July 21, 2011


I am unbearably uncomfortable in social situations. The art of conversation doesn’t just elude me, it has moved to another neighborhood.

I remember wanting to get better at it in college. Brad was really good at conversations – he could actually talk to people for long periods of time. He said it was all about the questions – ask people questions. I tried, but I could only come up with one question and no follow up, then it was awkward silence.

Now, I just want the silence, preferably without the people. It sounds awful, but I’m so scatterbrained that sometimes it’s very difficult to hang in there with the current conversations I do have.

‘Teacher’ situations are different – I know how to be ‘on’ and animated and such, but the in-depth part is not really there. Inside, I’m longing for my quiet house.

Phone conversations are troublesome, too, mostly because of the ending. I never know how or when to make it end. Do I stop when I’m tired of talking or keep talking and worry that I’m wearing out the other person’s attention? With Lloyd and Brad I usually just say, “I’m done talking”, and my parents are pretty good about saying, “That’s all from this end”, and I’ve learned that it’s rude to say, “I really have to pee now”, even if it’s true.

There’s probably a self-help group for this, but it probably involves conversation.

About Lauren

Lauren Sommerer is a preschool teacher who likes to build prototypes, grow cats, cook things once, save money, reduce, reuse and recycle.

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14 Responses to “Alright”

  1. Mary Ellen Said on:

    Here’s a trick I like to use to help me exit phone conversations: At the very beginning of the conversation I inform the other party that I am waiting for a train (when on the cell phone)or for the UPS or ice cream truck to arrive. Then, when I am ready to be finished talking I just tell them in a hurried voice, “Oh, I’m sorry, it’s here, gotta let you go!” The other party is all “Ok, you go hurry and catch your train, enjoy your parcel or try the Eskimo pie! It’s like a get outta jail free card!


  2. Peggy Said on:

    Haha! Well…your art of writing sure is good & hilarious…it’s the best entertainment of my day!

    And it’s very hard for me to believe that you’re not a good conversationalist. But here’s what I do whenever there is an awkward silence when talking to someone I don’t know very well. Maybe it will work for you too:


  3. Peggy Said on:

    I also think this is another area where life ‘sound tracks’ would come in handy. You know, some nice music just starts playing whenever there is awkward silence. The right soundtrack can make anything seem different from what it really is.



  4. Lauren's mom Said on:

    That top cartoon is one of the BEST EVER!! I love it.

    Almost everyone (exclude your dad) has difficulty with ending conversations. Karen M.’s best is, “Talk to you later!” Mine is, “Well, nice talking to ya.”
    I tell people at church that the worst thing you can do is not speak to the other person. Then they feel unwelcome. Say, “Hi, my name is ____” They will usually take it from there.

    Sorry for the instructive comment. I have given it many times.

    P. S. Dad just keeps talking! 🙂


  5. Brad Said on:

    Hehe… I’m not always sure what to do at the end of phone conversations either. Sometimes if you’re just quiet for a little while, the other person will end it. …or it could just end up being an extendend period of awkward silence.


  6. Gretchen Said on:

    Particularly while living in the South, I noticed people often end conversations with, “Well, I’d better let you go…” as if they are holding you captive, when really they are the ones that want to be done talking. It works though.


  7. Keren Said on:

    Well, I think I solve this problem on the front end.. I never actually start talking to people.


  8. Deanne Said on:

    Lloyd, would you please consider installing a Google+ plug-in? I would love to plus this post. And I’m too lazy to open it on my actual computer where I have a little Chrome app that will allow me to do that. Plus (pun intended), maybe a plug-in on your site would allow me to plus individual comments, which would be cool.

    Thank you for your consideration! Deanne


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