No More Perfect Jen: Friends don’t let friends be narcessists

No More Perfect Jen title slide

Let me just start by saying I am a weirdo stalker. For many reasons, but one of them has been with one of my best friends. This woman is amazing, and probably a witch (maybe not because she is actually a Pastor). She has this insane ability to become best friends within 15 minutes of meeting someone. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. Every time I am in awe. I have people in my life who I have been trying to make my friends or have a not-awkward conversation with for years, and here she is making the world her oyster.

{Interestingly enough I looked it up and the phrase “world is your oyster” is from Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. At least according to a random website. Just nerd FYI}

I’ve been like a overweight and slightly clumsy ninja, usually holding a Starbucks, secretly watching her during these meet and friend situations to figure out: how does she do it?

Like, what phrase does she open with? How does she engage people so they open up? What it’s about her that makes people so comfortable?

Magic. That’s my answer.

Well, it was until I read the No More Perfect Friends chapter of No More Perfect Mom’s by Jill Savage. She nailed it.

“I once read in a Dear Abby newspaper column that there are two kinds of people in this world: those who walk into a room and say, ‘Here I am. Come talk to me. Come ask me about me. Come make me feel comfortable,’ and those who walk into a room and say, ‘There you are! You look interesting to get to know. Tell me about yourself.’ It’s a subtle but essential distinction.”

That’s it! She is the “‘There you are! You look interesting to get to know. Tell me about yourself.” person. I’m not sure if she actually says it but it’s true.

And I am VERY much not. One of my bad habits I have is that I tend to bring stuff back to me in conversations. It’s horrible. I’m completely self-centered, and I see myself doing it time and time again. I try to be relatable, and all I know how to talk about are my experiences (I am an expert on nothing), so I try to use that to converse with people. But it fails. It ends up being a self-absorbed ramble…like every single day.

And boy, do I need people to make me feel comfortable. If I am in a crowd and no one is talking to me, my first reaction is not who should I talk to? But why doesn’t anyone love me?

See my problem? I do. I just don’t know what to do about it. For some reason I adored Jill’s phrasing.

“‘Here I am. Come talk to me. Come ask me about me. Come make me feel comfortable”

vs.

“‘There you are! You look interesting to get to know. Tell me about yourself.”

I don’t think I’ll use those words, but it’s a really good place to start. So now you tell me (remember, leave a comment, enter to win a book!) what are some engaging conversation starters that you have found worked? Any socializing secrets? If you have none (like me), regale us with what do you struggle with when it comes to engaging people in conversation?

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2 thoughts on “No More Perfect Jen: Friends don’t let friends be narcessists

  1. I will always remember my dad, and how it seemed he could establish a real connection with people almost instantaneously. Used to drive my mom nuts, because it meant we’d be at the gas station for a half hour, while the gas guy told dad his life story! I figured out what dad’s magic phrase was: “How ARE you?”. It wasn’t the words, it was how he said it — when they heard it, people just knew that dad really did want to know how they were. His whole demeanor indicated that he was truly interested in what that person had to say. It’s what made him a wonderful Methodist minister. When he spoke to the congregation, it always seemed like he was having an intimate conversation with a few close friends, not a church full of strangers.

  2. Like you Jen I am a “here I am come talk to me person” but when people do come up, and start talking to me , I can be very judgmental towards people when I would scan the room to see if I could find the “other awkwardly out of place person.” Once located usually a smile and “hi” was the ice breaker and I end up talking about kids, pets, or my complicated relationship. Nothing serious to the conversation just a little something to either to get me through the event or a way to test the waters and see if we have enough commonality to build a friendship. It was brought to my attention by God that I was passing judgement on people he was trying to plant in my life, I’ve been working on it as well as thinking before I speak so I don’t babble, or have an overly geeky moment. I can’t tell you yet how effective this has been as I’ve only found a few people to test this on, work contacts I must develop. It’s been tough but I’m trying.

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