Excuse me, may I join in please?

Writing 101 Day 8 encourages us to expand on a comment we have made either on our own or on another blog. This forces me to face my demons. Commenting is one of those things I find very hard to do. I find it difficult to join in conversations face to face, and had hoped that mixing and mingling on-line might be easier. But no, I still find it really hard to comment, and so I thought I’d use this space to explore why I feel this way and what I can do about it.

I’ve always found it hard to join in any sort of group conversation, even growing up I was labelled as being shy and my parents would excuse my behaviour by explaining I just liked to sit and observe. They were obviously embarrassed by my failure to join in at family get togethers. Most children are the opposite of what I was, they have no idea that they can be annoying by their constant questions and chit-chat. That is considered ‘normal’.

One of the photographs that sums me up is this one, taken at a cousin’s birthday party.

Me at Ians partyThe other children are gathered around a game, I think it was ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey’, they’re all joining in, eager to see what’s going on. Enjoying themselves. Like children should. And then there’s me. Biting my nail, looking back at my parents and pleading with my eyes for them to come and rescue me from this situation. They made me join in.

I’m aware it was my cousins party, and they couldn’t have done more to make me feel comfortable and loved and included. But that just wasn’t me. I didn’t know how to join in. Perhaps it was because I was an only child and had no experience of playing with others. I look at that picture and my heart goes out to that child that was me.

I’m still not a lot better today, preferring my own company. I know that I must irritate people by my inability to join in a conversation and ‘take part’. I’m a lot better than I was, for which I thank my fellow students at the University of Sussex during the foundation degree course and also Mark at the Goal Group, where I volunteered for a while. I thank you for your patience and persistence. It helped.

I find that what I need is an invitation to join in. I’m no good at just forcing my way into a conversation. I have things I’d like to say, but there is no opportunity to talk. Or to comment. No one asks me for my opinion. No one invites me in. I need a gap, so I can fill it.

All of which leaves me no nearer finding out why I’m like this and what I can do about it. The nearest I can come to doing something about it is to make friends one at a time and feel comfortable enough to make a valued, real comment on their blog. I feel I’m doing that a little, and if I keep going it might get easier.

As for why I’m like this? Why are any of us the way we are? I’m quiet. I don’t dominate conversations, I prefer to listen than talk.

And maybe, just maybe, that’s alright?


About Jackie Dinnis

Welcome to my blog where I am enjoying meeting my family - past and present - one at a time. Join me as I learn who my ancestors were, where they lived, what their occupations were and what everyday life was like for them.
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4 Responses to Excuse me, may I join in please?

  1. HumaAq says:

    It’s absolutely alright, someone who observes is more intelligent anyway..

  2. Peggy Guiler says:

    I don’t think being quiet has to do with being an only child but rather more about who you are. I’m an only child and while I love solitude I also bode well in a crowd. In fact I’m often found leading the band as a speaker, facilitator or just pushing the conversation. Being rather opinionated gets me in lots of trouble. I’m trying to learn to keep it to myself a little better. Just be who you are. It is fine.

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