I found out a while ago from a coworker that there were people on-staff who were afraid of me. When she named them, I didn’t even know who they were—just that they worked on the same floor. However, because of opinions they had formed just from seeing me walking down a hallway, they had decided that I was for some reason intimidating.
You all know me pretty well after reading my blog: I’m so not intimidating. I’m a dork. And yet this isn’t the first time that I’ve learned that people have formed similar opinions of me based solely on how I appear to them. They either think I’m scary or aloof. So what is it about my demeanor that is leaving them with these impressions?
True, I don’t smile a whole lot. But it’s not like I’m snarling and spitting at people when I pass them in the halls. I’m just not naturally predisposed to have a goofy grin on my face all the time. I’ve been told that I share certain personality traits with doofy, loyal Labrador retrievers, but manic smiling isn’t one of them.
Truth is most of the time, I’m not even aware of the people around me. I’ve been an introverted only child long enough to know that any time is a great time to slip away mentally into one of the bajillion and one pockets of memory, fiction, fandoms, etc. that make up the catacombs of my mind. So when I’m heading toward the kitchen I’m as many light years away from reality as Bajor is from Earth.
(I do talk about Bajor a lot, don’t I? I strongly believe that in a parallel universe, I must actually be Bajoran).
It’s funny though. One of my closest friends from my last job is one of the kindest, funniest, most enjoyable-to-be-around people I have ever known. When I first started working with her, I was terrified of her. She’s incredibly fierce in her focus and drive, and she will come at you like a locomotive when she’s in full-on work mode. She knows how to do her job (and every other person’s job, for that matter) better than anyone else. You want it done right and on time? You follow her lead. Now that I’ve gotten to know her as well as I have, we both laugh long and hard about the fact that I was petrified of her at first.
So, do I try to rectify people thinking that I’m scary or distant? Nah. Personally, I think it’s kind of funny, in a totally antithetical way. Besides, it saves me from small talk in the staff kitchen. I suck at small talk.