Initiating conversation with total strangers is risky. There is no way you can cover all the variables. In my case, I tend to maintain cautious optimism until Im certain Ive figured someone out – keeping the conversation light and my escape route easy. If the individual turns out to be someone I hadnt counted on, I politely excuse myself – no harm done. The worst that could happen here is mild embarrassment.
And yes, I have misjudged others in the past.
A few minutes of superficial niceties is usually enough to confirm that I made a good choice, or a mistake. Its not that any of these people are inherently wicked; its just that they are not compatible with my personality type – bad chemistry – end of story – lets move on.
Now, one thing that I have learned to do is back out of a bad situation gracefully. In the past, I have struggled and endured forced conversations because I was afraid of ending things early and hurting peoples feelings. Not once did I ever stop to think of myself. I didnt think of how the other person treated me, only how I must have appeared to them. Who cares?
Why would I care about how I presented myself to someone that talked down to me? Why would I sit there and be disrespected by someone that could care less about me as a person? Why would I endure hostile, snobbish, and elitist smartass comments that were not all that cleverly disguised as civilized conversation?
Yet, this is exactly how I behaved for my entire life. In fact, I put up with this because of my low self-esteem. I allowed people to treat me like something they wanted to scrape off their shoe because I was afraid to stand up for myself and leave. I suppose that in some bizarre way I considered the act of finishing the conversation prematurely a complete failure.
These days, I dont think twice about ending a conversation early. If I pick up bad vibes, I end it quickly, yet in a civilized and mature way.
I should mention that I also use these techniques to escape inconsiderate people that love to corner quiet people (like me) and talk on incessantly. I seem to attract those individuals. I suppose its because Im regarded as submissive. Most people have enough back-bone to excuse themselves when enough becomes enough.
Breaking free from the first type of personality (aggressive, arrogant, and snobbish) is easy. Because Ive not yet committed to a real conversation anyway, its easy to simply say:
Well, enjoy the party.
Could you excuse me for a moment? (No reason is needed here)
Would you happen to know where the washroom is?
To escape from someone who has corned me for the long haul, I use the above lines (though the first one isnt powerful enough if the conversation has been going on for some time) along with a few others:
Oh, theres *whoever*, could you excuse me for a minute?
Im going to head to the bar for a minute.
There is no need to share too much information here. It is also unnecessary to outright lie. After all, I have the right to come and go as I please without having to justify myself. This is a self-esteem issue.
I try not to lie (lets just call it a fib), but I also refuse to be stuck somewhere I dont want to be. Dont get me wrong, Im not being snobbish here, its just that a single conversation with one individual for hours at a party is a little weird – not to mention, it gets a little monotonous.
So, there you have it – two extreme ends of the scale; both having the same solution.
I used to feel compelled to wait until the other person decided that theyd had enough of me, and that the conversation should end. These days, I am able to do whats best for me without feeling guilty – again, its all to do with self-esteem. I am comfortable and confident enough to take action, even though it may be unpleasant.
Actually, it isnt even all that unpleasant. The effects of having to excuse myself from a conversation have been blown out of proportion in my own mind – in fact its been my experience that people dont give it a second thought. They carry on as if it were no big deal at all. Fear of disappointing others is all linked to my low self-esteem and the fact that I need everyone to like me.
I am so glad that Im getting over this. Self-respect, self-esteem, confidence – Ah¦ there is nothing like it.