When you are an awkwardly mannered person such as myself, you tend to avoid confrontation. Often, doing so makes the situation tenfold more uncomfortable. I don’t like conflict. No matter how prepared I am, rehearsing whatever message I want to get across, I end up turning bright red and agreeing with whatever the other party has to say. You’re so right, I’m the asshole! Sorry for wasting your time. Hence, I didn’t really excel as a peer mediator in elementary school. Our job was to work with the youngins getting into trouble during recess. Well, that and wearing piercingly-neon green hats. I did dominate on that end, totally rocked the neon. But, trying to manage conflict while also making sure both sides see you as the “cool, relatable, I wish-she-was-my-sister 5th grader” was harder to pull off.
Even with my best of friends, I’ve had trouble telling them when I was upset. You know that move when you mean to text one person but instead, accidentally text the person you are talking about? Yeah, I invented that. There’s nothing worse for someone who doesn’t like confrontation than standing right next to L* as she receives the text meant for J* that reads, “L* is a total bitch.”
When you are dating, you quickly add people to the “Must Avoid” list. Out on the town, I expend so much energy avoiding guys I’ve dated/hooked up with that my entire evening turns into a game of “hide and… hide.” The last time I played this game I walked into a room where he was the literally the only one in there, and we made that brief, unavoidable eye contact. That would have been my opportunity to just say “Hey, how are you?” Simple. Easy. It’s not like we had any big falling-out that was worthy of full evasion, yet that’s just how I function. During a fight or flight situation, I always have my boarding pass printed and ready for my flight. Unless, I’m trapped on a boat. With the guy I blew off the year before who I assumed I’d never see again. Lo and behold, of all the cruise ships, he was on mine. Typical. Good thing I know how to swim.
*You probably know who you are.