That One Time I Went on My Very First Date

As a little girl I always thought my first date would be this magical experience.  I pictured myself as this young innocent girl wearing a pretty new sun dress excited to meet Prince Charming.  Just like in every 90’s teen movie, the guy would pick me up and we would have a wonderful time at a casual local spot. He would have on a pair of jeans, a nice shirt and look simply dream.  I would order something cheap so I wouldn’t seem too high maintenance, and then offer to pay, but he would be too much of a gentleman to let me. Our conversation would have a beautiful flow of sarcasm and charm mixed with a little goofy humor. In my mind the date would be a moment to remember.

But reality had other plans…

You see, as much I wanted to live out my fantasy there were a few key factors that prohibited that from coming into fruition. First, I couldn’t let him pick me up. What if he was a serial killer? I’m not photogenic enough to have my mug plastered on the side of a milk carton. So instead I met him at Starbucks. It was too windy to wear that pretty new dress, so instead I wore jeans, a tunic, and a cardigan. I pulled into the crowded strip center parking lot 10 mins early and parked my car. I got out and saw him already sitting there looking at his phone. He was early, #BonusPoints!  As he stood up the wrinkles began to fall on the Brooks Brothers’ polo shirt and khaki shorts he was wearing. He adjusted the satchel on his shoulder (I guess he planned to do homework on the date?), shook my hand and said hello. It was a highly uneventful greeting. He went inside the store, I followed.

Yep you read that right, homeboy didn’t even open the door for me #BonusPointsRevoked.

After he ordered his Americana with a splash of cream I assumed it was my turn to order. Nope, he pulled out his wallet and paid before I had time to utter a word. Then he stepped aside. So I ordered my Iced Green Tea and paid with the gift card my mom gave me for Christmas. After I picked up my drink, I turned around to ask him where he wanted to sit, but he was already sitting outside. At this point I seriously considered leaving cause he was already displaying some very jerk like behavior, but this was my first time on a date and I said I would see it through.

So I went outside and sat adjacent to him at the table. The spot he had chosen had an interesting aroma of roasted coffee beans, his cologne, and the dumpster a mere 15 feet away. I looked across the table and saw him squinting at me. I’m not sure if he was confused by my appearance, if the sun was in his eyes or if the poor guy left his glasses at home, but the squinting never ceased.

I was sure the date wouldn’t last long considering how quiet he had been, but boy was I wrong. This guy was a talker. He talked for a long time about his 45 year old roommate who hates him for not cleaning and his love of fencing. I tried hard to be engaging, but my knowledge of fencing begins and ends with that scene in Parent Trap where Hallie and Annie meet for the first time. For the remainder of the date we talked about his career as a librarian and briefly about my taste in music.

When we ended the date he gave me this completely unnecessary awkward side hug. As we walked to our individual cars he said, “We should do this again”. The cynic in me whispered “yeah right” but my mouth simply said, “Yeah”.

I never expected to hear from him again and guess what…. I didn’t.

Now all I need is an American Apparel t-shirt that says “I went on a horrible first date and all I got was this t-shirt… but at least it’s soft”

t-shirt

An Awkward Girl’s Guide to Networking

As an awkward girl, networking is the bane of my existence. I really can’t even describe how much I hate it. We’ve already talked about my lack of conversation skills, so the idea of making small talk with a bunch of people I don’t know is just not appealing to me. But with all of that said, networking plays a vital part in surviving today’s society. It can be hard to find a job, friends or even relationships without it.

Now that I have reignited my job search, I find that it is incredibly hard to find leads without networking. Sometimes in life we just have to get over things that make us uncomfortable and learn to fake it till we make it. So in efforts to help my fellow awkward girls, I have compiled a quick and easy guide to becoming a master networker.

Wear A Conversation Starter

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The whole idea of networking is to meet new people.Right? But that is also the hardest part of networking. As socially awkward people we often shy away from approaching people we don’t know. So why not create an opportunity for others to approach us. Wearing a conversation starter is an opportunity to bring the crowd to you. At your next networking event try wearing an interesting pair of shoes or clothing item. The other people in the room will be so intrigued that they will want get to know you or learn more information about that specific item you are wearing.

Become a Complimenting Queen

Randomly introducing yourself to new people 7 times out of 10 creates a very awkward encounter. You’ve gone up to a person, told them your name, did the whole weird giggle “nice to meet you” dance, then what? Usually its the dreaded AWKWARD SILENCE. Try to reverse the roles from the tip above. Instead of starting a conversation with an introduction, start it by complimenting the other person. Find their conversation starter and tell them how much you love it (even if you dont, but try to sound sincere). Everyone loves to be praised. Just make sure your compliment is appropriate. You want this to be an ice breaker, you don’t want to come off as creepy. Limit your compliment to 2 sentences. Try something like, ” I love your shoes! Where did you get them?” The key is to keep it simple.

Come Up With A Go-To Question

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People love to talk about themselves. A great way to limit any possibility of the conversation getting awkward is to steer it in a direction you are comfortable with. Come up with a go-to question you can ask the new people you meet. For instance, a few months ago I got the opportunity to attend a blogging conference. My go-to question was, ” What inspired you to start blogging?” In case you didn’t know bloggers love to talk about their blog and I love to listen, it was a win- win situation.

Become the Follow Up Master

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The first step to becoming a follow up master, is to develop a question that relates to the current conversation. Let’s say you are talking to a person and they just told you they are a doctor. Ask them whether or not they have a private practice or work in a clinic and why they chose to go that route. Whatever it is you ask them try to make sure it is an open ended question. You want the conservation to have a continuous flow.

Relate, Relate, Relate

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In order for networking to be beneficial, people need a chance to get to know you also. What if the person you are talking to isn’t a “follow up master” and they haven’t asked you a question. Try to find something that they are talking about that you can relate to. Say for instance, they are going on and on about their love for Pink (the singer, not the color) think about a Pink song you love (this shouldn’t be hard, there all amazing) and insert yourself into the conversation.

Bring a Buddy

 

Caitlin (left) and her best friend Callyn. They've been best friends since grade school  They both graduate next year from high school. We love Callyn.

Last but not least, bring a friend with you to your next networking event. Awkward environments are always more comfortable when familiar faces are around. Just try not to use your friend as a crutch. You are there to meet new people.

Have Fun

 

have-fun

Its really that simple. Don’t stress about the possible awkward encounters. Just enjoy yourself and have fun!

How to Start a Conversation and Make Friends

Starting a conversation has never in a skill I possessed. I get all nervous and clammy, then idiotic words flow from my mouth.

Just the other day I was at the grocery store buying some ice cream and some feminine products(the joys of being a girl). As the cashier was ringing up my purchases she said, “oh my gosh I love these”. Since ‘these’ is the plural term, obviously I figured she was talking about the hygiene products. Me being a genius and all, I simply responded “I know they absorb really well”. Before the words were finished flowing out off my tongue I quickly wanted to snatch them back into my mouth.

If I was pale, my face would have been red. Actually I think my face was red. Awkwardness can’t even describe what just happened. I think she was going to tell me she was actually talking about the ice cream but I was way too uncomfortable to continue the conversation. I quickly paid and scurried the heck out of there, wishing the last minute and a half had never taken place.

After that embarrassing conversation I thought it might be a wise idea to read the book I bought from Half Price Books about a month ago. It’s called How to Start a Conversation and Make Friends. Originally I bought the book thinking this may be funny, plus it was only a dollar. Now I realize in my current situation this book is a God send.

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According to the book there are three components to a conversation, body language, tone of voice and words. GREAT! Just my luck, considering I have so much trouble trying to find the right words to say, now I also have to worry about my tone and body language. Hmmmm, that seems like a lot of multi-tasking…

Seriously, I envy the people who can just randomly start a great conversation with anyone nearby. I mean, where did they learn this skill and how can I play catch up? Conversation skills are something that should to be taught in our schools. Hopefully, kids these days wont grow up to be mid 20 year-old’s trying to figure out the basics of a proper conversation.

I mean why do conversations have to be so complicated? That’s the questions of the year. Any ideas? Please share your thoughts below.

 

 

 

THE STORY

Typically by age 25 you have lived life, you’ve made mistakes and learned lots of valuable lessons. You’ve cultivated great relationships and your career is already on a path to success. Generally, by this age you know who you are; you’ve already gone through that journey of self-discovery. Basically, you have your life together, right? Well, that’s not my story. You see I’m a late bloomer. For the past 25 years I’ve been floundering around waiting for life to start. There are so many experiences I just haven’t witnessed yet. I’m still the ugly duckling waiting to become a swan.

Now you’re probably thinking, “OOOHHH NOOO this is just another 20 something crying about her un-perfect life.” Well you’re wrong; this isn’t your typical quarter life crisis sob story… Actually it kind of is, but I have learned to find the comedy in my own naivety. It’s kind of hard to be as awkward as I am and not develop a sense of humor. However, despite my current struggle-fest of a reality, I know I have the potential for greatness.

So basically, this story is about a somewhat misguided awkward late bloomer’s journey to self-discovery. I’m just trying to play catch up and figure out what the heck I’m doing with my life.

I am excited to share this chapter of my life with all of you. Thanks for visiting and I hope you come back soon!

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