This week, Louisa tells us the tale of an awkward encounter
BY LOUISA BENNETT, IMAGE VIA ISTOCK
Last fortnight’s piece touched on the pressures of socialising and making friends when you walk your own path. I received so many comments from people telling me how much it resonated with them, that I decided it was time to explore heading out into the great wide world in a bit more detail. If you are of the quirky ilk, interacting with the great wide world can be a high-level stressor and, if you make it back in one piece, you are probably going to need some recovery time.
When I let myself loose on the world, my default package of awkwardness tends to be comprised of over-talking, overthinking and then over-explaining why I’ve over-talked. Unfortunately, it doesn’t even have to be a grandiose event to trigger this… a trip to the post office will suffice thank you very much. There are far too many factors to negotiate and, because I am inherently uncomfortable with that easy patter of small talk, it can go very wrong very, very quickly.
You have two options here, team: you can either avoid all social situations like the plague or, you can run with your own quirkiness and be very smug that you are not like every other customer, guest or person in that building. The smug second option is not for the faint hearted but it brings with it a sense of adventure to most trips out of the house. Who knows what will happen, who you will meet and what conversations will be had? Adventures are immense spirit lifters and, if you share them with someone else, whether it is at that moment in time or afterwards when you retell the story, funny moments and memories are created. The awkwardness is going to happen anyway, so why not make the most of it and treat it as a light, rather than a darkness to be avoided and hidden away.
I’ve had so many over-talking, awkward moments out in the big wide world I could fill an entire book, but my favourites are always when the unexpected happens. I was once in a popular retail store with my other who wanted to try on a fitness watch. Because she has her very own level of quirky awkwardness going on, usually one of us speaks and the other stays quiet – for everyone’s safety.
Anyway, it is safe to say the lady behind the counter was clearly not having her best day at work. She couldn’t raise a smile or indeed muster a conversation about the watch, and just looked thoroughly miserable. The silence was so unbearable that we awkwardly started having a conversation about the length of our strides. Amazingly, the shop assistant’s demeanour completely changed, she not only engaged with us, she got us evidencing our stride length in front of the counter – much to the amazement of the other shoppers – and laughed until we left the shop.
It’s not always easy out there if you walk your own path, but somewhere in the midst of the 971 people who are probably going to look at you like you have three rainbow heads, there is going to be someone whose day you have made significantly brighter, and that’s a truly beautiful feeling.
Only reading DIVA online? You’re missing out. For more news, reviews and commentary, check out the latest issue. It’s pretty badass, if we do say so ourselves.