I didn’t learn that I am socially awkward, I already am acutely aware of that. I am no good in a social situation, I either hide in the corner, talk too much or both which is a strange combination but one I managed just this past week.
I was asked, in fact, no, I volunteered to take some photos for a friend’s event to launch their non profit organization. I thought I would be great, I like taking photos, I take ok photos. I’ve got this.
I’ve not got this.
I knew there were other people taking photos, so none of us were the sole recorders of the event. When I arrived the first person I saw was a huge man with a huge beard and a huge camera and a huge flash, working the room like he was there to take pictures and only there to take pictures. Like I was supposed to be.
Except I didn’t, I just froze, the room was pretty small, the turn out was amazing and all I could think was that I would be the little person with the little (ok normal sized) camera following the giant man around taking the same darn photos.
In the end I chatted to some people and even joked (yeah, very funny) with my friend about how I hadn’t taken many pictures. I left and ended up with 9 decent photos.
Then in the days which followed, I did what I always do following a social event, I deconstruct the whole thing. What I should have said, what I did say, cringe, who I should have talked to, who I did talk to, cringe, who talked to me, what I wore, what I should have worn.
In this case I also included in my review of my crapness, what and who I could have taken photos of. Who I could have talked to before hand about what sort of photos they wanted and how best to take them. I should have made myself a plan, even if I didn’t need it, just a few notes in my pocket for moments of panic and inaction.
You know what I learnt from all of this? Stop. When I panic, or realize I am not doing what I am supposed to be doing or feeling even the slightest bit overwhelmed. Stop. Just stop, find a friend (this event was full of them) and maybe ask their advice, maybe get some ideas together. I went with one of my good friends and she would have totally understood and no doubt come up with some ideas for successful photos. But no, I panicked and made excuses thinking I was being hilarious (my backup tactic whenever I am overwhelmed), snapped a few photos and left. The most annoying thing was the photos I took, I liked them, but I didn’t take any more. I needed to take a minute or two somewhere quiet, with a notebook or notes on my phone and I needed a plan.
Another thing I learnt was that I don’t realize that I am panicking while I clearly am. I think I am being social and chatting away and joining in like a normal person, except that I am not, I am joining in like someone who is overwhelmed and doesn’t know what to say to anyone, so I spout rubbish. Then the next day I do the deconstruct like I always do and think lots of things like ‘I said that to them?’ ‘Why on earth did I say that to them?’ ‘Why didn’t I ask this that or the other?’ Blah blah blah and so it continues in my mind.
I will say that I have never taken photos for someone before of a big social event, so I did at least learn in case I need to do it again.
Thank goodness for the bearded man who was flashing away left right and centre taking photos, because I certainly wasn’t.
Next time I will be snapping all over the place and following my plan, because I will have one.
Hopefully I will remember not to panic in the future, or at least have a little back up plan.
Happy Wednesday x
Oh gorgeous I know exactly what you are talking about here. I often come across as either rude and aloof or a bit manic when I get anxious. And spend the same amount of dreadful energy on pulling apart what I did wrong.
I do like your idea of taking a plan though I’m sure even if I didn’t refer to it it would be a bit of a security blanket!
Exactly Lila, I think people think I am rude or a crazy person (when I am really trying to be a social person…)!
Clare – I so relate to what you’ve written, and thank you for sharing it. And isn’t it good, really, that we can learn (thank goodness!) xx
Yes, that has to be the positive of it all Helen! Now I just need to remember to stick to the plan next time…
Definitely some lessons learnt there Clare but good on you for putting yourself out there in the first place…practice makes perfect right?
I suppose we do just have to keep on going Sarah!
Oh my darling. Big man, big beard, big camera with his big flash is enough to make anyone feel a bit small. Totally human!
You know I too am an awkward and occasionally inappropriate blurter! Large gathering make me edgy.
I think a plan of action for sure is a good laid plan and the best part is it didn’t defeat you it just shook your confidence a bit… next time…. next time.
Exactly, next time I will have it all together!!!
Oh Clare, I totally panic and the huge man with the huge camera would have scared me off too! I felt a bit like that at the museum event I was invited to as a ‘blogger’, when the press were there taking their ‘proper pictures’, and me with my phone…virtual hugs for you and making a plan sounds like a plan!! xx
Ha! The ‘proper’ camera syndrome. I am sure your photos were fab x