Facebook is ruining my social skills.

You know how they say that people who become psychiatrists do it because they are a little bit crazy themselves?  Or people become cops because they have had a run in with injustice?  Well, people become cultural anthropologists when they don’t understand their own culture.  And not too long ago, I was a cultural anthropologist.  *smile*

All those simple rules about being part of a group and getting along with people?  Yeah, I have had to study people to figure them out.  I wouldn’t say that I am completely socially inept, but I am far more likely to be found on the fringe of any given social group than a core member.  I tend towards being that little kid from Jerry MacGuire, who starts every sentence with, “Did you know..?”, or the guy who just has to constantly one-up you with anecdotes.  I know that about myself, so I try really hard to keep it all under control.

I spent about 8 days in the field recently, with a crew of folks from work that I knew, but not well.  I am always insecure until I have worked out the dynamics of a group, and I always worry that I am the irritating know-it-all girl who just won’t shut up.  Plus, when you are in the field, you often spend 12-16 hours a day together, since you work together all day and then have no one else to socialize with at night, so interpersonal dynamics become that much more important.  And I was kinda getting that annoyed vibe from my crew after the first few days.  We had long drives in and out of the field, and silence would often descend over us.  When I tried to jump start conversations, it usually went nowhere — I’d say something, and there would be little to no response before we lapsed back into silence again.

And then I realized: I was treating my conversations like a series of status updates.

There’s been a lot going on right now for T and I, mostly surrounding a long, difficult battle with the underwriters at US Bank to get our first home mortgage approved.  I know that I am obsessed with every twist and turn in the plot line, but I forgot that NO ONE ELSE IS.

On Facebook, you give everyone updates on your life, no prompting necessary, and you get “like”s and comments as everyone provides virtual support.  But if you do that in real life, constantly updating people about something that’s going on in your life when they haven’t asked, it makes you really, really annoying.  As soon as I figured this out, waited out the silences and let other people break them, things went much more smoothly again.  And when people asked, I would tell them about the status of our loan.  But if they didn’t ask, it meant they really didn’t care, and I shouldn’t be talking about it.  Such a simple rule!  Damn you, Facebook, for making me act like an egomaniac!

Now I just have to quit constantly asking people for things I need, like farming supplies and mafia weapons… *smile*