I appreciate when people are friendly. I really do. But I would much rather someone just smile and walk by instead of trying to have a conversation with me. Most people enjoy the interaction; for me it's just too difficult.
Yesterday morning at church - after surviving the weekly "Sharing of the Peace" (which I've blogged about before) - I was waiting for my family by the car when a couple was walking by on the way to their car. I don't know them well, but I do know that they are nice people. They were havivng a conversation between themselves as they walked by, so I think I'm safe. As they pass me, the woman touches my elbow (!!!!!!!!!) and starts up some small talk with me.
Now, I have enough experience with you normal people to know that I'm supposed to talk back. I just can't do it without a significant amount of effort. It doesn't feel right. But I do it. And, unbelievably, it works! No weird comments, no crazy faces - a successful social interaction!
As the couple leaves, stress leaves my body in a huge sigh almost as if I was a pressure cooker. I couldn't help but feel stressed and a little triggered for the rest of the day, though. It worked out well, but I would rather not have to use up so much energy just trying to appear normal to the world.