On being stand-offish

Have you ever really wanted to meet someone you admire, and then when you finally do, your left feeling underwhelmed?

I had this experience at my first blog conference 3 years ago. I was dying to finally meet this blogger I had been following for a couple years. I admired everything about her. Her family, her parenting style, even her fashion sense jived with me. From reading her blog, I felt like I already knew her really well, and was positive if we ever met face to face, we would instantly fall madly into BFF status.

So, it was the first day of the conference. I spied her from across the packed ballroom, and started psyching myself up to finally get up the nerve to introduce myself to her. Surely she would know me, I mean, I had only been commenting on her every post for the last year.

I made my move. I weaved through the sea of people, and finally introduced myself to her.

She was nice. We shook hands, and she gave me a shy smile. Our lack luster interaction lasted about 10 seconds. I complimented her on her new baby, told her I loved her cardigan, and I was glad we got to meet.

Then she turned her head and started talking to the friend she was sitting next to.

I was left feeling inadequate and dumb. Why did I think this person would give me the time of day? My perception of her was way off. She was much cooler online than she was in person, for sure.

Fast forward 2 years, to the present day.

That person that I had put on a glass pedestal who ended up being totally put-offish? Today we’re good friends.  I now can look back at our initial meeting, and know  exactly why she was the way she was to me that day.

She was tired from dealing with a newborn. She had some stuff going on in her life I had no idea about.  She’s an introvert, and being in a large groups give her anxiety. She can better express herself with the written word, and that’s why we rarely talk on the phone, but instead email.

The only reason I now know these things about her is because I chose to give her a second chance.  I am so glad I didn’t give up on her. If I had, I would have missed out on a really loyal friend.

So if you ever meet me, and are disappointed because I didn’t live up to your expectations? I’m sorry. I am who I am, and I take full blame for my social awkwardness.

Want to know something about me? Large groups of people I don’t know well give me hives. It’s true. Just ask anyone in my family. Also? I have an extensive collection of turtlenecks which I wear when meeting people for the first time.

5455953941 3441b0039a On being stand offish

(Me and one of my favorite turtlenecks, at my first blogging conference, grabbing a quick awkward photo with  Jennifer and Heather.)

But if you give me a second chance? I’m pretty good at being a friend. Or at least I’ll try to be.

Comments

comments

Comments

  1. I love this post. I agree fully.

    I think when it comes time for BH11? You maybe should re-post this. People get so bent out of shape sometimes because they feel like someone didn’t want to talk to them. They forget to look at the whole picture.
    Issa recently posted..Where I steal post ideas again

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  2. I get uncomfortable in large groups of people I don’t know, too. The first night of Blissdom the past two years makes me want to run home and cry.
    Cherie @ the Queen of Free recently posted..Facebook Freebie- Ocean Spray Sparkling Juice Drinks

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  3. I am having some serious grammar malfunctions today. Just goes to show I might be just as awkward URL as IRL. ;)
    Cherie @ the Queen of Free recently posted..Facebook Freebie- Ocean Spray Sparkling Juice Drinks

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  4. I so understand this post, large crowd makes me want to curl up in a ball and hide!!!! I’m a introvert and love living in the country, If we would be able to afford living deeper in the country (where we would have close neighbors) I would move in no time. I hate cities, cars and traffic.

    But I would open my house to anybody for tea, a meal, even a stay ofter for weeks at the time, I would prepare meal for you, do your laundry and sit on the porch and listen to you for hours.

    But meet me in public, you will find me shy and obviously out of my element! My home is my security blanket :-) I love being in it, and you all are most welcome to visit, even in the middle of the night!
    Renee recently posted..But mama- Im bored

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  5. Ohhhhh…I totally get this. I’m super awkward whenever I meet anyone. I make lots of lame jokes, talk real fast, and ask odd questions. Lovely, I know.
    Amanda recently posted..Her

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  6. I went to my first BlogHer in ’10 and it was the most overwhelming experience ever. I was out of my comfort zone and so I can totally understand that interaction. What’s even wierder is that you feel like you already know someone by reading their blog, so it makes that interaction even harder than just meeting someone randomly. Great post!

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  7. I, too, get this. I never know what to say or what to do. Being the meetie or the meeter.

    So glad that I got to meet you at BlogHer and spend some time with you at Blissdom this year.
    domestic extraordinaire recently posted..My Friend FireMom-Alternately titled How Jenna doesnt really want the Steelers to Win Super Bowl XLV

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  8. thank you for writing this…I think you described exactly how I was feeling.
    Rebeca @ The Average Parent recently posted..President’s Day Weekend- Retail Deals

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  9. I love this. So straight-forward but really eloquent too.

    Nothing makes me tense up like hearing “I read your blog.” I feel like I’m being set-up for a critique and then failure.

    Also I think this quote is such a great rule for life: “Be kinder than necessary for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”

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  10. I met you before I started reading your blog, but from the moment you and Casey offered to ditch the every-body-that’s-awesome-is-here party to go eat pizza in our pjs…I knew you were my kind of people.

    (And I agree with Issa…repost before BlogHer!)
    Bridget recently posted..Slipping through my fingers…

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  11. What Bridget said.

    And also? You had me at armpit sweat.
    moosh in indy. recently posted..love me- love my petichiae

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  12. I think that things in person are just different sometimes. And this DID happen to me at BlogHer in Chicago. Like almost exactly as you described. I was disappointed at first but then I realized that “my” blogger had some of the same personality traits as you described and it’s all good now.

    As far as you go? I think you are awesome and I’m so glad that I’ve gotten to meet you twice! Hopefully next time we can hang out even more… xo
    Elaine recently posted..What A Croc Crocs™ Review

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  13. This is perfect, great advice. I know I’m accidentally a jerk in person, but it’s because I’m Astonishingly Awkward.
    Jenny Grace recently posted..Dentists and Fat Pants

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  14. oh, I so love this.

    It’s two-fold for me…if you ran up & said, “HEY, my name is ____ & I’ve been reading you for two years!” I would probably be all ::blank stare:: But if you said, “Hey, I’m ____. I’m the chick with the kid that threw up all over me in McDonalds & gave you the recommendation to read Outlander & then we laughed over email about that time that Harry threw a hot dog…” well, I would TOTALLY REMEMBER YOU. I’m just really, really bad with names & it makes me so uncomfortable to admit it. So when people walk up & I blank out on who they are, my defense is usually to slap on bitch-face.

    On the flip side, I have to remember the same thing about other people! I have been underwhelmed before with people I thought I would love in person. Usually, I find out that they’re just as awkward as I am & we have even MORE in common than I ever dreamed possible.
    Blair@HeirtoBlair recently posted..Can I have the digits that will telephonetically connect me to you

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  15. @Cherie @ the Queen of Free:

    holy crap. me too. I kept repeating to myself that Alli Worthington says that she’s the only one allowed to cry at Blissdom.
    Blair@HeirtoBlair recently posted..Can I have the digits that will telephonetically connect me to you

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  16. Well, I’m one who spoke up recently on Twitter about being surprised by stand-offish-ness.

    I get being shy. I’m not generally shy or introverted but put me in a group of bloggers- many of whom I admire and have read for years, with or without acknowledgement of my existence- and I get all weird and don’t feel like myself. I feel like we’re all studying each other since we’re all REALLY THERE and not just words on a screen.

    I also think that a simple smile goes a long way and I hope I’m smiley in groups like that.

    When we’re all behind our screens and commenting or writing, we can feel less vulnerable. And I think when we get face to face, it’s hard to know who knows you, if anyone knows you, if no one knows you… so you don’t know, either!

    I’ve met you a couple of times now and haven’t felt put off by you- and I still hope we end up in a situation where we can actually spend some time together!
    Eternal Lizdom recently posted..Friday Fragments- Bits and Pieces

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  17. This happened to me recently at a conference. I just chalked it up to them being a d-bag. (- rhymes with “oosh”). I hope they were having a bad night like you said, but them blowing me off hurt. Real bad.
    Katie recently posted..Wordless Wednesday- Eric Singer- prepare to be de-throned!

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  18. Would it be too much for me to @ this link to the twitter person who routinely calls me names because I was completely flustered and befuddled and overwhelmed when she introduced herself to me? It was right after I presented at a local bloggy thing and I was surrounded by people who wanted to talk to me, which WEIRD, but GAW! PANIC! FLEE! That’s what I did and she has decided I’m a bitch for it. It sucks. For both of us. :-(
    Burgh Baby recently posted..For Tassy

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  19. I so completely get this post.

    Just this year at Blissdom someone came up to me when I was really flustered about something. She mentioned hanging out later and I didn’t respond (I heard her, but I didn’t really comprehend what she was saying until, like, 10 minutes later.) I felt horrible! I’d never want someone to think I was blowing them off! And I wasn’t, she had just caught me at the exact wrong moment.

    I’ve been blown off, sometimes I’ve realized it had nothing to do with me, but with the situation. Other times, though, I know I’ve been blown off because I wasn’t deemed “cool” or “popular” enough. I really try not to let it bother me because really? It’s a great way to weed out the people I really want to be friends with!

    Also. (Sorry! NOVEL!) I felt like a schmuck the night we hung out at Fuse, Emily. I’m horrible to talk to when there’s loud music. I can’t hear well, especially when there’s a lot of background noise! So. I wish we could have hung out more and really talked.
    Jennifer, Playgroups are no place for children recently posted..Goodbye Thomas

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  20. This happened to me a little at BlogHer. But overall though I liked and loved everyone I met and had liked all these years. I am totally all about giving people second chances. For the record, you were totally sweet and I liked meeting you at Hotel Gansevoort! Hope you’ll be a BlogHer in San Diego! :)

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  21. Any time I meet new people I am horribly socially awkward. I always feel like I don’t fit in and I don’t know what to say and so I say too much or don’t say enough. Thanks for posting this! {And sorry if I was completely socially awkward at the Lt. Governor’s Roundtable on Wednesday}. I was really nervous!
    Lisa @ Simplified Saving recently posted..Mega Swagbucks Day

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  22. Uh, awkward = me. Somehow I gave my confession about a yellow bikini and being pregnant. what is more awkward than that! :)

    You have a great sense of humor and you were so nice to me the first time I met you IRL at Blissdom! :)

    I get into conference situations or any kind of blogging meet up and it is way overwhelming. too many people, not enough time, too tired, etc.

    probably why so many of us are bloggers because we work better with groupons of people behind the screens!

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  23. This is so completely true. I remember last year’s Blissdom I was dealing with a TON of stuff so I’m sure I seemed that way to some. But, my girls know who I am so all is well :) They’ve gotten to see the good and the realllly bad!

    FWIW, I thought our first meeting with you in the Mexican Restaurant in Dayton (remember before Yanni?), you were so completely perfect! But, when you and Moosh kept trying to get the hot Yanni guys, I knew you two were competition! Ya know, when we ever need to compete for hot Yanni-esque guys again ;)
    Andrea @ Savings Lifestyle recently posted..LL Bean- Maggiano’s More Retail &amp Dining Deals!

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  24. Briana, did you just say “groupons of people”? Girl, step away from your screen people we are not groupons! :)
    Andrea @ Savings Lifestyle recently posted..LL Bean- Maggiano’s More Retail &amp Dining Deals!

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  25. Cherie, admit it. The first year at Blissdom you wanted to run home and cry because of the inappropriate spooning :) Good thing we were there for you!
    Andrea @ Savings Lifestyle recently posted..LL Bean- Maggiano’s More Retail &amp Dining Deals!

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  26. Oh my I did call y’all groupons!! Haha!!! My money saving mind is always going there!

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  27. Pfft well I met you and you were plenty sweet to me, a complete stranger.

    But I totally get this. I love new people but we’re all just weird, ya know?
    ClassyFabSarah recently posted..February Funk

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  28. you are so not awkward! i was so happy when i met you and thought you were awesome. just so you know. :) my problem is that i tend to talk too much when i meet people at first. i don’t know why, i just get jittery and try to fill up the silence. i hope i don’t seem cooler online than i am in person but i also can’t change it. i am just some girl with a blog who hasn’t washed her hair in three days and is broke. whee! most of the time when i meet blog people it goes really well, but i have felt like i disappointed people before.
    erin from swonderland recently posted..see-through

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  29. Oh my….I am so there with you. Like right now. I’ve come to realize that I felt this way about someone…someone that I now find so dear and wonderful and marvelous and I hate myself a little for the dark thoughts I had about them. Part of me wants to email them, or sit down with them and apologize for the impressions I took away from our first meeting…but the other part of me says that they probably don’t realize, or even remember it at all…and I should just leave it be at how wonderful it is now.

    Of course, part of that can be attributed probably to my social awkwardness and anxiety…I spent so long unliked/unpopular that I transfer it into my present day life. I hate that (and have blog posts planned about this very issues of mine)
    Sarah recently posted..…And I had the most beautiful hair…

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  30. Oh did I relate to this post. Mostly because I fear i might be the jerk. Not that I am all that and people are falling over themselves to meet me ;)

    I am a major extrovert and usually all loud and friendly. But that is with people I know. Meeting new people and having to engage in small talk (the HORROR) makes me sweat. So I avoid it like the plague which probably makes me look like a major b. I’m not. I promise ;)
    The Diaper Diaries recently posted..When Multi-Tasking Goes Bad

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  31. I like all you people so much :D

    And I normally smile till my eyes are squinty when I meet people for the first time. And then I jitter-talk as well and normally bring up my Mt. Dew addiction which people take as an explanation. But really Mt. Dew has no effect on my anymore due to years of extreme caffeine consumption—I just get that way when I don’t know what to do.

    I’m much better in pajama/pizza/ditch-the-cool-kids party scenario’s also.

    –S.S.

    p.s. There was not enough of any of you at my Blissdom this year.
    Nope nope nope.
    Sara Sophia recently posted..I spent all my sick days thinking about Love

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  32. i’ve only met bloggers in your living room…and one sprayed makeup on my face minutes after meeting me.

    with that said…I was a nerve ball the entire drive down to Indy. I was afraid I would be so lame and such a disappointment.

    I was afraid there were things I was supposed to know that I didn’t (Hi, My name is Katie and i am naive).

    I wasn’t sure if blogging was like fight club…you know…don’t talk about blogging? and that if I mentioned it I would get eye rolls and then everyone would go all Heathers on me.

    So I just sat and smiled a lot and let Casey spray makeup on my face.

    And realized I had just made some friends.

    A large group situation? Terrifies me. I figure no one will know who I am…or care.
    Katie recently posted..tiny reminder

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    Emily Reply:

    Knowing what I already know about you, you do great in big crowds. And you stand up in front of people and command attention for a living. You have a extroverted gift that many people would die to have. xoxo

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  33. I have never gone to a Blogging conference because 1) I’ve never had the money and 2) because even though I am generally a social person, put me in a large group of people I really admire know via blogs or social media, , but have never met, TERRIFIES me. I met you a couple of years ago and you were so friendly that you helped ease those nerves, but that was a smaller setting with a few bloggers. Not sure I will ever be ready for a setting like Blissdom, as fun as it would be.

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  34. I am so incredibly awkward at conferences, I always feel like I return home and everyone hates me. Not really (but yes). Simply because I have to disappear a lot to my room (crowds – gah) and I’m just socially clueless.

    One day we need to just sit down and have bond time and be weird together. <3

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    Emily Reply:

    “disappear into my room” – um, I have to do that even at my family Christmas parties. I cannot take the noise and activity. Need my quiet.

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  35. “I was left feeling inadequate and dumb.” Yeah. That. I feel that way even before I go up to new people. Insecure much?
    Also, I have learned and had to relearn many times that I have crazy preconceived notions about people that if I take the time to really get to know them are usually false.
    The biggest example being a girl who I thought was a snob all through high school… when we finally had to work together on something I learned that she was actually very nice and just kind of shy. But she’d had her group of friends already so I thought that I just wasn’t cool enough for her. NOT true at all if I had just taken the time to reach out to her…

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  36. I’m totally fine by the end of Blissdom but at the beginning, social anxiety to the max.
    Cherie @ the Queen of Free recently posted..Facebook Freebie- Ocean Spray Sparkling Juice Drinks

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  37. bahahahaa. Andrea. Poor Mindi. :)
    Cherie @ the Queen of Free recently posted..Facebook Freebie- Ocean Spray Sparkling Juice Drinks

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  38. This is such a great post. There’s also the flip side: I know no one is dying to meet me… I don’t blog enough to have any real “followers”… but I still fear I may appear standoffish when in such a group, because I, more often than not, feel “inadequate” and think people are thinking, “Why is she even here?”. I’m a total introvert, with an extrovert hiding inside me somewhere. So, I totally want to put myself out there and hit it off with new people, but my insecurities usually take over and I find myself holding back. And then I’ll go home and read about all these great connections that were made and see how people are getting together all the time and tell myself, “See, I told you…”

    I hope that makes sense…
    punkinmama recently posted..smore snow please

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  39. Love so many things about this. Yes yes yes. If only we could extend mercy instead of choosing to be offended. I have to remember this a lot.

    Steph
    adventuresinbabywearing recently posted..Not fade away

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  40. @punkinmama

    I’ve been there and understand exactly what you feel, and that is in smaller settings. Can’t imagine a bigger one like BlogHer or Blissdom. . .
    Kristi recently posted..She Shines Like A Star

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  41. I had the EXACT same experience three years ago (or was it 2?) at BlogHer Chicago. Never went back to her blog. Maybe I’ll check it out again some time, but there’s too much reading competition out there to waste time reading the blog of someone who doesn’t care to know me. Come to think of it, she hasn’t come back to mine, either. Mabye I pissed HER off!haha
    Mrs4444 recently posted..Sundays in My City

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  42. I am totally the same way. Completely.
    I think that is part of the reason that blogging appeals to me, but going to a blogging conference gives me panic attacks.
    inthefastlane recently posted..Positives and Negatives

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  43. Thank you for writing this. I have struggled my whole life with social awkwardness around new people. Give me my lifelong friends and I am a barrel of laughs and wit and warmth. Put me in a sea of new faces and I clam up and do the awkward turtle.

    One of my most eye-opening experiences was during my senior year of highschool when I had become close friends with a classmate through an extracurricular activity. This girl had gone to jr. high school with me as well, but she ran in much more popular circles than I did (or at least that’s how I felt). She confessed one night that she used to think I hated her. I was horrified. I don’t hate anyone! I’m just quiet. And I feel awful that the two are confused, but it’s not easy for me to change.

    It helps to know I’m not alone in this struggle though.

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  44. I’m the same exact way, Emily. Large groups of people I don’t know make me nervous. Maybe I need a turtleneck …

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  45. Oh yeah, that’s me. I’ve met that person and I have been that person to other people. I actually love meeting new people but it doesn’t always come across that way. I get shy around people I think are WAY cooler than me (people like you, actually, ha!).

    Peoples is peoples no matter where you are.

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  46. I’m never doing to live that down…am I? ;)
    Mindi recently posted..Smashbox- Beauty Blowout Sale Free Eyeshadow!

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  47. @Mindi:

    Aack – that was supposed to be a reply to Andrea and the “inappropriate spooning” comment!
    Mindi recently posted..Smashbox- Beauty Blowout Sale Free Eyeshadow!

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  48. What a great post. I have been on both ends and am trying to learn to remember that sometimes people are as socially awkward as I am. I am a weird chatty girl who happens to be an introvert. Talk about some misunderstandings, right?
    I’m enjoying checking out your blog. Came over from Steph @ Metropolitan Mama :)
    Dayna recently posted..Still

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  49. Such an imspesrive answer! You’ve beaten us all with that!

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