Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I'm a Facebook Flopperoo

I've never been good with small talk and idle chit-chat and -- let's face it -- communicating in any way in social situations. Even now, as an adult leading a professional life, there are times I'll linger in the bathroom stall, hiding, waiting for that golden moment when the bathroom is completely empty before I emerge and quickly wash my hands so I don't have to engage in small talk at the sinks.

I have literal surges of fear jolt me if I open the door to leave the bathroom and find someone coming in. I do the dance of the eye contact and hope against hope that the other person coming down the hallway is as socially awkward as I am.

So you'd think that in a controlled environment like Facebook, I'd do better. I can read before I have to react. I can carefully plan things out. I can hit a home run every time.


Instead, I'm a Facebook flopperoo. Today, in fact, more evidence of the fact:

First arrow shows me blindly stumbling into a Facebook conversation. Second arrow shows the subsequent response.

I drive a Honda. It's not a van, but that's okay. So I respond:

Oops. He wasn't talking to me. And still isn't talking to me. That's okay. I'm the one intruding on the conversation here.

Now, of course Facebook doesn't have the physical cues one would see and hear and feel if we were in the same room having this conversation. But there's enough contextual information here that I should have guesses that the comment directly following mine wasn't addressed to me. This doesn't represent a big social faux pas, of course, but for people like me who already struggle in social situations, well, it's difficult.

Those of you who don't struggle socially probably are rolling your eyes at all of this, as I know the person whose Facebook thread this is would be if he were reading this now. Y'all are lucky in that your brains know how to handle this kind of stuff. Folks like me -- and I have to include my oldest son in this group -- have to come up with coping strategies to deal with the kind of stuff you guys handle almost on remote control.

So bear with us Facebook Flopperoos. We mean well, even if we're awkward.

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