I was the kind of boy who would fall in love if a girl treated me nice. It didn’t take much, and I had no idea it wasn’t real. Today, of course, I understand why I was like that but I also know this: the urge to fall in love with a woman who is nice to me hasn’t gone away.
This afternoon at work, a young woman came in to browse. Things are really slow right now, so I did the greeting-and-let-me-know-if-I-can-help thing, then left her to browse. A bit later, she was in a different area and I said something inane like, Still browsing? I ended up showing her some nice French cookware, not because she was going to buy anything but on a slow day when you are desperate for anything to do, it’s fun to take extra time with a customer.
One of my bigger problems as a social person is that I am not a chit-chatter. I can’t do that thing where you say stuff that doesn’t mean much but is at least entertaining and keeps a conversation going, however superficially. But now and then, I find myself talking with someone with whom chit-chat comes easy.
This woman was that kind of person. We spend about ten minutes talking, then another few minutes later as she was leaving. All in all, it was the kind of interaction that, outside a retail setting, might lead a person to ask for a phone number or such. And by “a person” I don’t mean me because I have never had that kind of nerve or ambition in my life.
But I did enjoy chatting with her, and she seemed to enjoy chatting with me. After work, as I headed home and thought a bit more about it, I remembered how I was as a teenager: a pretty girl is nice to me, and I fall in love. I did not fall in love with this woman. I enjoyed talking with her, which is good enough. I have no need to fall in love. I do have a need to spend enjoyable time with people during my day. It’s one of the things I like about this job: lots of opportunities to help people and enjoy their company, even if it is in a retail setting.
I am more likely to be uncomfortable with people. Lots of reasons for this, but most involve my anxieties getting in the way. I hope, in time, these will fade as I continue to work towards mental healthiness. I hope I learn to relax so that I can be pleasant company even if there isn’t a lot to talk about. But I can say this about how I am now, as a 65-year-old adult as opposed to a 15-year-old teenager:
I’m glad I don’t fall in love so easily anymore.