Hug? No Thanks, I’m Good.

I hate the whole introvert/extrovert thing. Don’t like defining other people with single words. Certainly don’t like defining myself with a single word.
I like going out, being around people. I don’t like having to start conversations with people I don’t know (AKA “networking”) and I’m not big on physical contact with strangers?—?anything more than a handshake. But getting up in front of an audience doesn’t scare me at all?—?I don’t get a thrill from it either. So whatever that makes me.
Now, this week I have been attending sessions at Denver’s startup week “conference.” These are supposed to be sessions where we sit and listen to people talk about business concepts and ideas.
Right off the bat, the first speaker at the first thing I went to asked everyone to turn to the stranger and hug them. She said it gave you energy or something. Maybe for her, and I’m happy for her that she has found a hobby she enjoys.
But I didn’t like it. I got lucky and the people on either side of me were nice and polite and we had already said hello, so it wasn’t too awkward. But it very easily could have been.
My point is that this sort of thing gets filed away in my brain and is put in the “reasons not to attend events” list. The longer that list gets, the more often I will decide to stay at home. So thanks for that, speaker.
Then, at another event, a gym/trainer guy got up before the first real speaker and started talking about stretching as exercise. Then he asked for everyone to stand up.
Uh oh. I had my laptop on my lap and was typing, so I decided to go against the flow and be one of the only people that stayed sitting. But I almost stood up as it looked like he just wanted us to stretch.
My instincts were good on this one. He quickly asked everyone to grasp the person next to them and we all had to perform these stretches that had pairs of people pulling and tugging on each other. I wasn’t with anyone, so had I stood up, I would have either been awkwardly left out, or would have been pulling and twisting someone stranger’s arm for several minutes. I stayed seated and kept typing, pretending what I was doing on my laptop was dreadfully important.
Another item goes on the list. Thanks exercise dude. I’m glad that you like pulling on stranger’s arms. I’m happy for you.
But not everyone is like you, and I hope you are OK with that. I’m not looking to change. I’m perfectly happy to be a person who hugs family and friends, and offers a handshake to everyone else.
I get my energy and enthusiasm from different things than you: reading, talking and thinking.
And surely, you must realize that some people don’t like all this touchy stuff, right? So maybe talk about hugging, and talk about stretching with strangers, but don’t force it on people you don’t know.

September 19, 2013 • Posted in: General

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