July 21, 2008

Is it Them or Is it Me?

I've had two incredibly awkward conversations with other women today.

1st - Buddy is going to tennis camp this week. This awkward conversation happened between me and another mother when I dropped him off this morning. I was watching the counselors, who were explaining the rules to the kids, reluctant to just up and leave. She was saying goodbye to her son. She tiptoed away from him and towards the door where I was standing.

I said, "It's weird just leaving them here, isn't it?"

She said, "No."

Long pause during which I thought, "Okaaaay...."

She said, "Well, mine is a lot older than yours so we've done this daycamp thing quite a few times."

I said, "Oh. Un-hun."

She said, "It's our first time at this camp though. I just hope my son knows someone here."

I said, "I'm sure they'll all meet each other soon enough."

And she just stared at me until I thought, "Awkward..." and decided I felt okay about leaving, if just to get away from the awkward conversation. I said, "bye" and walked toward my car. She didn't say 'bye' back.

2nd - I have a free-try-it-out week this week at a new gym. The awkward conversation was between me and another woman in the change room. She was just putting the last of her stuff away... We were both fully dressed and all that - we weren't naked or anything. Anyway, she had on this really cool denim skirt.

I said, "I love your skirt."

She jumped like I'd hit her and said,"Oh! Um... Thanks."

Loooooong pause during which I thought, "Okaaaay...." I decided to try to salvage the conversation.

I said, "Have you been coming here long?" (which occurs to me now sounds a bit like a pick-up line (snicker)).

She said, "Yes. About 12 years."

I said, "Wow! It's my first day."

She said, "I like the lunchtime classes, but when you have an afternoon meeting... (giant eye roll)"

I said, "Yes... rushed."

We talked a bit about the spinning classes...

Then she started to walk away. She paused and, as though it had just occurred to her, she mumbled "Bye" over her shoulder.

I said, "Bye!" cheerfully enough, considering.

So... Here's the important question...

What's the problem here? Is it me... or is it them?

I'm new to this talking to strangers thing. Am I doing it wrong or something?

Or is all the world anti-social and awkward?

Please tell me because I want to know.

Edited to add: I just reread this and it occurs to me that written out like this neither of these conversations seem all that awkward, do they? Especially not the second one. I guess you had to be there... They were both pretty tense and very, very painfully forced. I wonder if people here just don't talk to each other... Maybe I'm breaking some kind of unwritten social rule? But I think it should be normal to talk to other mothers when dropping your child off at daycamp, don't you?




Amanda said...

Yes, the world is painfully antisocial. Everyone seems to be going the way of phones and computers to avoid face to face even more. (except us of course) I love it to watch my kids interact with total strangers because I wish we could all be that genuinely nice to each other.

Come to New York in October and we can talk face to face. It won't be awkard. Promise. (I know you said you can't but it would be great if you could.)

Reluctant Housewife said...

Oh, Amanda... I'm so tempted. I would love to talk face-to-face and wish you a happy birthday. It's tough logistically, though.

gigi said...

Not you, it's them. Lot's of people are just closed minded and have no more room for new people or new friends. I hate that. Just think how many wonderful opportunites they are missing.

Jaime said...

Yeah, it's them. People can just be so antisocial at times. I do think the mom at the camp deal was a little odd. Then, others just may have nothing good to say or some other odd reason....ya never know! :)

Sass E-mum said...

Definitely them. Freaks, I tell ya!

Keep going with the friendly thing. It only takes one or two lovely people to take the edge off.

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

LOL!!!...I keep giggling and my daughter is throwing me dark looks, cos l'm annoying her when BIG bro is on..tough..see l annoy everyone l speak to! LOL

it occurrs to me you've hit on something that makes my blood boil...we make very effort to be friendly...but others appear shocked by our audacity...its being civil in my book...but no, anyone would think we're about to mug them!
keep at it..even though you get aluke warm reception..it good for your soul...or something!!

scrappysue said...

yep they still sound awkward, even written! people are just too edgy these days, but maybe you projected some shyness even though you made the first step? they should be so lucky you talked to them mel!!! pfft - people are just plain weird sometimes...

yeah - what amanda said - come to NY - i'll have half my girls' night already - WAHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Ami said...

Unfortunately, I think this situation is an example of what's wrong with our world. So many people are too wrapped up in their own little bubbles. Then, when someone reaches out and tries to be friendly they get all uncomfortable. I've noticed this in my own attempts to be more friendly and less isolated. Sadly, a lot of people would rather remain isolated. Keep trying. Some people will respond. :)

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

l was so understanding of your frustation lve blogged in support of you!!

saz x

GoneBackSouth said...

Yeah, some people just can't do light chat. Don't worry, you just picked 2 of life's socially stumped, that's all!