Believe it or not, I'm shy. It works in odd ways. I have no qualms about standing up in front of people and giving a talk (or performing--but I haven't done that in many, many years-if you were at RT in Houston in 2000, you saw me perform), but throw me into a cocktail party situation, and I believe I come off aloof and cold...not because I am snooty, but because I'm shy. Add my height into the equation and I come off as doubly arrogant. I don't mean it, really (okay, I'm sure sometimes I do), but I've never been good at first impressions or making small talk. I'm so afraid of saying something stupid that I don't talk. Or if I don't know anyone, it's really hard for me to just jump in and enter a conversation.
I know most people are like that. The cocktail party situation is hard for almost everyone. I really admire those people I call magnets--the ones who can find their way anywhere. I know three of them off the top of my head. No matter where they go, they find friends, whether or not they knew those people before. They are entertaining, are never afraid to say something stupid because they are the first to laugh at themselves, and seem to attract a crowd wherever they land. I want that skill.
My own shyness extends to continuing situations. I met a big name author at RomCon this year. She was completely charming and pleasant. We had a great conversation together, even to the point of exchanging contact info so she could send me Hungarian copies of her books when they arrive for my mother. We ate dinner one night together. For me it was a BIG deal. I saw her again at the RWA National conference two weeks later. I said "Hi," but then slunk away, convinced she couldn't possibly remember me. I bet she thought I was being rude, but it was my shyness kicking in. I once saw a different BIG name author walking toward me once at National. She smiled at me in greeting; I averted my gaze in panic.
I'm trying to get better. I'm trying to practice talking to strangers and exuding warmth, but somehow it's easier in the grocery store than when I actually have to interact for a while with someone. I'm really not a snob (except in some things), or rude; I really am afraid that I'll say something stupid and make you hate me.
So if you ever meet me and you're underwhelmed, now you'll understand why. Not that I'm a comedian when you do get to know me, but I do do voices.
Books I'm reading now:
Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts
The True Love Quilting Club by Lori Wilde
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (trying to plug that hole in my education)