Friday, January 31, 2014

Hi, I'm Megan. Don't ever take me seriously.

That's what I should've said. That's what I should've said every single time I was ever forced to introduce myself in a group setting. And trust me, there have been so many of those times.

Instead of just being normal and saying something like, "Hey, I'm Megan. I like to read, write, cook and entertain," I panic. Every time, I completely forget everything about myself. I get more and more nervous as I get closer and closer to being the next one to have to speak. I always say something stupid. I always talk too fast and say the least amount possible. I always leave out one of the things I'm supposed to say.

"My name is Megan." Isn't that good enough? What more do you really need?
"Aren't you going to tell us your year, your hometown, your major and your favorite food that starts with the last letter of your last name?"

Oh, uh. Nachos?

Like, group leaders always want to know your full bio in 15 seconds. "Tell us your name, how long you've been here/year (in school), where you're from, what you do (or your major), and something interesting about yourself that starts with the first letter of your first name." Wtf? Where do they get this shit? One time, I said that I'm "Make-Fun Megan." The leader lady was like, "Um, like you make things fun, in a nice way? Or do you mean you're mean and you make fun of people?" Ugh. Never mind, lady. I don't know. You stuck me with "m" words, and I feel that "magical" and "musical" would just be too cliche. "Um, I think I mean that I make things fun. Sorry. Yeah." Cue incredible discomfort for the rest of the introductions.

I should really just come right out and say, "Hi, I'm Megan Hinman, I am a senior journalism major/I am a sophomore from Wichita/I work in technical publications, and I make really bad social decisions." I should just cut to the chase for this group I'm now a part of. That way, when I say things in a Western Civilization class (one of the few classes I was ever comfortable speaking up in) like, "Wait, no, guys. It's really important that parents tell their children at some point that Santa isn't real. Because if not, where do you draw the line between real and fantasy? Like, I thought that dragons were real until I was 16," the whole class would know to expect this ridiculousness from me and they would be able to openly laugh, rather than strongly question my intelligence for the rest of the semester behind their giggles.

"Are you serious?" they asked.
"Um, yes. I am. No one ever told me. I thought they existed in like, China or something," I had to explain, to everyone—including the teacher—laughing at me. It was a sad day when I made the connection. Thanks, Harry Potter.
"Well, uh, Kimono Dragons exist," some sweet soul offered.
"Yeah. I get it now. I said I found out when I was 16."

Not that them knowing I'm an idiot would have really changed anything, but at least we would all be on the same page that way. Because during introductions, I choose to say things like, "Um, I'm Megan, I'm pretty sure there's nothing interesting about me. And... yep, that's it." But that's not true. My stupidity is interesting, if only for a good laugh.

One time, for an entry level journalism class, we were supposed to say one of our hobbies. Hobbies? Eff. I don't know. I like to hang out with my boyfriend. Should I tell my professor that's all I'm good for? Probably not. Shit. What are my hobbies? "Um, yeah, I'm Megan, I don't really know what I like to do. I feel like I don't really have time for hobbies. Like, I feel like I'm always busy, but I'm never really doing anything. Yeah, I don't know. Sorry. Um, I like to read and write I guess." I looked around the room to a bunch of blank stares. Pretty typical.

However, when this situation came up recently at my job, I did not slight myself. I didn't say I wasn't interesting. I didn't say I have no hobbies. I introduced the real me.

Because there were a decent amount of new employees, the department manager invited her manager to our department meeting to meet all the new people. She required that we go around the meeting table in a circle and introduce ourselves. We needed to say our names, how long we've worked there, what our roles were, and something interesting about ourselves. Naturally, I was terrified. Not only was I in front of my new coworkers, some of whom I had very little interaction with before then, I was also in front of my boss, my boss's boss, and my boss's boss's boss. The stakes were high.

I don't remember what most people said. I know them all much better now, and their "interesting" things weren't all that interesting, I guess. Not like mine anyway (so I've been told since). I remember one lady said she married an Iowa State football player because another lady said she loves Iowa State because so many people there are all about KU.

I managed to smile and act normal while everyone before me introduced themselves. I relaxed a bit when I decided what my interesting thing would be. I tried to think of something unique about me, and after a while, when I figured it out (it took the time of at least half the group), I was set. It was the most confident I had been about a group introduction, like, ever. It finally got around to me, way too fast and way too slow at the same time. OK, here goes....

"Hi. I'm Megan Hinman. I work in Localization, and I've worked here about a month now. And, I can make a lot of funny faces."

Whhhyyy. Because the obvious response to that is, "Oh? Show us." So I did. I did this.

I got the response I was going for. I mean, people laughed. But I think they were laughing at me, not with me.

"Oh my gosh, do you babysit? My kids would love that," one lady said. I'm still not sure how to take that, several months later.

I'll say this again: I did this in front of my new coworkers, my boss, my boss's boss, and my boss's boss's boss. All of these people were well aware that I am far younger than them. But somehow, I still managed to blindside them with my immaturity.

I think someone made a "hard act to follow" joke, and I was just like, "Oh... sorry." Back to fucking awkward. Obviously, no one was going to top me. I shouldn't have apologized for being so awesome. Ugh. No. I just shouldn't have been so damn ridiculous in the first place. But what can I say? It comes sooooo naturally.

Needless to say, that has been my most interesting, and certainly most memorable, group introduction to date. I can't say for sure which variety of horrible social behavior I prefer. 

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