Monday, May 08, 2006

The Attack of the Slimy Shyness!

I'm sitting at my desk, pecking away at my keyboard, when one of my colleagues comes around rounding up people for a good-bye party for another colleague. She seems to be a soft-spoken person. Friendly, cordial, but not outgoing. Nice, but bland. She's from Idaho. Like a plain baked potato. Predictable, comforting.

When I walk in the conference room, 25 people are there chatting in small groups. This is when I panic. Who do I talk to? How do I know where I am welcome? I've worked at this place for two years, but no one seems very warm towards me. I do make an effort to be friendly around the office. What do I do? Am I looking uncomfortable, and is my discomfort translating as unfriendliness? Chances are, no one has even noticed me walk in. Chances are, someone else is as uncomfortable as I am.

Fifteen minutes of speeches about how wonderful she is, how much she will be missed. And how much she will miss all of us. I wonder if I left the organization, would they have a goodbye party for me? Would anyone care? I'd probably get a card signed by people in my division. "Good luck!" And maybe a lunch from my boss. If they held a good-bye party for me like the one they did for my colleague, I'd probably start weeping. When I leave the company, I would really like for that party to happen.

As soon as the cake is served, I take it back to my desk and resume my keyboard-pecking. I can hear the others in the conference room laughing and having fun.

3 comments: said...

Very interesting, A friend e-mailed me to ask if I had gone to a large BBQ/picnic with a group of local theatre/film folk, and I wrote back,"You forget how much I hate gatherings of more than four people. Of course I know some of these people, but all of my life I have been incapable of sounding even semi-intelligent at parties much less even pretending I am having fun. If I go, I would find some food, find something to drink, smile vaguely at some middle distant spot all the while slowly backing towards the nearest exit." After sending this, I browsed Blogger, and what do I find? Sweaty Palms.
Thanks for the serendipity.
I think you've got two distinctly different topics here.
One, is obviously your randomly firing sweat glands, whose output in certainly exacerbated by stress. I think the stress you discribe at social/group/office situations is an entirely different thing. Do they affect each other, of course just as a sprained ankle affects your smoothness in the dance contest, they are linked by outcome by the underlying difficulties come from different origins.
I clain zero expertise in your medical situation, but lots of experience/insight in the social stress department.
Several questions to ask yourself:
Do you basically dislike being near people (you don't much like people), or does is it make you uncomfortable/insecure/inferior, in spite of your wishes to be accepted?
Do you feel this in groups you gather together (a dinner party, a get together etc) or just at group situations originated by others?
Is it the same with groups of three or four as with 20 or more?
Do you NEED to be the life of the large party, or can you really be happier with one or two? got more thoughts, but I don't want to impose. If you want to continue the dialogue, let me know. In anycase, good luck with your blog - it's gutsy!

Bob Souvorin said...

Hi Again, Tiara,
I hope I didn't upset you by responding to your Blog a while ago. My intent was not to correct you (although it may have come across in that vein), but to share with you my take upon what I heard you saying. I have found in my own life whenever I am hurt, frustrated and occasionally overwhelmed by something daunting that I am facing, it always helps me to try and break it down into component parts, rather than viewing it as an all-encompassing whole. That was my motivation in separating the anxiety in group situations from the hyperhydrosis syndrome. My guess is that being so aware of the "sweaty palm" condition could easily exacerbate social anxiety, but it may well be that these are two separate frustrations here, and if so, separating them may well facilitate effectively (or at least objectively) examining them. Can they "piggyback" upon one-another/ Of course! The thing to remember, is that linking is not synonymous with being the same.
Since I noticed that you had not added any more to your blog, I was concerned that my comments had offended you, and I assure you, that was not my intent. I look forward to you continuing thoughts on all of this. Good luck! Bob

Tiara said...

Hi Bob, thank you for your comments. No, you hadn't offended me. I had been busy with work, and also needing a little more time away from the computer. I'm going to write some more, hopefully this week.

Regarding your questions, I do fine one-on-one with people and in most small groups, unless they're total corporate types. I most love being around healing and artistic types.

Regarding your aversion to going to larger parties...I suspect that people don't care if you come up with anything 'semi-intelligent' to say. They just want to feel like you are interested in them.

More later...