I cannot lie; I am a self confessed people hater. I hate crowds, strangers that talk to me or even worse that feel it is appropriate to make physical contact with me.
After 15 years in the service industry, I have become human intolerant (which by the way, is an actual thing unlike gluten. Go on, get angry, I dare you and I still won’t care). I don’t want to make small talk because for many years I was forced to with people that didn’t really want to talk to me either. Don’t get me wrong, I have amazing people skills and can talk to anyone, even charm them in a very small space of time. I even look like I’m enjoying it but on the inside, in there, know I am literally dying and would rather be anywhere else. I can’t help it either. I would love to be one of those social butterflies that flit between friends and family and are always at parties and boat days and shopping trips. They look kinda fun sometimes. But I am just not. Not really.
If it wasn’t for the irrational fear that I will end up mentally unstable from my own voluntary isolation, I doubt I would ever go anywhere or do anything. Modern day life has made it so easy for us to be unsociable yet completely in the loop that you can quite easily stay home and still find out what everyone is up to. You can send a little hands up +champagne bottle emoji to celebrate your friends engagement. Cousins had a baby? No problem, just whip over a meme about parenthood. You can even tell everyone that you are going to all these fabulous events on Facebook whilst in reality you are at home eating chicken from a bucket in your pants. You don’t need to leave your sofa to appear fun or to get the gratification that you need from your relationships and friendships.
Maybe I’m getting old, maybe I’m just getting softer about things now that I am in my thirties, but all of the above is actually complete bullshit. In the last few years I have begun to notice a shift in how I feel about people. It helps that I am no longer there to serve anyone, so that forced interaction that tore me apart is no longer an issue, I’m not having to smile and fake laugh as table 10 tells me a shitty joke about pizza I’ve heard a thousand times or act like I care when some bellend shouts at me because he found a piece of pepperoni on his margerita and fain shock and remorse simultaneously when he informs me that I have apparently ruined his entire life.
Being able to choose who I talk to or don’t and when I do it has made me feel so much better about the human race as a whole and has made me warm to them.
Currently sat in a quirky London hotel on a team building event, I am in a city that is well known for people being shut off and unfriendly which in the past has made me feel quite good about being there. However, I have had a great time. The cocktail making class with 8 people I have never met in person would have been a nightmare to me five years ago, but last night I had an absolute giggle. I even made friends with our Italian mixology teacher Allesandro, formed a book club with 3 other ladies in our group and SPOKE to the taxi driver. I can’t show you pictures as I was, for once, having such a great time living in the moment with these lovely people that my phone very rarely left my bag.
I had a conversation with some scouts and their leader on the tube which is not only people but children another previous pet peeve of mine…others offspring.
I find myself enjoying the variety and diversity of other people now rather than spending my time with them counting down the seconds till I could go home. Maybe I am feeling more comfortable in myself as a person now and that inward acceptance has relaxed me enough to now feel comfortable with others.
There is so much pure hatred in our world at the minute that I feel if I continue to contribute to it in my own silly way, then I am actively being part of the problem rather than the solution and that thought alone is a very sobering one. To the point that I want to actively strike the phrase ‘I hate’ from my vocabulary.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not about to start wandering about hugging people and wearing an orange bedsheet in King’s Cross station and giving out beads….but I am going to make a conscious and active attempt to be nice to everyone that I encounter from now on.
Do no harm but take no shit…..in the nicest of ways.
Maybe if we all started to try and spread a little bit more kindness into the world then it will eventually blot out all the hatred that is ripping us apart. Of course there are always going to be dickheads, we’re all going to be that dickhead at times but we all have control of how we deal with them and how we change the outcome of that situation and I for one am going to be trying harder to not be such a grumpy cow and maybe, just maybe smile at other people a little more.