Monday, July 28, 2008

yet more on socialization

So on Friday, after the movie and bonfire, I went for a handshake and the other person (whom I met just that evening) went for a hug. I ended up kind of tossing up my hands in a "what the hell" fashion and hugging. That was an extremely awkward moment and I am still sort of wincing, but for whose sake I cannot tell. This is not the first time this has happened. I never know what to do in such situations.

I have also heard the remark, when I went for a hug (mind you, upon the second time meeting this person socially, we had hugged the last time, and it was an invite to their house for a dinner party thing), "that was weird" by the person who expected a handshake or slight hand wave. (Yes, it is kind of dickish to hear that out loud in front of others from the huggee and your then-boyfriend.) So really, I never know what to do. Heaven forbid that some non-European would throw me by going for a cheek kiss, which I am super awkward with in non-date situations. I wish that everyone would agree to stick to hi-fives or something.

I am just going to go for hugs, except for people who say expressly that they are not huggy people, in which case I would appreciate advanced warning. I received such advanced warning from TC the first time I met her, and that was really useful knowledge. I do not know if I am overcorrecting based on anecdotal data, but because the number of times I have misjudged the situation and come off stiff and not-friendly outnumber by a considerable amount the number of times I have come off too-huggy, I have decided to make hugs the default for goodbyes after social interactions. So, yesterday, I went for a hug. Score one for correct social response, or at least I think it was correct. In any case, I was not hug-blocked, so I am going to go with my mantra of "hug tight, it's alright."

I also discovered that I have no small talk skills, but okay "big talk" skills. I do not know what that means exactly, other than that when I ask "what do you do" I really am interested and then want to learn everything about neurobiology and smooth tracking eye movements. And then we can talk about what that means quasi-philosophically. I need better ice-breakers. Although perhaps asking "when's the last time you played thumb war" is not one of them.

Also, I wish I had more group hobbies. I have solitary hobbies like running, baking, and knitting. But no group hobbies. I suppose I could try to beef up my sailing skills and join a team, but I am not that great a sailor. I don't sing or play a instrument, so no joining a band. I do not have a trivia bowl team. I need to find people who think that doing 8 mile urban hikes are fun or that riding the bus around town from random stop to random stop all day would be a good way to spend a Sunday.

I do not generally wish to be less idiosyncratic, but occasionally I wish I that I was into more common pursuits--but I just don't know what they are. Perhaps I do not have it within me to be The Zeitgeist Avenger, so I may have to stick to my original Halloween costume idea of being Super Emo Girl.

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