In the past week I feel like I’ve said more stupid and inconsiderate things than ever before. The worst thing, luckily, was just something that just came out wrong. The others were just not nice and I increasingly regretted them. When I was a kid, I can remember my father instructing me to think before I speak. I still don’t, at least, I spend more time wishing I could take things back than I’d like. It is a source of anxiety for me, and I need to eliminate as many of those as I can. The anxiety is often caused by the though of someone finding out what I’d said. Whether it’s the person I said it about, or someone that would be aghast that I said something of the sort. Solution: don’t say things you wouldn’t want everyone to know. Simple.

Unfortunately, I’m not a social genius. As I am sure is true for many, I know my motivation is not a malicious one. It’s the one that struggles to be liked and takes the wrong means to get there.

I was inspired the other day by a post on Work Happy Now entitled Create the Work Atmosphere You Want. For me this post can be applied to all social situations, not just for interacting with coworkers. I want to take a more active role in conversation, rather than waiting until I can submit my experience to the story, as I so often always do. I want to be a better listener, to ask more questions to bring people out, and to remember their answers. This is how to get people to like you.

And for something specific, I want to stop labeling people and things as stupid. It’s a terrible adjective, and one that I cannot bear to have assigned to me, to even perceive that it’s been assigned to me or something I’ve done. I have a primal fear of being thought of as stupid. So why would I place this label on someone or something else? Awful.

This afternoon I had a brief conversation with a coworker that I don’t often get to talk to. I asked him what his plans were for the long weekend, made a joke (I’ll never be able to quell the urge to make people laugh), and didn’t tell him what my plans were. He didn’t ask, and that was OK. I felt really good when I walked away. I want more of that.