Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Little Old Moi?

Someone who has a high position in the place where I work asked me if I would be attending a work related event. I was caught off guard initially, because this person normally never acknowledges my existence. We have been walking passed each other in the hallway for about three years now, he is tall and seems to look straight over my head with a gentle crooked stare into the distance, where there is nothing to look at, and walks slowly with a wide loping gait. I often look at the floor when I pass him and cant wait for our cold-shouldered dance to end. He intimidates me.

When he spoke to me, I think I paused out of disbelief that this froggy old voice was asking a question in my direction.

I replied with an anemic, “um, yea maybe.” This person then clearly raised their eyebrows about my perceived indifference and walked off.

The thing is that I am still in the “Wow you are talking to little old me, you could not possibly really care if I will be at this event and I am flattered that you would ask, but I still know you dont care. Surely you cant mean little old moi?”

But what I never, ever think is that they might want me there and that my slightly puny reaction seems like a slight to them and to their event. But its really a slight towards my own importance. If I were fluffed up with the proper confidence, it would also in a way, convey respect.

Then it got me thinking that I am always putting myself down around people, but no one wants to hear you put yourself down. It is never that funny and it is pretty uncomfortable for all involved. It is such an integral part of my personality now, especially my humor, that its difficult to imagine really turning this ship around and smiling and saying “why yes, I am looking forward to it”, but I think its time to try.


  1. As always, a great post!

    You can change it by trying new ways to react to people...just practice!

    "...seems to look straight over my head with a gentle crooked stare into the distance, where there is nothing to look at and a walks slowly with a wide loping gait.

    This could also mean that he is not socially adept. If he is a scholar and spends a lot of time with books and experiments (versus people), he may be highly regarded in his field but shy, reserved and socially backward.

    What would happen if you reviewed his response to you as if you weren't intimidated by him? Would your view of his response change?

    Don't laugh, but it reminds me of what my mom told me as a child when I saw a spider. "Stop screaming! He is probably more of afraid of YOU than you are of HIM!"

  2. Gosh, I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes I think he sees more and knows more about people around him than he lets on. And ever so often, some of that knowledge escapes and it scares the heck out of everyone. If it helps to ease the awkwardness around him, just think of what we once said in a bar about his dungeon (errr... office) and the big boulder that guards the doorway on the other side.