I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I’ve got this funky habit that has created more awkward moments than I care to admit.
Here’s how it works: my wife and I invite people over, make small talk, finish dinner, and get a good conversation going. Then, at some point in the conversation, I abruptly interrupt the festivities by handing our guests a pen and asking them to sign our guestbook, which effectively operates as an invitation for them to leave.
Every time it happens, the guests politely scoot out the door, we say goodbye with pleasant smiles, and then my wife looks at me with exasperation and asks, “Why did you do that again? Why don’t you just let people leave when they want to?”
Well, here’s why: Although I’m usually a pretty confident guy, for some reason, when it comes to most house guests, I have an anxious fear that: (1) guests will feel obligated to stay, even if they need to go; and (2) our awesome conversation is going to get derailed by a moment of awkward silence – and I can’t stand awkward silences.
So when we have guests over and the conversation is going well, before I know it, I’m abruptly shutting things down by saying, “Well, thanks for coming. Make sure and sign the guest book before you go!”
People, this is weird. This is what insecurity does to you.
I don’t know what your insecurity triggers are, but there’s a good chance you don’t know what they are either. So you might consider asking your spouse or a close friend if you’ve got any odd social quirks, anything you do that makes you come off as socially awkward. I could be wrong, but I’m willing to bet that whatever your quirks are, they’re related to some kind of anxious fear or insecurity inside.
The good thing about digging up this stuff is that it’s a fresh, peculiar area to take to God, a new opportunity to be like, “Father, I am so weird. I’m irrationally afraid of people, and I don’t even realize it. Come into these strange weeds of my heart and parent me out of my hidden insecurities.”
The good news is, even if you don’t pray that prayer, God will probably be gracious enough to send someone along to be like, “What is your deal? Why do you do that?” But when that happens, don’t resent that person – thank them, and thank God for them; because He’s probably using them to reveal another area where He’s eager to see you walk in freedom.
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When I read the title of your blog post, I instantly knew you were talking to me. 🙂 I really enjoy your way of putting words to the truth.
Awesome! I was talking to myself too. 🙂
I’ve read (don’t know if it is true) that some Native Americans visit a family on special occasions and sit for hours without saying a word; leading the reader to infer that there is some mystical sacredness to sharing company in silence. Certainly, our social paradigms don’t allow for silence. However I once met a couple from another culture who invited us to their home. After dinner, we all sat in the living room and they showed no interest in talking – they just sat with a grin. I left in shock . Yet, perhaps we should learn to not view silence as awkward.
Anyway, I guess we can all be weird. Let me share my issues: 1. I used to have an anxiety with Time; feeling I was wasting it or wanted to finish other tasks when guests would linger (yet the feeling left once the guests left (and I did not get to any tasks done afterwards). Sometimes I just wanted to go to bed early. 2. I’ve felt at times that it takes a lot of work to maintain the conversation interesting or discover mutual interests. 3. Sometimes (regardless of loving and liking people) I would just get board or impatient; or feel a little out of synch, especially when my humor was not working. Maybe we tend to be too cerebral as conversationalist and should just show pictures, play board games, or set up the TV to show a movie.
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