Southerly by David Haywood

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Southerly: Confessions of a Social Retard

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  • David Haywood,

    Ross Mason wrote:

    So where are you on this scale?

    Twenty-one -- *way* under the threshold. I suspect that shyness is a different thing. I'm actually quite good at guessing what people are thinking... to give an example of a recent conversation (of which I'm rather proud):

    Me: Is anyone meeting you at the airport?

    My friend: Yes.

    Me: I hope you'll forgive me saying this, but the way you said "yes" suggests that you have romantic aspirations for this person.

    My friend: [After seven minutes of silence -- I timed it] You are very perceptive.

    She wontoned you David

    Ha! I don't think so. Not unless she was one of those strange 19-year-olds who are into 16-year-olds who look 14.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Ha! I don't think so. Not unless she was one of those strange 19-year-olds who are into 16-year-olds who look 14.

    No comment.

    So where are you on this scale?

    24. What does that mean?

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    As the volume of jabbering leapt,
    Scarlet-faced from the party he crept,
    For most of the patrons
    Were bosomy matrons
    Whose pressings had outed his ept.

    Genius! If there was any justice in the world, the Queen would have created the position of Limericker Laureate. With a stonking great salary. And then we could all bail you up for loans.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    On here also.

    At least here you (the generic you, not you personally) have the option of not hitting 'Post Reply'. (Not that I take that option very much. Zoink.) In meatspace, you're stuck with whatever ridiculous thing you just said and have to try for a quick recovery. Which can then lead to the dreaded Extrovert Babbling Spiral! And then it all goes wildly out of control and someone loses an eye. It's very fraught, this conversational lark.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Philip Challinor,

    In our class he skulks at the rear,
    And munches his digits with fear.
    His rectum is weak;
    He can't say but a squeak -
    The fellow's a born engineer.

    London, England • Since Sep 2009 • 52 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    the dreaded Extrovert Babbling Spiral!

    I have so suffered that (although without the extrovert bit, which seems rather unfair.)

    Thank you for putting a name to one of my medical conditions -- henceforth known as: "Danielle's Babbling Spiral Syndrome".

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Twenty-one -- *way* under the threshold. I suspect that shyness is a different thing. I'm actually quite good at guessing what people are thinking... to give an example of a recent conversation (of which I'm rather proud):

    I was a 10. I can chat with anyone (if I'm struggling, I just switch modes and interview them), if not remember their names or faces.

    And being able to sense what people are thinking is a significant part of how I make my way in the world. I try and pay attention to the needs of others in social situations. I want everyone to be all right.

    But some points on the checklist register very strongly with me -- my discomfort with fiction, for example.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Thank you for putting a name to one of my medical conditions -- henceforth known as: "Danielle's Babbling Spiral Syndrome".

    Yes, and in relation to the eye, gesticulating widely. Although I tend to call it dancing.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    I find it helps if one explains the rules clearly to David first. So, "Russell says I must give you a hug from him. So I'm afraid we're going to have to hug. Bear up, dear."

    Oh, I have to say, that was extremely amsuing to watch. Sorry David.

    And you can talk about being socially awkward all you like, but I am still going to enjoy hanging out with you and your lovely family when I come to Christchurch. Suck it up.

    But being a talker doesn't necessarily mean you feel socially, erm, ept (is that a word?). I'm an inveterate chit-chatter, but after any social gathering I tend to find myself thinking 'christ, what a mad, squat little dork I am'.

    God, absolutely. My internal monologue tends to go "shit. Did I really just say that out loud? How inappropriate. What is wrong with me? Why do these people put up with me?"

    It's just that I cover that with more incessant babble rather than less.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Thus the need for name badges/labels at all Great Blends, with an addendum next time along the lines of Hi, I am able to converse on the following topics.....?

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2539 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I want everyone to be all right.

    I found the first thing you said to me when we met - enquiring about the well-being of my daughter - quite touching actually.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I used to get over my social ineptness by getting thoroughly drunk, it worked to a point, I had no trouble explaining the most complex ideas, often many times. Later I discovered the amazing power of deliberate misunderstanding and talking at cross purposes, as an mechanical engineer, David, I'm sure you could have great fun discussing leverage with an accountant.
    I find talking to beautiful women easier now that the likelihood of any form of reciprocal attraction has faded into the dim recesses of time. In a similar fashion have found that talking to intelligent people is far more fun knowing that I may have forgotten, by volume if not import, more than they have ever known.

    "A host of golden daffodils... fluttering and dancing in the breeze," my tutor intoned. "What was Wordsworth trying to convey? Does it remind anyone of the act of urination, perhaps?"

    Perhaps he was taking the piss...
    getting coat now.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    I was a 10. I can chat with anyone (if I'm struggling, I just switch modes and interview them), if not remember their names or faces.

    That interviewing ability is so handy, isn't it?

    Except, sometimes, when I am talking to someone really interesting, I often think to myself "Wait. Does <interesting person> feel like they are having a nice conversation, or do they feel like they're at a job interview?" It can be hard to tell.

    I try and pay attention to the needs of others in social situations. I want everyone to be all right.

    Making you the perfect host, really.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Russell Brown wrote:

    I was a 10.

    I am so surprised.

    Geoff Lealand wrote:

    Thus the need for name badges/labels at all Great Blends, with an addendum next time along the lines of "Hi, I am able to converse on the following topics..."?

    I think this is a great idea and that (seriously) we should actually do it.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I think this is a great idea and that (seriously) we should actually do it.

    I'm going to write under mine "il dolce stil novo" and have a perfectly quiet and relaxing evening.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Dan Horne,

    I just short circuit everything and get straight to the point: "Hi, I am a software developer and am classified as INTJ by the Meyers-Briggs tests. Google 'Myers-Briggs' and 'INTJ', and you will understand why I'm not having a real conversation with you right now."

    Since Jan 2010 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    INTP here. Don't judge me, I'll perceive it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    She wontoned you David

    Ha! I don't think so. Not unless she was one of those strange 19-year-olds who are into 16-year-olds who look 14.

    No, seriously, that was my first thought on reading that too, that she fancied you.

    Also, thinking about it, I realize that I've probably inflicted boring engineering conversations on you, too. And Emma Hart as well.

    No, seriously. I see you catch yourself thinking you're boring me, and you're really seriously not.

    One of the things I struggle with (really shy, and I've learned most of the rules of social interaction by observation rather than instinct) is what to do when you're in a group of about half a dozen, and two of you mutually find something incredibly fascinating that's obviously boring the crap out of everyone else. I mean, when Matthew and I started talking about Cubist Literature at the Dux that time, I actually saw other people's eyes glaze over.

    And I think I can safely say now that this column of David's means the one I was agonising over placing correctly will appear in Metro, because it's too close to this.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    I went the other way - started in Engineering, realised I hated it one-and-a-bit years in, moved to an Arts degree (Philosphy and Linguistics, though - no 19th C. Literature for me).

    I find that, while I can't carry a conversation on my own, I can respond at the same level as whoever I'm talking with - I need them to supply the energy and I'll just reflect it. That said, among the group of guys I hung around with in Engineering, I'm pretty sure I was the outgoing one...

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Ray Gilbert,

    33 on the test for me - oops. Good thing I work for a University.

    Since Nov 2006 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Patrick,

    Alcohol was also my way of coping with intense shyness when I was young - shyness that would lead me to walking half the length of the NZ Steel site to see someone in their office rather than ringing them up (because there was a chance, however small, that they wouldn't be in their office and I wouldn't have to talk to them, but could still say i tried - but if they answered their phone, I was stuck - I HAD to talk to them).

    It worked, to a certain extent - I was MUCH more extroverted when semi-blotto, but then people would expect me to be like that all the time, and I got quite a few accusations of arrogance when I wasn't gregarious all the time.

    Now? A little bit different - I'll hug anyone (I always would have, but no one used to volunteer), but public speaking still gives me the shits - which as Chair of the local school Board of Trustees can be a bit of a pain at times. I too have been reduced to the Babbling Extrovert Spiral - articulacy to the point of inarticulation tends to be my forte at times like that - stream of conciousness babble that tends to screen the fact that I have been speaking for 5 minutes but haven't actually SAID anything yet.

    Rangiora, Te Wai Pounamu • Since Nov 2006 • 261 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Twenty-one -- *way* under the threshold.

    Lake Wobegon huh? You are above average but.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1589 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Making you the perfect host, really.

    Except for when I go blind on names and faces or can't recognise people out of their usual context. If it's just a roomful of actors, I'm your guy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan,

    Except for when I go blind on names and faces or can't recognise people out of their usual context. If it's just a roomful of actors, I'm your guy.

    I do exactly the same thing. I know I've met someone, I know I've had conversations with them, details about their lives. Can't for the life of me remember names, or how I know them.

    It has been problematic, when you know someone is a senior politician, you just can't remember in what country.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    A little bit different - I'll hug anyone (I always would have, but no one used to volunteer), but public speaking still gives me the shits.

    Ah, public speaking -- that's a funny beast. I have no problem with public speaking, provided I know what I'm going to say in advance. Giving a speech or a presentation that I've prepared myself holds no terror for me, but I'll go to lengths to avoid having to make conversation at a birthday party for one of my wife's friends where I don't know many of the people there.

    In the same way, I found working retail in my youth very helpful -- social interaction with dozens of complete strangers every day, but social interaction with parameters very clearly defined in advance(they're here to buy stuff; I'm here to sell it to them).

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

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