Thursday, April 12, 2007

Cap'n Mingle, I Am Not

I don't think I'm really built for conferences. It's not the meeting and discussion forums and such; those are fine, often informative and occasionally entertaining as well. No, where I stumble is is the area of "networking." By now all of you faithful blog monkeys should know how
well the "mingling with tons of new people" thing is going to work out for neurotic ol' me.

I am not a "mingler." The thought of going to some welcome mixer and trying to strike up
conversations with complete strangers fills me with some existential dread. And it's not even so much a fear of rejection per se -- more like a fear of the intense boredom which would come about as a result of said rejection.

It would be different if I had someone alongside me to act as a buffer and/or backup; a wing-librarian, if you will. But while there are a few of my co-workers here at the conference, none of them are ones I normally hag out with, so there's not exactly a lot of reassurance of
the "I'll have someone to talk to" variety there. So, when it came time last night to decide if I should go to the big welcome party, rather than calling up my co-worker who I carpooled to San Antonio with to see if she was going, I opted instead to stay at the hotel and try to rest up for the rest of the conference.

Well, that and watch Lost.

Tonight I'm supposed to have dinner with reps from one of our primary vendors;
while the prospect of free food is always appealing, the accompanying mingling is not. At least I'll be able to retreat behind a wall of shop-talk -- I hope.


Redneck. Diva. said...

I totally know what you're talking about, dear Cap'n.

That one whole day that I worked at The Casino That Shall Not Be Named, I was absolutely alone and bored except for the times I found my husband on a break. While I am quite engaging and funny in a group of folks I know, I am a miserable loner in a group of strangers. I don't mingle well, I don't break the ice well, I don't fit in well. That was one thing I always hated about conferences with I sold Pampered Chef, too. I hated walking into a workshop full of people I did not know and having to open myself up to them. It never worked.

So yeah, I know what you mean.

Flunky lover said...

I heard an interview on NPR a few years ago from the author of a book about the art of small talk. He made it seem so easy. Maybe I should look into that book because like you and most people it is not easy to strike up a conversation with a stranger.