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woman who reads too much

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03:08 am: talking to strangers
I went out to dinner tonight, which I don't usually do on Fridays because it is busy, and it was busy, so I sat at the bar. I usually read at dinner, but the bar was not well lit. There was no one to my left, fortunately (that's my deaf ear). To my right was a child and her mother. When my food came the woman asked what I had ordered, since it smelled so good. We talked about food, theirs and mine. She said she was just telling her daughter how important presentation was; the daughter had turned in a report that was just a mess! I asked the child what grade she was in and agreed that in fourth grade, teachers' expectations really level up.

The child asked the waiter whether he liked crystals, and showed him a crystal she found on the playground. I asked if I could see it too. From that point on the three of us were chatting. I had told the waiter that my son had left for college, since that is what I say these days when people ask how I am, so the woman asked where, and we talked about where we had lived and what we liked about their climates. We talked about math, and educational philosophy, and what we were reading. And when I left, the woman asked me my name, gave me hers, and her phone number, and urged me to call if I was bored or wanted to get a coffee. She said she was really interested in talking to me again.

I can do being charming for a short time -- obviously, since I just did it -- but it is exhausting. I enjoy this kind of conversation while I'm having it, but afterwards, I never want to talk to anyone again. And I certainly can't call her: I feel like such a faker. Not that I said anything that isn't true, but-- that was as much as I usually talk in a week. I am too embarrassed to tell you how high my blood pressure was.

Do you ever feel like this? How do you cope?

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[User Picture]
Date:September 13th, 2014 11:57 am (UTC)
Whew! I can see how that would be tough for you. Extrovert's Delight and all. If you don't like that sort of thing, is there a different way of relating that you would like? Is this - LiveJournal - it?
[User Picture]
Date:September 13th, 2014 04:21 pm (UTC)
I don't really understand the feeling on an emotional level, but I can imagine it. My first temptation is to say that practice would make you better at it... but you've been doing this for longer than I've been alive, roughly, so I'm guessing that I'm wrong on the practice thing.
So: did you enjoy it? Is there some way you could structure such interactions so that the enjoyment (and anticipation) would outweigh the exhaustion?
[User Picture]
Date:September 13th, 2014 04:23 pm (UTC)
I make it very clear to people who want to hang out with me that it's a very occasional thing. I love being social, but when I'm in a low energy cycle I have to make a point of not doing it too often.
Date:September 13th, 2014 07:54 pm (UTC)
She's going to feel just as bad as you do now if you don't call her. Just text her and get her email and then be straight with her over email. Not calling back is such a dick move! It makes people feel like they must smell bad! It is never in a million years going to occur to her that you're not calling her because of your own issues.
[User Picture]
Date:September 13th, 2014 08:37 pm (UTC)
You don't need to get her email and make it a big deal. You can just text something like: "It was great to talk with you [and child] Friday, but I'm really burned out on socializing. Sorry I don't have energy for more."
[User Picture]
Date:September 13th, 2014 07:56 pm (UTC)
that anon comment is me, lj logged me out
[User Picture]
Date:September 14th, 2014 04:49 pm (UTC)
Do you ever feel like this?

Yes! Only without the "I feel like a fake" self-recrimination.

How do you cope?

I don't sit at the bar, for one thing, and I don't talk to strangers, for another. And I live alone, so when I get home at the end of the day, I shut and lock my door and-- aaaaaah, solitude!

You're talking to someone who, when she was hospitalized several years ago, didn't let anyone but her two healthcare proxies know which hospital she was in, lest some wellwisher visit. *shudder*

I am a very charismatic introvert, which means my basic experience of social relations is of other people wanting far more relationship with me than I want with them. I've become very unapologetic about accounting my own needs and tastes into my choices in social contact. I see it as no different that sex: just because some man (or more rarely a woman) finds me sexually attractive doesn't mean I owe them sex, and just because someone finds me a beguiling coversationalist doesn't mean I owe them a conversation. And if I do fancy them for a lover or a friend, that doesn't mean all my preferences as to how, when, and how much go out the window and I have to do it their way. "I, too, am a person in this relationship." And my preferences also count.
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