Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Extrovert

We've covered some of my favorite parts of Barley's identity over the last few weeks, but today's element of Barley's Barleyness is probably the one that pushes me the farthest out of my comfort zone.

When I was 11, my dad was transferred to a new plant and we had to move. My parents started looking at houses and after one house hunting trip, my mom asked if I would prefer to live in a house next to a field with horses or a neighborhood with a lot of kids to play with. Without giving it any thought, I said the horses--we got the neighborhood with the kids. When given the choice, I will always choose hanging out with animals over other people. I'm a total introvert, but Barley is definitely an extrovert--she gets her energy from being noticed and being around people while those situations make me want to hide in my house for a few days. Even after socializing with people whose company I enjoy, I still need a nice long nap. 

A person who isn't my mama wants to take my picture? I'm so excited I can hardly sit still.

My whole life, though, my closest friends have been extreme extroverts. I made my first (human) friend when she ran up to me at storytime at the library and screamed, "Hi Beth!" (or at least that's what my mom says--I have no recollection of this interaction) and she was my best friend until I moved away. In middle school, my closest friend was an outgoing cheerleader. In college (and still today), my best friend became the face of our college--he was on all of the publications sent to prospective students, he gave tours of campus, he knew almost every professor on campus as well as every member of the cleaning staff, admissions staff, and student life staff. All of these friends are/were great conversationalists and I could tag along, occasionally participate in conversation, and then spend the rest of the time doing what I enjoy most, watching other people.

With Barley, though, she clearly can't talk and carry on the conversations while I sit back and observe. Without Barley, I'm pretty sure I would yet to have met any of my new neighbors. (I'm torn on whether that would bother me or not.) Usually, if I see a neighbor outside, I'll wait a few minutes to take out the trash or to start mowing the lawn to avoid having to make small talk.

But Barley has ensured that I have met the neighbors in the four closest houses on our side of the street. Usually these introductions have gone something like this: Barley and I are out for a walk. A neighbor starts walking down the driveway. It will be obvious I'm avoiding them if we turn around, so we keep going and I hope we can escape with just a quick "Hi, how are you?" Barley smiles at the neighbor(s) and wags and wiggles. They ask, "What kind of dog is that?" Before I know it, I've learned their names (which I quickly text to my mom because for some reason I forget people's names seconds after walking away even though I can remember their dogs' names no problem) and a little bit about them. Barley continues to wag and wiggle--as best she can without breaking the sit I require when we stop walking--until she's pet and I answer a few questions about her and then the neighbor says, "Well, we won't keep you from your walk any longer." It hasn't been too painful.


When Barley's at my side, it's a lot easier to meet new people because we can skip the awkward small talk as they keep asking questions about Bar. Now, if Barley could just develop the ability to talk, I could go back to observing while she did the hard work. 

8 comments:

  1. I'm a bit of a mix. Shy at first, but once I warm up....I'm glad for my dogs because they do help me get to know the folks in my neighborhood and that works for me, but I realize it's not for everyone. I will offer you one thought though....you may not want her talk. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Barley's pretty happy-go-lucky, so if anything, she'd just talk too much. I think I'd have to worry more about her kitty brother being able to talk--he's a bit of a crabby patty!

      Delete
  2. Dogs are an excellent way to meet people and always give you something to chat about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Barley definitely forces me to meet people that I would otherwise probably just wave at from a distance.

      Delete
  3. I agree; dogs are a great way to make new friends. Many of my closests friends today I have because of my dogs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great! Barley has not helped me meet anyone that I want to become best friends with yet, but I guess it's nice to know the neighbor's names at least :)

      Delete
  4. The first neighbor I met here asked me Sheba's name, but never asked mine! Sheba's my social girl, but Cricket and Luke are introverts like me. BTW...you and I are so much alike...I am exactly like you when walking the neighborhood. I avoid people as much as possible. But if I have to meet someone, I am happy if one of the dogs is with me, because one thing I can always talk comfortably about is dogs. I'll answer questions all day about them, but hate if anyone asks me anything about ME!
    Oh, and I have also always had extroverted friends. :)
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Small talk about dogs is so much better than regular old small talk--and usually you can find out a few other details about people while talking about dogs, so it works out ;)

      Delete