I don’t have time for a longer, more original post tonight.
Here’s a brief story from 2004, when I was trying hard to practice cognitive therapy and the rational thinking it teaches. The words below are taken nearly verbatim as I wrote them back then.
A small success, and an idea…
The time at the car dealership ordering owner’s manual for car. Paying for it. Cashier’s booth, three women there, one gorgeous.
I asked who to make check out to, and the one who dealt w/me saying her name. (was that how it went?). I was taken by surprise, and instead of coming up quick with some attempt at a smooth comeback, I just stopped and laughed and said something like, “You got me. I didn’t get what you were saying at first. Sometimes I’m a little slow. I need to pay more attention.”
She was very pleased, and all 3 laughed.
Normally, I find it very hard to think of anything to say, to have something to say. And that is what happened this time, too. But this time, though, I used the social slip-up itself as the thing to say. And the other people liked it! But, it also helped that I was in an OK mood, because I don’t know if I’d have said it if I were depressed.
Then I got to thinking — if somebody addresses me, and I can’t think of anything to say, maybe that’s what I should say. Like, if you want to say something but your mind draws a blank, use that fact and come out and say “Oh boy, my mind is going blank.” Maybe the other person will think you’re joking, and they’ll laugh.
It gave me an idea that might be helpful:
- Listen to what others are saying to you, and take that as a lead for what you can say. I wouldn’t have told the 2nd girl, “I need to…” if the first hadn’t set the stage.
- When you slip up, USE it as something to talk about… They didn’t ridicule me for it. They laughed as if I’d told them a joke. I believe that’s because they assumed I was a “normal” person, so they didn’t react as if I’d just told them I was a freak or something.
Part of me still feels like it should’ve gone even better. But I believe that’s just perfectionist expectations trying to drag me down. Shoot, what was supposed to happen — was the pretty one going to jump up and ask me out or something? I’m just going to take this for what it was, a situation in which I did OK. My negative thinking keeps trying to hurt me.
So I just keep saying to myself, “I did ok. I did ok.”