Boy, does this advice ever hit home. I remember years ago when the kids were very small, I was trying to get out the door for a meeting with someone who wanted a newsletter. It was complete chaos but I managed to leave the house (pretty much) on time. But my stress meter was elevated thanks to last-minute spit-up on one of the few “professional” shirts I owned. And then I got stuck in traffic, couldn’t find a parking place, yada yada yada.
So I walked into the coffee shop, found the table where my casual acquaintance was sitting, and burst into a flurry of explanations.
I finished and there was silence for a moment. Then she said, not unkindly, “Give me a second to wipe off the emotional spew.”
As I type that, it sounds harsher than it was. Sure, I was a little embarrassed at the time, but I’m grateful that she called me on it. She was actually the motherly type and probably thought I looked like I could use the help!
I think we extraverts/ambiverts have a harder time managing the spew. We enter a room ready to connect but the wires can get crossed if we’re focused too much on what’s going on inside our own heads. It takes a conscious effort sometimes to set aside the spew, put on a smile, and pay attention to what’s happening with the people around us.
I’m curious: do introverts have this problem? Is there an introverted equivalent of the spew?
[Update: Yes, I did get the job. I didn’t yell at her or anything. She was just pointing out that I took 20 seconds (without taking a breath) to explain why I was a little late when I should have just smiled and said “hi”.]