Let me explain.
I have been in groups of riders, people, co-workers, etc. that when the event is over and everyone is saying goodbye people get hugged … women hug women … guys hug guys … women hug guys … but they seem to avoid me … or they slap me on the shoulder or shake my hand. Now I am not saying this happens ALL the time, there are times when I get a hug from someone for sure … but when I do is usually seems … forced or uncomfortable (you know what I mean right? You get the obligatory quick hug with the back pat or you get the “lean in” hug). This has been on my mind lately as to the reason for this and whether or not it is something I am projecting somehow that maybe I am “closed off” or appearing unapproachable in some way.
I was talking to Kate Thompson one day at lunch about this. I asked her, kind of directly, why this seems to be the case and her answer, while probably true, kind of bothered me.
“You don’t come across as being open to a hug”
I joke around a lot on here and in other social media outlets that I write in that I don’t like people. I am not sure that is true. I do like people, but I am very careful about who I let into my life. I don’t like people solely based on their perceived status in the community or position in the company. The world is too full of lackeys following their leaders; “yes men” tagging along behind like lap dogs and reporting back to their masters anything and everything they hear being said. Working in county government, and before that in the military, you see these people all the time. They are a dime a dozen. I am not that type and seeing it pisses me off to the point of distraction. I think I have developed this “cone of silence” around me due to some events in my life that perhaps is resulting in this unapproachable vibe. I guess if I really didn’t like people this wouldn’t even bother me, right? But it does. It weighs on my mind.
I’ve been trying to be better at this, and maybe try going in for a hug first to let them know I am not closed off. I did it yesterday when I met Steph Garcia to pick up a raffle prize, and I did it after my massage with Kristine Cox. But then I worry about being seen as “creepy”, especially if the other person is not the hugging type. Jennifer and I were out having a bite after a ride a few months back with another couple. Afterwards the obligatory hugs were given, the woman hugged Jennifer, her partner hugged Jennifer, he shook my hand, and then his partner reached out to shake my hand. And this is a woman I KNOW.
Maybe I just think too much. I have been accused of that in the past.
I also think that part of it is my style of writing in here and in the other social outlets (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). I do speak my mind, and don’t really think about hurting people’s feelings that much, especially if I am weighing in on some ignorant statement (like a recent one on FB where some jackass stated that “obese women are not sexy period”). Statements like that require rebuttal, and forceful rebuttal. I waited to see if someone else would say something first, and after being astonished that it was allowed to pass with no comment, I said something. I especially find it hard to hold back on statements made by what I call “sacred cows”; the people on these pages that have connections to the owners or pseudo-celebrities that seem to be able to say any stupid thing they want and get a pass because others don’t want to get on their bad side. Me? I couldn’t give less of a damn about these types of people. I have no patience for it. But a good example of my ability to hold back is that I have a whole blog post about Sacred Cows written and have not posted because I know the uproar it may cause (not that the SC’s read the blog though). I can play nice if I have to.
So, is it that perception of me that comes out when people meet me in person?
I was actually told by a couple of people on these sites that they were nervous to meet me in person because of my writing style. I am always interested when people tell me that because I feel that I am a pretty calm and respectful person. Yes, I have my opinions on certain things, and can be a bit hard headed, but if you come at me with a well-reasoned argument and facts I can easily be swayed. I do listen, and I readily admit if I was wrong, or I am proved wrong. If I say something that hurts others, unintentionally, I apologize and try to explain my side. What will irritate me is when I am deemed “wrong” but given no reason as to why I was wrong. Hurting someone’s feelings, on its own, does not make your point wrong. And it doesn’t mean that I misunderstood the persons meaning or intent. I have made that mistake before, reading into something someone wrote or said and pouncing on it, but let’s be honest, if I am the only person that misunderstood that’s one thing, but if the same understanding I had is shared with a number of people than I was probably right. Just saying.
So, the few of you that know me both in writing and in person, do I give off this vibe of unapproachability? I do find it interesting that this is not the case with people I have met in person before my writing started or that do not read my blog, so maybe it is related to my writing. Megan seems to hug with no hesitation, as do Mary and Michele and Beth (but to be honest Michele and Beth are so happy go lucky they’d probably hug a bear).
So, not really a triathlon related post, but something in my head that I needed to get out.
That, and even more so recently, I could sure use some hugs.
Carry on …