Talking to Strangers

For those of you who might not be aware of the fact, I dislike talking to people I don’t know. Which doesn’t necessarily make a lot of sense, since I’m a chatty person by nature. (True story: on my mission in Germany, I talked on the phone to my family for over 9 hours. Or was it 7? It was a long time, regardless. We were only allowed two phone calls a year, and I got every ounce out of ’em. Plus, I had two phone calls to make, one to my Pennsylvania family, and one to my Utah family. But still, it was a long talk.) The point is, once I get to know someone, I’m perfectly happy to talk their ear off, but before I know them–no way. I don’t want to talk at all. I mean, I’ve cut my own hair now for seven or eight years, just so that I don’t have to talk to barbers anymore. Is that sad? Maybe. But I’m a whole lot more comfortable this way, and it saves money. 🙂

Another fact: I don’t like making phone calls. This is an extension to the not liking to talk to strangers fact. I don’t mind emailing random people, and IMing strangers is borderline (more annoying than uncomfortable–I hate it when websites try to initiate a chat window without me asking.)

So the question then becomes how long I have to talk to someone before they stop being a stranger and start being someone I can just chat with. The answer is I have no idea. Probably two or three times of me seeing them, forcing myself to talk to them, and then actually talking. This is likely why I loathe parties with a large group of strangers so much–and why going to conferences and cons is so squirm-inducing for me. It’s not to say that I won’t talk to strangers–I can force myself to do it, and I think I can even make it look like I’m having a good time. But if I were left to my own devices, who knows what would happen. Probably a lot less social interaction, which would be a bad thing. I can acknowledge that.

But it doesn’t make talking to strangers any easier.

How about you? Are you the same way, or do you think I’m nuts? (Or are you the same way, but you still think I’m nuts?)

7 thoughts on “Talking to Strangers”

  1. I am the same way. I’m never comfortable talking to people until I know enough about them to be able to ask them questions about their lives and get a conversation started. I think it’s my fear of awkward silence. Comfortable silences are fine, but with strangers, it’s always the awkward ones.

  2. Seriously. I’m going to World Fantasy in a couple weeks, and I can’t bring myself to look forward to it. Too many strangers. I’m going to be so far out of my comfort zone. Wish you were coming!

  3. Wish I were coming, too–if for nothing more than to be able to see a certain agent in person and find out the status of my manuscript. 🙂
    Have fun at World Fantasy–and best of luck. I can’t say I envy you the schmoozing–always have hated that. Blech.

  4. Does he still have it? Oy.
    That reminds me. I have news relating to that particular agency. Brandon tweeted it, so I don’t know if you’ve heard or not. I’m not announcing publicly until the ink is dry.

  5. I had no idea–just checked out Brandon Twitter feed now. Congratulations! That’s great news. Wish I could have some of that sent my way sometime. They’ve had the manuscript since February 2. I know they’ve been busy, and I know it’ll likely be a no once I hear back, but still . . . it’s been a while.

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