There are two things I am really really bad at. (Make that 3 if you want to add "ending sentences with a preposition.")
1. Talking on the phone.
I talk over people. I pause too long. I can never say just one good bye. Good byes are generally awful if you call me. I'm like a love sick junior high girl. My sense of humor comes off wrong. I repeat myself. I know I sound like I am not interested in the conversation because I am constantly saying "Oh?" and "Great." and "That's interesting." I really am trying to interject at the right places and I inflect my voice... but it never comes off right. Then, I know who is calling (doesn't everyone who owns a cell phone) but I act all surprised:
(phone rings. I look down. Hermione Calling.)
Hermione: Hey, Patty.
Hermione: It's Hermione.
Patty: Oh, hiii Hermione! How are you?!
I don't know why I do that. I love it when I call someone and they go "Hey Patty!" as soon as they pick up. My sister, Julie, is excellent at this. Often using nicknames. I get too nervous. And then treat my nearest and dearest like strangers. Oi.
2. Making small talk.
I just fall on my face. Every time. And having just moved to a new place I give props to the people who keep trying with me. I go to play groups (once you're a mom play groups are the place to mingle) and I try putting myself out there. It just doesn't work for me. I don't know why. I pride myself on being genuine, funny, and semi-witty. I should be the party-MAKER not the party breaker. I think once the ice is broken through (with a steel pick) I can be that person. But for the years it may take to crack the ice... it's pretty unbearable.
Neighbor: So, Patty. How are you liking it here?
Me: I like it.
Neighbor: Are you all settled in?
Neighbor: (stares at me) Does your son seem to like it?
Neighbor: What's his name again?
Neighbor: That's a nice name.
Me: I know.
Or sometimes I try putting myself out there and I instigate the conversation. I just can't finish it.
Me: Hi, Celeste! (I wave as she unloads her car)
Celeste: Hey, Patty!
Me: How's it going?
Celeste: It's going good.
Me: Are you liking your new job? Are the kids adjusting okay? Do you need anything? Am I still babysitting on Tuesday?
Celeste: (giggles) Everything is going great. I'm really liking the time out of the house. And the money helps. I'd still like your help Tuesday if you are available? So, yeah all in all I'm great. What about you?
Patty: Um... I have to go get the mail.
I mean come ON! Later when I am sitting alone and wondering about why I don't have any friends here I replay these conversations and it all becomes crystal clear.