Monday, September 08, 2008

Foot In Mouth Syndrome

I think that one of the better things about being an introvert is that you don't stick your foot in your mouth as often as extraverts do. Introverts are cursed with a different kind of folly. Most often, introverts will be in situations where what they want to say doesn't come to them quickly enough. And later, after these encounters have ended, they typically toss the conversation around in their head & aggravatingly figure out what they SHOULD have said (e.g. Costanza's "The Jerk Store" line). Not extraverts, though. They always get it out. Problem for them is that they can't take it back if the "it" is offensive.

I have a couple of friends from high school who I meet every so often for dinner just to hang out & shoot the bull. The husband (let's call him "Nick") and I enjoy cutting up together. Nick is such a naturally funny guy that he makes me want to be just as hillarious as he is. I do my best to raise my game in his presence.

Generally I don't think of myself as a comedian. To me, there are two kinds of people in this world: jesters & laughers. I'm generally a laugher. It takes all kinds of discipline & strength for me to not giggle at my own jokes when I'm trying to get them out. I'm just a laugher. But when I'm around Nick, I step up my game. He makes me want to be a better jester.

Anyhow, Nick's jestering & extraversion get him into trouble on occassion. Several months ago, at the end of May, I enjoyed dinner with this couple and Nick's wife told me a story about an encounter Nick had had at the grocery store with someone we all knew from our high school graduating class. You have to understand, Nick & his wife are very cute, and they were the first couple in our group of friends to get married (still no kids... kind of strange, no?). Anyway, Nick is at the grocery store getting milk & bread, and he runs into an old HS pal of our's (let's call her Ashley). Nick strikes up a conversation & asks how she was doing. Ashley, who apparently could not muster up the strength to feign joy, briefly explained that she was about to get a divorce. Nick, without missing a beat, said, "So are Hannah & I!" Awkward pause. "No, not really..." Crickets...

So awful. He might as well have continued, "Nah, our life is actually just fine. Sucks for you to be all broken up, huh..."

Anyway, eating dinner with them again this past Friday night, Nick told me his latest gaff. Nick does the kind of work where he occassionally goes on the road. There is a woman in his office in her 40's who also has to do work on the road for their company, and so they were in their boss' office discussing their next trip. This particular woman just got married a month ago, and Nick & his wife attended. They were proposing making the rounds of their next trip by renting a car together & swinging through all the places they needed to hit in about a 5-day span. So in the middle of the meeting, Nick says, "Yeah, boss, the real reason she wants to get away with me is that she's tired of this new husband & one month of marriage has just been too rough," or something to that effect. This was on Thursday. On Friday, this woman goes to Nick & has to explain how her marriage is actually having difficulty and how she's in the process of divorcing her new husband.

Foot right back in mouth. MAN I'm glad I'm not an extravert!


Chad Billy-Steve Pknicholson said...

I'm glad I'm not Nick...

Jordan said...

Since we have trouble accomplishing putting our feet in our mouths in real life, us introverts create blogs to exponentially expand the opportunity.

My personal big problem is pregnancy speculation. Since we have about 30 couples in our class at church, all between 25-35, we tend to have a new pregnancy every other week. It is sort of a game to guess who is next. However, if you jump the gun and that 'pudge' isn't a new bundle of joy, you are officially in the doghouse.

Dan said...

Love the description of introverts! That's exactly what I do all the time. I didn't even know until just recently that extraverted people don't have conversations beforehand, just to work things out in case that opportunity to talk about a particular subject presents itself.

And Jordan, my personal philosophy is just to avoid pregnancies altogether. That's a risk without a lot of upside in my opinion...Of course, it helps when I don't have many pregnant friends.

Anonymous said...

Ok, i'm not going to lie. I laughed out loud big time when I read the "So are Hannah and I!... Not really." What a great line. There are so many things that would be way more funny if you had no heart. I feel like I can identify with that guy.


Having conversations in your head beforehand just in case they ever come up? That also made me lol :)

III said...

You just don't understand, Lloyd. Talking is hard for us I's unless we have it scripted out. The anticipation of having to talk can just be such a stressful experience sometimes.

Anonymous said...

as you mentioned in this very blog, it would probably be better for some of us extroverts if we felt some stress about opening our big pieholes.