Christine Elgersma


This introvert recommends skipping it.

Please let me apologize in advance for going from”What do you do?” to 1,026 other questions. The thing is, if I get to question #145, I think you’re pretty cool.

As an introvert with an empathic gland that likes to be extra, I walk into a room of people I don’t know bombarded by energy. I know — it might sound like some woo-woo bullshit, but scientifically, we are all made of energy, so let’s go with that.

Here’s something I’ve learned about myself: It can take about 10 minutes for me to get a sense of another person at about 80% accuracy. These numbers are airtight. I mean, I’ve definitely been wrong in both directions and thought cool people weren’t and icky people were okay. In general, though, my woo-woo bullshit sensors are pretty good.

That can mean that, if you’re really icky, I will avoid eye contact and make jokes until I can extricate myself. Then you’ll never see me again if I can help it. If I can’t, you’ll never get beyond the most superficial of surface levels, and I shall deflect you by being a full-on jackass or infinitely and often awkwardly polite.

If you’re pretty cool, I may allow a solid five minutes of small talk before I ask you a lot of questions. I don’t mean for it to feel like an interrogation, but I see how it might. It comes from genuine interest and the desire to jump over the bullshit and cut to the chase.

Photo by Etienne Boulanger on Unsplash

For instance, if after five minutes of “How do you know so-and-so?” and “Are you from here?” you may mention that you’re from Washington originally. I might ask if you spent a lot of time in the outdoors. You might tell me your family went hunting a lot. Then I will ask you approximately eleven questions about Sasquatch and if you’ve ever seen one or know someone who has. From there, we might move onto the Columbia River which could lead us to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest because that river features prominently in the life of the Chief — a main character and then I may stop the unintentional interrogation to mention that I taught that book as a high school teacher and that Ken Kesey hid a poem inside of it because once he found a poem inside of an accordion, or at least that’s what a poet friend once told me. Etc.

Also, it’s possible I may not remember your name, but that doesn’t mean I don’t remember you. Sometimes I’m so caught up in the sense of a person that I miss the whole name portion of the intro. Sorry about that.

Please note: If I ask you 145 questions, it doesn’t mean I want to have sex with you. I see how that can be confusing because the warm spotlight of sincere interest creates a little golden bubble of intimacy, but isn’t that nice just the way it is sometimes? I mean, sex is great, but have you ever tried skipping the small talk and jumping forward 20 steps like you hit a slide in Candy Land? This introvert avoiding eye contact with that smarmy someone across the room while asking you question #76 about how you auditioned for Small Wonder as a child can’t recommend it highly enough.



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