It turns out I'm an absorber. This is not a technical term, so much as one I made up. I think I've been searching for a word to describe this thing that happens to me for a while and I've finally figured it out. I'm an absorber.
Can I tell you that I am not an easy person to be friends with? I'm not. And it's because I'm borderline antisocial. I have a really good friend from work who likes to talk on the phone. I had to break the news to her that I'm a horrible phone talker and if phone talking was a prereq for being friends with her, then I probably wasn't going to make the cut. It drives her completely nuts, but she loves me any way. Just like my other four friends.
I've been really mad at myself for being this way since college. My junior and senior years I had a job working with Student Activities. Ironic, no? And you want to know what's even funnier? My boss? Giant introvert. My partner in crime? Same. Each year we had one extrovert work alongside us. The "front man" if you will! My boss used to talk about pretending to be someone else (he based his persona on a guy he knew from college who was super talky guy). Pretending to be someone else!!! How sad is that?? Look, you do what you have to do. I adopted this policy and for a long time. If I were in an uncomfortable social situation I pretended to be a friend of mine. (You know who you are!!!) This friend is like social magic. She can take a perfect stranger and fifteen minutes later they are in a corner, this stranger is pouring out their hearts to her, and she is making them feel like the best person who ever lived.
I, on the other hand, had a real conversation at a cocktail party that went something like this: "It's so nice to meet you Mr. Very Important Lawyer Fellow. How long have you been at the firm? Oh wow, that's great! Do you have kids?
It's not that I don't like people. I really do. I think people are crazy and interesting and a mess...in a good way. The problem is, when I walk in a room, if someone is putting it out there, I'm feeling it. I can feel tension from 200 miles away. I can feel all the insecurity and angst and anger in any room. When you add to that weird lighting, or weird smells or heaven forbid a drink or two, well, I'm all tuckered out in about an hour. Good times for whoever is lucky enough to be with me.
So when work gets weird, I get weird. And before you think I'm all co-dependent with work, I'm totally not. It just takes me a minute to squeeze all the weird out of me. That's why I'm thankful for things like Pinterest. And blogs. And Netflix.
While I've come to accept this fact about myself, I'm still working on cutting down the amount of time it takes me to "shake it off". By the way this phrase somehow sent me right back to playing softball as a kid. YES. I played a sport. Slow pitch, but whatever. You know how at the beach they have those showers you can use to get all the sand off before you hit the pool...or the bar...Yeah. Wonder if they make an emotional version?