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20:23 - Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015
90% self-monitor
I think there are people who are fundamentally comfortable interacting with other human beings, and people who are not.

That's not to say that the latter group would be satisfied as hermits, because obviously pretty much anyone would lose a good chunk of sanity being utterly alone with no human contact. I think psychology has been pretty clear on that front.

But just because everyone needs human contact to stay sane doesn't mean that everyone experiences that contact as stress-free.

What made me think of this is the farmers market. I go every Tuesday and interact with a good number of vendors. Because of the nature of their jobs and how they make money, all of them are essentially required to be boisterous and loudly shout about their wares and ply people with samples and try to remember everyone's names.

There are vendors to whom this obviously comes natural. My fruit vendor, without exerting an ounce of effort, remembers my name, what time I usually get there, the fruit I like, and banters with me easily despite the fact that I am a bad banterer and bantering usually requires two participants. Same with the vegetable guy who always give me free mizuna.

But then there are vendors who, outwardly, are doing the same thing, but you can tell it really taxes them. Small talk dies on their lips on the second sentence, and smiles freeze on their faces. I see them on their cigarette breaks rolling their eyes and slumping against trees. They offer their samples, but it's in more of a pleading tone. It's not about the degree of success. Guys who are surrounded by battling customers do it. They just don't know how to ask strangers to try their stuff non-awkwardly.

I'm sure I'm being way too simplistic making unfair generalizations, but that is a necessity of such a short and not well planned post.

It might just be my way of saying: I don't know how to talk to any of you other humans. Every time I do it I am 90% self-monitor. But I have discovered signs in others that suggest I may not be the only one.


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