it was easy, I had a job to do and I loved what I was doing.

Your friend is very admirable.

TechnoBabe said...

You did a wonderful job introducing your readers to Anna. She is a brave woman and how wise of you to see the lovely woman within.

Cricket said...

A great story. I wasn't sure where you were going at first. As always, told with your very own shimpy humor and compassion. I'm always delighted to see an update on my sidebar.

All of my life I've been an introvert that can do a stunning impression of an extrovert.

Yep. Me too. It's funny, my darling dear likes to pigeonhole us: she's the people person and I'm the misanthrope. Even so, when we had new neighbors move in, she kept saying how she wanted to meet them, wondered what their names were &c. I asked her why she didn't just go over there?

Finally, I got sick of hearing it. Neighbor-husband was out doing yard-work, so I told her to watch from the window and see how this gets done. Went over, introduced myself, handshake, welcome, blahblahblah. Nice to meet you.

I think, in a way, when that sort of thing goes against your natural inclination, you have to learn how to turn it on when necessary. That or pay the price.

Maybe we solitary types can do that "on demand" even better than the extroverts? I don't know, but from the comments so far, I see we're not alone.

DUTA said...

There are a lot of Annas out there - good women, a bit insecure ,trying to socialize and maybe find a new soulmate.

It's your writing style that makes Anna somehow special. You have a way with words that can achieve almost everything.

Tabor said...

It appears to me that both you and she are very lucky to be living across the street from each other!!

Bimbimbie said...

Anna's story is so timely for me.

Mid week my hubby told me we had been invited to a neighbours this Sunday. As is my way I immediately went into a tail spin fueled by anxiety. I hate gatherings and much prefer a quiet coffee with one other. I feel like I'm playing a role of someone else which usually leaves me exhausted with a migraine developing.

Hmmmm smelling salts would it be rude if I took mine along with me together with a lavender soaked hankie?

Jinksy said...

I totlly understand the introverted extrovert - I'm one too! Bit it's always good to know a little person outside, can be a big one inside! :)

david mcmahon said...

Bravery comes in many forms - and sizes. She really has embraced life.

Thank you for your visit and your generous comment.

Amy said...

Hi Alane, Your true story came across as truer than true - you have a way with words! Just your physical description of Anna (which coincidentally is my youngest daughter's name), was spot on.

After reading the comments I think there is a common thread of writers like you and these excellent "commenters." Writing posts, comments, and reading other's posts, comments etc does not involve a physical meeting. We are in each other's heads in a way. I've always been quiet; I definitely think before I speak lest I say something "wrong." And I'm superbly better at one on one conversations than at social get-togethers.

I know I'm behind again and will try to catch up reading some of your recent posts. We had a heavenly visit with "the Elliot" last weekend. Now he is a social, people type person already - go figure!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful and tender portrait of an amazing woman.

Shrinky said...

What a tenderly written post, Alane, and a lovely glimpse into life around your neighbourhood. Have you considered as to why Anna chose to ring your doorbell, and not the others on your street? Perhaps she sees something equally as remarkable in you, too? Yes, she does sound a remarkable person, and it kind of confirms that old adage that like tends to be attracted to like. (Smile)

Jo said...

Alane, I LOVE this post...! I wish I could send the link to my daughter. She is going through the same thing right now and is rebuilding her life. (The only difference is, she is 5' 10", not 5' 1")

I am going to suggest to my daughter that she do this very thing -- open her house to all the people who knows, and rebuild her network of friends.

Anna really is a courage woman. If you see her again, please tell her Jo says "hello and best of luck!"

Kerry said...

Oh wow. I would have gone to this bbq, just like you, because of the dog-connection. I am a true introvert who cannot simulate extrovertism, so I really wish my dogs would go out and make me some friends. Too bad you all live so far away.

Moannie said...

Wonderful story, brilliantly told. You made her, and you, come to life.

Pauline said...

oh this was a wonderful write! I find myself quite liking Anna, too. And thanks for the example of courage that doesn't always show on the outside. We all need a boost now and then.

Land of shimp said...

Hey Hilary, thank you very much :-) She's one of those people you can easily describe with the word "dynamic". Remember a long while back I was describing terriers -- it was about a picture of Benny -- and I said something like it had captured the essence of a terrier, even when still they seem to vibrate with energy. "Anna" is a bit like that, but not in some hyper, unpleasant way.

Like I said, I'm not sure we actually have all the much in common, because I like to sit and stare at things, while quietly thinking, fairly often. As a hobby :-) But I do like her. Glad you did too.

You know, Bug, I'm a little bit the same way. I like people, I genuinely find people fascinating, and fun ...but I don't actually need to be around them very often, whereas I need to be alone. Do you know what I mean?

I'll start getting antsy for being alone long before I'd start thinking "Boy, I could use some company!"

You Vera, I really hope you do because you're a person worth knowing. I know it is difficult, and even more so to do the part we all dread -- risking rejection. The thing is, even if there are a few stumbling blocks, or awkward moments, that's how friendships start. Also, it usually helps me to imagine how I'd react to something.

Unless the kitchen was in the midst of burning down (in which case I wouldn't answer the darned door), I don't find it in anyway annoying when people ring my doorbell, and introduce themselves. It's not unpleasant, or an intrusion. On the rare occasions it is, as I said, I just don't answer the door.

But the reason I'm bringing that up is that the person answering the door is probably going to be a lot like you when you answer the door.

Besides, I really do think most women, in particular, would describe themselves as I did: An introvert with the ability to impersonate an extrovert.

Heh, maybe learn how to say that in French and see how many people say, "Oh me too!" (In French ;-) )

Ellen, I know exactly what you mean. When you have a strong context, a thing to do? It's actually quite easy, it's the preliminary stuff that is difficult. Plus, that moment of terror when you realize you can't remember the person's name in the middle of a conversation.

That, "Oh hell, did she say her name was Karen? Carla? Cathy?" ....and it turns out her name is Bridget. That's the kind of stuff that makes me want to hide underneath the dining room table with the dogs.

TechnoBabe, thank you :-) She's fun. A lot of people are fun, aren't they?

Land of shimp said...

You know, Cricket, part of what makes it a little easier for men is that gender roles often make it a little easier for men to simply do the handshake thing. Plus, frankly, due to the dating structure of our world, men are a little more familiar with risking rejection. After all, most of the time the onus is on the guy to do the asking.

It's probably not going to come as any big shock to you that I never actually bought into that and when I liked someone, I asked them out. wasn't quite the same thing because I've never been turned down. Not because I'm just that freaking...whatever...but because by the time I was asking someone out, they'd already made it super clear that they liked me.

Anyway, that's the cliff that men in our society are quite used to having to hurl themselves over and know...occasionally you guys hear a "No thanks." and don't take it personally.

There's just a difference in the social structure of the world of men, and women that can make it a little bit different, is all.

We really are far from alone, and yes, I do think people who are introverted as not necessarily shy.

There was a woman at that most recent gathering who sat next to me, and it was clear that she was an introvert. She had that "staring politely with a fix, pleasant expression, while focusing on nothing in particular" thing down. That "I'm open to conversing, but am secretly pretty freaking uncomfortable right this very moment" expression.

Unsurprisingly, I liked her a lot and we talked about books, dogs, and campers with was just ...I don't know if you'll recognize the type...the "I have learned to try and look as if I am not feeling awkward as hell this entire time but I totally am."

The kindred spirit :-)

Oh thank you, Duta. It's funny, I think she's actually, legitimately just a special kind of person. This time out it was all women from the neighborhood, and "Anna" said, "I thought it was time we all met, maybe so that we can plan a group Christmas party." and everyone there seemed very pleased with the idea...but most had lived around here for longer than she has ...have you ever known someone who just blazes the trails that everyone thinks about setting down that path?

"Oh, a sense of community would be good..." but there were a lot of women there who do all kinds of "I stand up in front of people for a living" type of jobs and they couldn't quite bring themselves to risk being rejected.

So, I do think that's a special quality. The ability to just say, "Oh screw it, you never know unless you ask! Where's that doorbell?"

Land of shimp said...

Thank you, Tabor. I think it is neat how interesting other people really are, when you get to know them. That woman sitting next to me, I asked her a question about her dogs -- because she's got really well trained dogs -- and as she started to explain how she keeps a short leash, etc. I guess a look of complete "Yeah, that's not happening." uncertainty crossed my face, and she laughed.

Difficult thing to put into words, but those moments of unspoken understanding between people are some of the funnest things that can happen.

Bimbimbie, you can do it! I do know how you feel, but just go, say "Oh what the heck, who cares what anyone thinks?" and go for it.

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to converse with people in an elevator? There's no fear of "Oh man, if this doesn't go well, it's going to be really awkward every time I see these people." Instead you can just merrily talk about whatever fool thing happens, because they get off on their floor, you on yours. You go your separate ways. Same thing with people in the grocery store line. The risk is so minimal because...hey, done and over, right away.

So today is Sunday -- pretend you're going to a giant elevator today. Seriously. At any point you can just walk out of the door, on with your life.

Also, really, don't forget that everyone is a little bit afraid at those things. You can do it! Tell yourself that if you really need to, you can make an escape after an hour...and just say the stuff you feel normal saying in elevators. "Oh, neat sweater." and before you know it? Conversation :-)

Good luck. Heck, if nothing else, make the smelling salt joke. "Boy, these things make me nervous. Too bad I forgot my smelling salts." and nine times out of ten? You're saying something that's going to resonate with the person you're saying it to.

Land of shimp said...

Excellent way to approach that, Jinksy. We're all a little bit bigger on the inside than we are on the outside, aren't we? It's funny, I see more people being kind and decent to one another, regularly, than I see unkindness.

I think a lot of people are walking around with hearts that are bigger than their exteriors might indicate :-)

Hello David, I'm laughing over here because last night, completely goofy on Advil Sinus medicine, I left a really convoluted comment on your blog. So it was a case of "Oh pleased to meet you, pardon me while I'm flaky and nonsensical on your blog!"

Amy, welcome back! The ever charming, and slightly larger Mr. E.! What a delightful sort of visit.

We all do that, don't we? Second guess our conversational impulses, thinking, "Well, that's probably not the right thing to say." but you know, intent is everything.

At "Anna's" I ended up asking a question in response to something she said about her mother dying...and man alive...did I ever accidentally step hip deep into quite the story. Her mother died while they were overseas, in an Islamic country, on vacation, and the airlines lost the coffin for over a week.

So, of course, I'm sitting there thinking, "Well marvelous, I just accidentally asked about the most painful thing ever..." and I swear to you, that was the story that got everyone talking, and feeling comfortable. I'd asked, "What do you even do in those circumstances, how do find...any or...?"

And immediately thought, "Okay, probably shouldn't have asked that..." but it was like being the first lemming over the cliff. Suddenly everyone was just being human and not dancing around with the "So what do you do?" sort of questions as everyone evidently breathed a sigh of relief, "Yay! No way can I go as wrong as that chick just did! And it turned out fine! Everyone in, that water's great."

I really do understand what you're saying, but we've been commenting back and forth on blog's for a little over a year now, Amy...and you're neat, kind, interesting and funny.

The people you aren't talking to are experiencing misfortune, without even knowing it.

Plus, I guess I'd rather have a conversation with someone who will say something that might be the wrong thing...the safe conversations are without content, you know?

Land of shimp said...

Thank you, ladyfi :-) I had good subject matter. She's truly neat.

Shrinky, thank you :-) By the way, it's entirely your fault that I now see your name and think of a giant, stuffed gorilla. It's a hilarious image to have in my head for someone like you. You seem so tiny, and delicate it's like imagining Fay Wray with a better behaved Kong in tow :-)

You know, she didn't just ring my doorbell. That first time out Rob and I were simply the only neighbors that heeded the call :-) Which...doesn't that make it even neater that she then proceeded to try again? I'd have crawled under my sink with a box of cookies if I'd invited the neighborhood, and only one person said, "Okay, sure, what can I bring?"

Jo, I'm so sorry that your daughter has to go through this. It will get better! From everything you've ever hinted at or stated about your daughter, she has the wherewithal and confidence (instilled since childhood) no less to be up to that task.

I just wish she didn't have to be. She definitely should because whereas Anna's first BBQ featured people from around the town, by the second, she had the neighborhood there...and Jo, people were excited by the concept of a neighborhood Holiday Gathering. It turned out everyone wanted to feel more connected.

Heck even my "Seriously, I'm the female version of that dude who lives on a mountain with goats...only with fewer goats, and better hygiene." personality immediately thought, "Oh, and I know exactly what to make. Whew."

Your daughter can do it! She can make her own, good, strong, vibrant life ...and one day she'll wake up and realize, "Wow, I'm happier than I have been in a long time...years, even." because that's the way it works when you've been married to the wrong guy for a while.

I wish her tremendous good fortune. You too, but you already knew that part :-)

Land of shimp said...

Oh Kerry, you'd have liked this get together! EVERYONE ended up trying to identify each other via dog :-) "Oh, wait, I do know you! I see you with your dog." and then for people that were absent?

"She lives up the hill...she's got the Australian Sheepdog that barks at everyone...and then tries to get them to play fetch...yes, her!"

If you ever wanted to make a bunch of like-minded friends, volunteer at the local animal shelter. They always need dog walkers and you'll definitely meet fellow furry enthusiasts :-)

You'd be a pleasure to know in real life, Kerry. I read your blog, and you're kind. Everyone could use another kind, good-hearted person in their life...and again, it turns out that even the people who seem so good at the entire social dance, are shivering a bit on the inside about it.

Thank you, Moannie :-) I was so pleased to see you'd surfaced from the blog accident! Welcome back from the mists of the web :-)

Yes, we really do, Pauline. Thank you, by the way. I hope your new, tiny poet is thriving and letting her mom sleep!

Friko said...

A lovely story, well told. Getting together over a dog and then finding other reasons to like a person is fortuitous indeed. I hope your friendship will grow and you become frequent stop-overs for each other.

The bit about being an introvert who gives a stunning impression of an extrovert applies to me too. I have an excellent party face, retrievable at will; after use, it is equally easily stored away for the next occasion.

I shall enjoy following you. I'd be happy if you followed me, but it's not obligatory.

Bimbimbie said...

... I survived, and thankfully no migraine although I did need a little nap afterwards ;)

Katy said...

Great post Alan. Anna sounds like a wonderful person. As a fellow introvert I agree that what she has done is really brave. I've build various communities of friends over the years, but to be in a position where you have to start from scratch seems mind boggaling.

Cloudia said...

Thank you!

Aloha from Waikiki :)

Comfort Spiral



ethelmaepotter! said...

"All of my life I've been an introvert that can do a stunning impression of an extrovert." Like you, I thought I was unique in this manner. I am actually shocked at the number of comments you have supporting that sentence.

I remember when I decided I was going to have to pretend I wasn't shy - we used to move every year of my life, and when we moved to Nashville, 10th grade for me, I walked in that new school, scouted out a girl who looked as lonely as I felt, and took the initiative - I began talking and just wouldn't quit. She followed me around for a couple of weeks until she found a circle of friends more to her liking. We really had absolutely NOTHING in common. But I never stopped the pretense. Sometimes I can't help it - the introvert comes SHINING through - but I usually hide it extremely well.

This is probably my favorite of all your posts, and that's REAAAALLLLY saying something. I can actually picture Anna and the love and admiration that surrounds her like an aura.

If you share this story with her, please tell her she has a new friend in Tennessee!

Jinksy said...

I loved your comment on my blog today, but couldn't reply as you haven't enabled your email address. Here is an explanation I got soon after I started blogging:-

Very helpful advice, ( to any / every Blogee ), that Braja kindly put in one of her blogcomments:- is the address that your comments are sent from.
You haven't designated an email address so that anyone can reply. It blocks communication.
Go to your profile. Click on Edit profile, and then choose the third box down, Show My Email. Simple.

slommler said...

What a delightful story! Anna is one little powerhouse! I so enjoyed meeting her.
I can play act outgoing with the best of them! Sounds like she did too!!
I am impressed!
Could I be so brave? I really don't know!
Congrats on your POTW award

Gaston Studio said...

Anna's story resonates with me as I, too, was a shy person inside. It sounds as if she's well on her way to creating her own life and that makes me happy for her.

Congrats on POTW!

Sandi McBride said...

oH MY! I don't quite know what to say but this is a post I could read over again and still get the same warmth of laughter! This is so well written and I would love to know Anna, and you as well,
congrats on POTW

Cricket said...

Just a quick return visit to say congratulations on your potw.

Congratulations on your potw.

Out on the prairie said...

Putting people together is fun, and a way to expand your attitude. I like to entertain and try to keep crowds diverse. I have heard of the illness, lessons needed and I can't excuses, feeling they don't want to try. I moved to a neighborhood and wanted to meet everyone and sent out invatations. A lady across the street never replied. I saw her a few months later and she had what I call a smelly excuse, such as can't get away from my TV, but offered something that sounded good. At 3 years I moved and while loading up she came over to ask if I was moving. She said she always wanted to meet me, I always waved at her.HMMMMM I thought, and said we had a house warming and offered a few more times but you were always too busy.She left in a huff.

Anastasia said...

Another introvert who masquerades as an extrovert checking in! I was so happy to see two new blogs from you shimpy!

There is an actual personality type that corresponds to this description, it is the INFJ in the Keirsey temperament sorter and actually uses the quote: "an introvert who is often mistaken for an extrovert, INFJs give their full attention to the people around them; because of this they need time alone to re-charge their batteries. Impatient of small talk, INFJs tend to shine in smaller groups." or something to that effect.

This seems to describe a lot of the people here. I am terrible at small talk as well, though I do my best - but silly things just don't interest me. Why have a conversation and say nothing? I know that every exchange doesn't have to be worthy of a philosophical salon, but it should at least be sincere.

To the lady living in France: boy it is hard being either an immigrant or an expatriate. It became clear to me a number of years ago that we tend to overlook those who are new to our country or community - and it must be so hard to try and function in a different culture. Even intuition is blunted because of different custums and body language - and if there is even the smallest language barrier we tend to overlook - not be mean, but just oblivious. I have tried hard to correct this in myself because I can't imagine how difficult it must be to live in a foreign country. By inviting people to my home for dinner parties who normally would be overlooked, I have learned so much and met some really great people - it is worth the effort and I think you will find that the people around you go out of their way to be friendly (at least some of them) once they realize that you want to be a part of the community.

Rejection is a possibility with some people, but it is a numbers game - as shimpy said - don't take it personally and remember all of those men who have to ask women on dates and still do so even after they have been rejected. And remember from the point of view of the rejector - it usually isn't personal. After all, have you personally hated every guy you refused for a date? Usually not - the reasons generally have nothing to do with the person asking.

Anna is an inspiration - an extrovert who is an extrovert who can model the behavior for those of us who often feel like a large party of strangers and root canal are comparable experiences.

Grandma's scrapbook said...

Good evening! How are you? Very beautiful and inspiring story.Tank you!

Vilisi@islandmusings said...

So gently told. I enjoyed reading this. Thank you.

The Tale Spinner said...

I am inspired by you...

george115 said...

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Marshall Lynch said...

great story,you're very good in writing,i really enjoy reading your blogs.
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Maytangkua said...

thank u for the story :)

Empress Ashaki said...

Wow, this story reminds me of my own life. I have moved to a new city where I know no one. I used to think that I grew out of my introverted state, but this story made me realize that I was faking it because people have always expected me to be an extrovert. Now that I am in a new city, I have reverted back just when I need to fake it most! Well written, thank you.

Munir said...

I always like to get to know people and realize that there is something remarkable in every one. Thanks for stopping by. You were quite precise and elaborate at the same time in your comment. It helps my husband to understand what I wrote in the first place.

moomoo said...

I really like your story. I'm an introvert and wish I had the confidence to be extrovert in social situations. I shall remember this story in social situations. Thanks

Info Kesehatan said...

Many lessons I can take from the story above. thank you for sharing this inspiring story

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Agence immobilière casablanca said...

As always - your articles are astute and insightful