I always knew my husband wasn’t the king of charisma. He’s incredibly sweet, and so smart it’s scary, but whenever he’s exposed to a new social situation, I’m never sure how he’ll respond. He can be one of two ways:
He can be very quiet and introverted, and make no effort to engage anyone or be engaged. He’ll do the bare minimum of socializing that he can get away with. On nights like this, when he barely says a word to anyone but me, I’m a little embarrassed because some people will perceive him to be stand-offish and rude. I know he does not mean to appear this way; he’s more than likely just a little overwhelmed. Sometimes it seems as though he’s experiencing a social/sensory overload, and he almost appears to shrink inside his own person.
Other times, he’s fine. But usually in smaller groups and with people he already knows, or people to whom he can readily relate. And even then he has a very specific set of topics to which he clings. He can talk endlessly about music, or electronics, or movies, or the problems with society. But they are more like conversational hallmarks that I know he has stockpiled over time, tried and true. And I, having been with him in all these different instances, have identified very specific phrases that he repeats within these topics. In a large way, it’s like watching someone have the same conversations over and over again. I know he does this because that’s his way of comfortably relating to people he doesn’t know very well. But I also find it limiting, as though our social life together as a couple can only exist in a very narrow field. It’s as if he’s afraid of new people, and new experiences, and it pains me because I want us to experience new things together. But it’s hard for me to enjoy myself when he’s looking around restlessly and telling me that we’ll go home soon.