My boyfriend Vinh is an incredibly friendly man. He makes friends with people in drive-thru’s, servers at restaurants, even the guy who started our cellphone plan. He’s on texting terms with the guy who sold him his car, and he’s got literally thousands of friends scattered between the east and west coast. Every time we go to a public place, a festival, or the grocery store, there is someone coming up to him and saying hello. Even when we are driving down the road, he will see friends in cars driving past or on the side of the road.
Everyone at his workplace thinks he’s the bomb diggity, he’s got a million adopted younger siblings, and customers go out of their way to go visit him regularly. Whenever I mention that he’s my boyfriend, the immediate reaction is “Oh! He’s such a nice guy! He’s so friendly! He would recognize us right away!” (Which, I’m gonna put it out there, he doesn’t. There have been many situations where he’s excitedly greeted someone, they parted ways, and he mutters to me under his breath that he had no idea who they were.)
I love that he’s so outgoing. It’s one of the things that drew me to him. I love that it’s so easy for him to connect with people because it makes our experiences with people in the service industry really easy. He makes people WANT to do things for us because he makes them have fun. He makes them laugh and have fun and breaks up the mundanity of their workday. I love it when I get to work with customers like him, because you can’t help but like them and remember them the next time they come in. Everyone likes my man, and he likes almost everyone too.
Then there’s me.
That’s not to say I don’t have my own positive qualities. I have lots of them (dramatically throws hair over shoulder with lots of anime sparkles). But for now, we are just going to focus on this one.
I have a tendency for introversion. When I’m first meeting people, I’m quiet. I gauge how interested the people I’m meeting are, and that will result in my response. I’m super careful when I’m meeting new people, and a lot of people mistake that for me being standoffish or stuck up. Where he is an outgoing dancey delight in social situations, I’m a wallflower who prefers to hang out with people I know. While he’s out having dance battles, I’m sipping my drink and completely content watching him and cheering him on.
Sometimes it’s awkward to be the only shy one in the group. People don’t know how to talk to me because they aren’t sure if I’m just a jerk or not. And sometimes I wonder if his friends don’t expect someone more outgoing to be with their most personable member. They all have their stories to tell, and jokes that they know, and memories to share. When I tell stories, I tend to babble because I get nervous and give a lot of back story, which usually makes the story sound really odd. Then the vicious cycle of awkward-embarrassed-babble-awkward starts again and I just kinda stop talking after a while. Sometimes I can’t help but feel jealous of how many people he knows who really seem to like him, and it makes me want to just stay home sometimes.
But being there with Vinh makes me feel so much better. It makes me more confident, because I know that he thinks my stories are interesting, he listens to me, and he doesn’t draw attention to the fact that I feel embarrassed. He holds my hand, puts his arm around me, and kisses me on the cheek, making me feel supremely confident that no matter how badly I embarrass myself, he’ll be there to make me feel better.
I am supremely lucky to have a guy who is so socially adept that he makes up for my lack thereof with great ease. Leave me a comment below about who or what makes you feel less awkward in social situations!