There’s an intense sort of pressure surrounding the first post you write for a new site. You want to be simultaneously funny and informative, inviting and memorable. It’s not so different from the first conversation you have with a potential-friend. More or less, you want to introduce yourself to the internet-at-large, in the hopes that said internet will find you cool and witty and friend-worthy.
That’s not so bad, because I am an awesome friend. I make great mix CDs. I pack stellar road-trip snacks. I always remember birthdays, and even give pretty swell gifts. (Gift giving is one my life’s passions.) I hardly sleep and I’m always hungry, making me a perfect companion for midnight waffle runs. In short, I’m the perfect friend. Unfortunately, all my Fabulous Friend traits are masked by my utter ineptitude around introductions. Introductions are the first step in winning friends and/or lovers. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you’re the best friend in the world if you don’t have any friends.* And you won’t ever make friends if you can’t properly introduce yourself.
The first time you meet someone, you’re selling yourself in the hopes that some of your interests will match up nicely with some of their hobbies and the pair of you can waltz off into the happy sunset of your new friendship. It’s not even a hard sell. Essentially, you just start talking. I, however, tend to forget every single fact about myself seconds after becoming entangled in one of those friend-making conversations. I am not interesting or charming. I’m weird and forget basic conversational skills. It’s an unfortunate fact of my life.
This calamity began in preschool. Friends are easy in preschool. You’re four years old; you like everyone and everyone likes you. It was wonderful until I decided I hated everyone. I went to one of those learn-through-love hippie schools. We sat at a round table and helped prepare snacks for our neighbors. This was meant to encourage community and sharing and eliminate greed and gluttony. Obviously, there was no Time Out corner. I made my own Time Out Station (we had a lot of stations. Paint Station, Book Station, Toy Station, Snack Station, Space Station, etc.) and refused to remove my nose from that corner for an entire day. In spurning the kind advances of my peers, by literally turning my back on them, I’ve doomed myself to a lifetime of awkward friend-making conversational attempts. I think it’s karma punishing me for my rudeness.
I’m not making this up. Years later my mother, befuddled as to why she had three completely normal daughters and one friendless misfit, decided to intervene. She sent me to summer camp, a place where you’re forced to bond with others- you can’t help but to make friends. My mother is a great lady; she was aware of my “I can’t talk to strangers” dilemma and decided to help out. Which is why she chose to send me to mime camp, a place where I wouldn’t have to say a single word. That’s right, folks. MIME CAMP. It remains one of the most traumatizing experiences of my life.
After the Mime Camp Catastrophe, we all accepted that I will never (even with speech removed) be good at introducing myself- that vital first step to acquiring friends. I’m simply doomed to have conversations that look like this:
Where are you from? (Here, there, everywhere. Maine?) What’s your major? (English.) Oh, you’re going to be a teacher? (No.) So…you read a lot, huh? What are your favorite books? (I like, um, the ones with words?) Do you have any hobbies? (Uh…probably. I like the internet!)**
I’m just not good at selling myself. That is why this blog has been registered for more than a year and is just now receiving its inaugural post. I haven’t been able to figure out the proper way to introduce myself to you. For now, I can say: Hello, my name is Lydia. We could be great friends– but only if we skip that first nightmarish Getting to Know You conversation.
*I actually have a lot of truly brilliant friends, regardless of my hyperbolic complaining. I have to clarify this fact because I can’t risk offending them and losing their friendship as a) I couldn’t find friends better than the bunch I have and b) the likelihood of acquiring replacements of any sort isn’t looking too good.
**I really do speak in parenthetical asides. It’s another amusing element of my conversational dearth.