Oh, how far is our self-perception away from the perceptions of us by others!
"You need to be more extroverted," my restaurant manager told me when I asked him what I need to do to become a server. That's true. I need more "flair," in Office Space parlance--to be more peppy. While I am probably, or surely, more outgoing than I have ever been, I'm still not inclined to strike up conversations when the situation does not demand it. Gone is my former anxiety-in-social-situations curse. I'd term myself halting but somewhat smooth. I have no problem sounding off on a subject in front of 25 young people that I teach, or a class of grad students. That's pretty extroverted for me. I'm just not inclined to partake in aimless conversation, which for many people, is an end-in-itself, a way of dealing with the loneliness of the modern world. I've never been afraid of the dark.
I wonder how much of this is physical. I'm tall, 6'2", dark and muscular (by choice). When I had long, long hair, I could tell sometimes that my appearance alone intimidated the fuck out of some people. Certainly I'm not so narcissistic as to regard other people with contempt. That possible perception seemed to hold John Kerry back in 2004. G-d grant me just a bit more charisma than he!
So, Deyo S. didn't seem too enthralled with my idea. "I'll mention it in the manager's meeting." A possible false hope. But when it comes down to it, the sheer amount of words that come out of my mouth are not that low; I talk as much as the other servers at the restaurant; say "How are you doing?" as much. But do I have an intense eye that puts some people off? I endeavor to smile more, and imagine being a holy figure that attracts others instead of repels them. Not that I do that, but geez, "Oh, how far is our self-perception away from the perceptions of us by others!"